Several locals have been recognized as part of this year’s Ontario Senior Achievement Awards.
The annual awards celebrate 15 outstanding seniors for their contributions to their communities and to the province. This year, seniors from Oro-Medonte, Beeton, and Bracebridge are among the recipients.
Joan M. Goldsmith of Oro-Medonte has been a volunteer for more than 45 years, including more than 450 hours at Trillium Manor Long Term Care, where she has organized many successful fundraising events and trained other volunteers. As a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force Veterans in Canada, unit 400, Joan ensures every veteran that moves into Trillium Manor receives a special door plaque and a large poppy.
Janice Preiss of Beeton is a pioneer in the benefits of pet therapy. A lifelong dog lover, she started a pet therapy program for senior residents at Simcoe Village and Manor 33 years ago and has since trained many volunteers, while also serving as a member of the local St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program. Janice also raises funds for many community initiatives and has received several awards for community service.
Last but not least, Sonja Elizabeth Smith of Bracebridge is a volunteer with over 60 years of experience contributing to community life. She regularly assists residents of the Pines Long Term Care Home on bus trips and organizes evening entertainment. In addition, Sonja has been a member of the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Auxiliary for 25 years, assisting in the gift shop. She delivers meals on wheels and for the past six years has been a volunteer at the local Intergenerational group for the young and young at heart.
“Congratulations to this year’s Ontario Senior Achievement Awards recipients,” said the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. “Seniors across the province have felt most directly the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is a delight to be able to celebrate the positive difference seniors make to our communities. Today’s recipients are role models to Ontarians of all ages.”
“I’m inspired and encouraged by this year’s Senior Achievement Award recipients,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility.” On behalf of all Ontarians, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for their exceptional service to their communities. You have all made a profound difference in the lives of seniors across our province.”
All 15 recipients are being recognized at a virtual ceremony. The Ontario Senior Achievement Award was created in 1987 to recognize outstanding seniors who, after the age of 65, have made significant contributions to their communities. Since the award’s creation, 660 outstanding seniors have been recognized.