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April 13, 2006
For immediate release

Seven Islanders Receive Volunteer Recognition Awards

Community and Cultural Affairs

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Premier Pat Binns and Elmer MacFadyen, Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs this morning honoured seven Prince Edward Island residents for their extraordinary volunteer efforts.

Premier Binns recognized the recipients in his opening remarks. “Each of you were nominated for this award based on your work and dedication to our province and to its people, because you donate your time and talents without looking for recognition, and because, through your efforts, you help build our communities, take care of our citizens and strengthen our way of life.”

Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Elmer MacFadyen also took time to express his appreciation to the award recipients and to thank all Islanders for their volunteer efforts. “Islanders don't often realize that when they take a neighbour to church, or work at the door of their local rink, or put the lines in the ball field, that they are indeed volunteering,” he said.

The Volunteer Recognition Award was created in 2002 as an annual tribute to selected Prince Edward Island volunteers to give special recognition for their contributions to society. This was the third award presentation in as many years. Names are put forward for consideration through a nomination process, and a selection committee chooses each year’s award recipients. The selection committee is made up of Islanders Bernice Arsenault of Wellington, Dee MacNeill of Summerside, Darlene Peters of Souris, Tom Wilkinson and Rev. Ross Howard, both of Charlottetown.

Charlottetown MLA Wes MacAleer, Master of Ceremonies for the event, read the award citations in alphabetical order, and Premier Binns and Minister MacFadyen presented a plaque to each recipient. The seven award recipients for 2006 are as follows:

Eileen Chiasson-Pendergast of St. Louis is well known for getting things done in the Acadian and Francophone communities. She was president and board member of club Ti-Pa, a social and cultural club for Acadians in the Palmer Road and Tignish parishes. She has dedicated most of her life to preserving French culture and was one of the pioneers of the French immersion program in Prince Edward Island. An educator by profession, she has been a playwright, producer and art activist for a number of years. She taught for a year in Louisiana and received the Francophone of the Year Award during the Tignish Bicentennial Celebrations in 1999.

Gloria Ellsworth of St. Peters and St. Paul is a volunteer who keeps a positive outlook on life while overcoming some challenging circumstances. Gloria has one daughter, Cheryl, and two grandchildren, Travis 13 and Tiffany 11. She is an outgoing person and exceptional volunteer for her community. She assists students with their schooling and opens her home to a number of meetings and events. Gloria also exhibits her generosity by loaning her wheelchair-accessible van for use by people with disabilities in her community. Gloria loves life, lives it to the fullest and takes pride in the wonderful friends and family members that surround her.

Jimmy MacAulay of St. Peter’s Bay is a driving force behind many of the development projects in his community. He was instrumental in the creation of the St. Peter’s and Area Development Corporation and the St. Peter’s Blueberry Festival. Jimmy has been involved in planning for a Regional Wellness Center for the St. Peter’s area. This father of four is involved in St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the Royal Canadian Legion. He also co-ordinates various door-to-door charity campaigns. Jimmy is a community-minded individual and gives his time for the betterment of the citizens in the St. Peter’s Bay area and the province.

Gayle MacDonald of Covehead has been a hospital volunteer for 32 years and was one of the first volunteers on hand when the Queen Elizabeth Hospital opened. She gives for the good of others without seeking reward or recognition for herself, truly taking care of the people in our community. As a hospital volunteer, she strictly observes confidentiality and helps everyone with the same discretion, empathy and thoughtfulness. Her volunteer commitment is evident throughout the community by her activities at the hospital and in the many small acts of kindness that she quietly goes about doing for others. She has volunteered at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Rehabilitation Team for nine years, Women’s Institute of Prince Edward Island for 35 years, Charlottetown Bible Chapel for 34 years and Island Hospice for five years.

Katie McInnis of Charlottetown is a powerhouse of energy, compassion, conviction, dependability and fairness for all, but especially for the students of UPEI. Katie has a special interest in helping students on an individual basis with their academic progress and well-being. She volunteers at the UPEI Chapel and was active in establishing the Food Bank at the University. Katie’s motto to all who knows her is, “We are here for the students.” She volunteers for the United Way, St. Dunstan’s Basilica Church, Island Nature Trust and the preservation of historic Charlottetown. Katie extends a helping hand to others and exemplifies voluntarism on Prince Edward Island.

Dolly Perry of Charlottetown knows what giving and getting involved means. She gives to many causes, events and organizations. Dolly has been volunteering for the Canadian Mental Health Golf Tournament for two years, Jack Frost Winter Festival for two years, Communities in Bloom in 2004, Festival of Lights in 2006, 2004 Special Olympics Winter Games, 2006 Terry Fox Run, PEI Marathon Run in 2005 and the Schizophrenic Society. Dolly is always there for any event, any season or for any reason.

Margie Stewart of South Lake is the President of the Provincial Board of the Women’s Institute on PEI. Margie has been involved in the Women’s Institute and St. Columbus Catholic Women’s League for over 40 years. She joined the South Lake Women’s Institute in 1962 and joined the Provincial Board of the PEI Women’s Institute in 1997. In 2005, in appreciation of her work, dedication and contribution to “Home and Country,” she was named a Life Member of the Women’s Institute. Margie has been a project and community leader for over twenty years in the East End Circle 4-H Club. She is a supporter of the East Point Lighthouse and Basin Head Museum.

Media Contact: Connie McNeill
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