Senior of the Year Awards Recipients

2016 Award Winners

Award winners were honoured at the City of Hamilton’s 2016 Senior of the Year Awards gala event.

The awards program recognizes seniors in Hamilton who have made outstanding voluntary contributions to enriching the social, cultural or civic life of our community.



Edward Dunn - 2016 Senior of the Year

As Chair of Administration for the 2000 Millennium International Children’s Games, this volunteer was a key leader in hosting over 2000 youth, ages 12-15 from over 50 countries while they stayed and competed in Hamilton.  He continued his commitment to the Games by becoming President of the Hamilton organizing committee, where he continues to ensure that local youth have the opportunity to compete internationally for our city.

For over 30 years, this volunteer and his spouse have facilitated marriage preparation courses for hundreds of couples at St. Margaret Mary Parish.  He has chaired the Good Shepherd’s Harvest Dinner Committee for close to 20 years, and has been an integral part of this fundraiser raising thousands for those less fortunate. 

His volunteer commitments do not stop there.  His generosity, commitment and compassion has extended to St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation golf tournament, St. Margaret Mary Parish fundraiser for Haiti, Participation House, Hamilton Hurricane Football Alumni and St. Elizabeth’s Visiting Nurses Association.


Anne Washington - Mary Smithson Compassion and Companionship Award

This volunteer provides motivation and sustainability to many committees, such as the Ellen Osler Community Council, Window on Justice Project, St. James Anglican Church Outreach Committee and Association of Dundas Churches.  Her direction has helped these groups work together to make the Dundas community a better place. 

This volunteer’s commitment and passion has helped Ellen Osler Home become an active part of the community.  She has helped open doors by raising awareness around the barriers that women face when transiting back into the community.  As stated by a woman who was supported by this volunteer, “Through this volunteer I have been able to build a support system of strong women who are willing to help me through my transition into the community.  There is no other woman sweeter and more supportive than this woman.”


Mary Kiss - Economic Leadership Award

This volunteer has spent most of her life in a leadership position even into her retirement years as a senior volunteer.  Since 2014 she has chaired the Ainslie Wood Community Association; and prior to this, and for over 20 years as chair of the Westdale Community Association.  This volunteer is a strong advocate for environmental protection in the McMaster neighbourhoods, and for good relations between McMaster, the student community and non-students.

This volunteer speaks regularly to Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, as a delegate on West Hamilton development files.  In 2013, this volunteer led the broad community fight against the closure of Prince Phillip School.  Even though the school closed, this anti-closure movement gave birth to Ainslie Wood Community Association, which one of Hamilton’s most active neighbourhood advocacy groups.


Marg Cheyne - Behind the Scene Award

For over 25 years this volunteer has dedicated close to 13,000 hours to programs and services that have helped to enhance the quality of life of the 270 residents who reside at Macassa Lodge.  Her contributions are endless:  Current treasurer and past secretary for the Volunteer Association of Macassa Lodge, Tuck Shop volunteer, memorial services, recreation assistant, bus trips, special events and fundraising initiatives.  In 2015, this volunteer took a lead role “behind the scene” in a Macassa Lodge Alzheimer’s fundraiser, which raised over $8,000.

 

 



Andrew Tallach - Healthy and Active Living Award

For close to 60 years this volunteer has been a member of the Hamilton Veterans Dart League, and has held various positions on the executive committee, including President for 20 years.  This volunteer has also been a member of the National Steel Car War Veterans Association since the early 1960’s.  As sports and social chairman, this volunteer arranged sports and social activities for members and their families.

For the last 20 years, this volunteer has been a very active choir singer, soloist and dancer with the Geritol Follies.  He has also served as president, and currently as treasurer for the Geritol Follies.  In his spare time, this volunteer coordinates a group with Warden Park Seniors.  Most evenings this group plays cards and socializes, and this group has grown from 4 to 19 members.

 


Claudette Joseph - Diversity and Cultural Award

This volunteer immigrated to Canada in 1966 from Trinidad.  For the past 27 years, this volunteer has been a member of, but also founded the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Hamilton.  For close to 10 years she has been involved with the Hamilton Council on Aging’s Improving Access Program.  This programs aims at helping seniors from diverse communities access information about community support programs and services.  More specifically, organizing Chinese community kitchens, information sessions and classes for those learning English as a second language. 

This volunteer is also a 20 year member and volunteer with Northern Stars, a local fraternity group dedicated to the community.  Additional volunteer roles are with St. Joseph’s Home Care, North Hamilton Community Health Centre and Welcome Inn.

 


Gerry Polmanter - Leadership Award

This volunteer has been a leader in promoting community engagement and contributing to the social and culture of life in our city.  His leadership and commitment to the Keith Community Hub as both Chair and Vice-Chair has led to many projects and initiatives.  This volunteer was integral in building a community garden for both the Keith community and St. David’s Presbyterian Church to enjoy.  He has also been involved in involving other hubs, such as “Building Momentum” events. 

This volunteer’s dedication to St. David’s Presbyterian church is evident in his leadership with events and charity fundraisers.  In various leadership roles this volunteer has spent close to 40 years with the North Central Community Association, which services the Keith community.  He has also dedicated over 25 years in a leadership role on the Hamilton Winterfest Committee, and the last 5 years with the Santa Clause Parade Committee.


Dr. Lester Krames - Innovation Award

For over 5 years now this volunteer has dedicated much of his time to the John Howard Society of Hamilton.  His involvement is extensive, from the Seniors Restorative Justice Committee, Crisis Intervention and Reintegration Services, Community Anger Management Program to a new initiative named Bridging the Gap.  This volunteer was integral in developing this new program, which serves families and children of incarcerated individuals.  As a retired professor of Psychology, he also conducts research and shares tools and materials to ensure clients have access to information and resources and referrals that are current, evidence-based and founded in best practices.  This volunteer also contributes to continual training for staff.

 

 


Frank Sullivan - Bernie Morelli Lifetime Achievement Award

Throughout most of his life this volunteer has been dedicated to volunteerism.  His commitment has crossed all ages and abilities from those with special needs, elite and amateur athletes, children and seniors.  For over 20 years this volunteer has held various roles for Dofasco baseball and minor hockey, from coach to league President.  He also dedicated over 20 years as an ambassador for Hamilton by welcoming and assisting athletes and officials to major sporting events. 

However, this volunteer’s greatest achievement was establishing and coordinating the Special Olympics skating program, which has evolved and is still in existence today resulting in hundreds of participants over the years with some achieving national and international success! He has led and assisted committees organizing regional, national and international skating events hosted locally.  This volunteer also gives his time to Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice, McDonald’s Foundation and Dofasco Retirees.


 

Remembering 2015 Senior of the Year Award Winner Fred Miscio

Twenty-five nominees and nine award winners were honoured at the City of Hamilton’s 20th Annual Senior of the Year Awards gala event.

The awards program recognizes seniors in Hamilton who have made outstanding voluntary contributions to enriching the social, cultural or civic life of our community.

The 2015 Senior of the Year Awards winners are:

Fred Miscio - Senior of the Year Award

Mr. Miscio has been a member of the Knights of Columbus for over 40 years and has served in every possible capacity. His ability to empower his peers to give back is evident in his commitment to L’Arche Homes, where he has spent over 25 years helping with programming and fundraising. Mr. Miscio’s strong leadership ability is highlighted with the Annual Bishop’s Dinner, which he started over 30 years ago. Since that time, the event has raised $1.2 million. For the last four years, he has been a true advocate and fundraiser for breast cancer research by participating as a family team in the Run for Cancer. He has also spent twelve years as a coach and manager for the Steel City Minor Hockey Association, and seven years with the Slow Pitch Knights of Columbus for seniors and pastors. Mr. Miscio has also dedicated over 10 years to the Catholic Youth Organization, where he has helped with fundraising initiatives to assist children in need.

Jan Lukas - Bernie Morelli Lifetime Achievement Award

As a high school guidance counsellor in the early 1980s, Ms. Lukas joined the newly formed Suicide Prevention Council of Hamilton, and co-wrote “The Suicide Handbook”. In the early 1990s, she organized a full-day violence prevention workshop for 1,500 students and wrote an anti-violence plan titled, “Break the Silence”, published by CAVEAT (Canadians Against Violence Everywhere Advocating its Termination). Ms. Lukas also helped to establish the CAVEAT Youth Council and social justice groups for grade nine and 10 students such as HOPE (High Schoolers Opening People’s Eyes). She founded the Ancaster Community Food Drive, led over 400 volunteers, and collected over 1,357,500 pounds of food. Ms. Lukas has also been involved in helping women’s movements, such as Take Back the Night and The Beautiful Women Project with the YWCA. She is also a member of the Status of Women Council. She has also been a member of the Ancaster Community Council for 13 years, where her focus is supporting our youth. Ms. Lukas was instrumental in establishing the Ancaster Youth Council and “Teen Centre” at Morgan Firestone Arena. For over 30 years she has also dedicated her time to the Hamilton Poverty Roundtable for Poverty Reduction. She has been bestowed many awards, including the Diamond Jubilee Medal and YWCA Women of Distinction and Ancaster Citizen of the Year.

Jean McEachern - Mary Smithson Compassion and Companionship Award

The Compassion and Companionship Award was dedicated posthumously to Mary Smithson, who dedicated countless hours to supporting the city’s more vulnerable populations and championing accessibility for all Hamiltonians. Mrs. Smithson passed away in May 2014.

Award winner Ms. McEachern began her volunteer path at St. Peter’s Hospital over 34 years ago as a Tuck Shop volunteer and hospital auxiliary fundraiser. Soon after, she took on the roles of medical appointment escort, special event volunteer and palliative care volunteer, and has mentored other volunteers in the Palliative Care unit.

 

Lou DeStephanis -Healthy and Active Living Award

Mr. DeStephanis has been a volunteer of the YWCA Seniors Active Living Centre since 2005. In addition to his positions as previous Vice-Chair and currently as Chair of the Seniors Advisory Board, Lou is a true entertainer. For the past 10 years, Lou has been a volunteer performer for the Golden Age of Variety through Theatre Aquarius, and with a local Hawaiian dance group. More recently, Lou has been performing with the Hamilton Geritol Follies. For 25 years, Lou has been a church choir leader at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, and has contributed much of his time to the Knights of Columbus for various charities. Lou has also volunteered with the Burlington Gymnastics Club, Mount Hamilton Soccer Club, Canadian Red Cross and Canadian Cancer Society.

 

 

Chester Faulknor - Leadership Award

For over 23 years, Mr. Faulkner has served and been President of the Ancaster Village Non-Profit Homes and was instrumental in the design-build of 79 geared-to-income residences. For over 30 years, he coached Ancaster High School’s girls track and cross country teams. He was Chair of the Ontario High School Cross Country Championships in Ancaster in 1994 and was the lead organizer for the event, involving 1700 athletes and 100 volunteers. For over 10 years, Mr. Faulknor was President of Ancaster Minor Soccer League, where he established a beginner’s program for four- to six-year-olds. He has been involved with the teacher’s federation for over 40 years, and as Vice-President of District 36 Wentworth, he was instrumental in creating the Excellence in Education Award in all schools. For eight years, he was a member of the OSSTF Educational Finance Committee, where he co-wrote an alternative budget submission for educational grants. For the past 15 years, he has been a member and Chair of the Active Retired Members of Hamilton and has been honoured with several awards, including the Government of Canada Gold Medal for coaching and community work.

Dave Watts - Behind the Scenes Award

Mr. Watts is one of Neighbour to Neighbour’s longest serving volunteers. For over 23 years, he contributed 2-4 days per week receiving, sorting and picking up food donations. His efforts have helped to serve 1,200 families (5,000 individuals) each month. Over the past 20 years, He has also given his time to the Ancaster Community Food Drive, which serves eight agencies in Hamilton. On October 31 each year for the past 10 years, Mr. Watts works alongside high school students sorting food donations for Halloween for Hunger. Throughout the years and over three generations, he has influenced family and friends to join his volunteer commitment to the Neighbour to Neighbour Centre.

 

 

Michael Edward Grant - Diversity and Cultural Award

Since immigrating to Canada in 1964, Mr. Grant has made significant volunteer contributions to children’s and senior’s choirs in Hamilton. As an elementary school teacher he taught children to sing at many events in Hamilton, including Remembrance Day at City Hall. He has also served as conductor for the Harvester Male Chorus for over 25 years with performances in Canada and the U.S., 12 years at First Place Seniors residence, 15 years as piano player for the residents of Blackadar Seniors residence, and over 10 years as Music Director at Glenwood Special Day School for children with special needs. Today, he continues to volunteer directing the Sackville Hill Seniors Choir, is the Music Director for Black History month celebrations and performs at private and special events.

 

Bob Thomson - Economic Leadership Award

Mr. Thomson has held the position of President of the Kinsmen Club in Streetsville where he was an integral part of the development of a community swimming pool. He continued on his volunteer path when he moved to Ancaster over 16 years ago and has held various positions on the Board of Directors at Ancaster Senior Achievement Centre, including over seven years as Chair. Mr. Thomson was also instrumental in enabling a partnership between the City of Hamilton and provincial and federal governments for an expansion of the centre. He implemented technology for credit and debit card payments, and redeveloped and maintains the centre’s website. He also developed a website for Sackville Hill Senior’s Centre. He is a member of the City of Hamilton’s Seniors Advisory committee and has held roles with the Hamilton Council on Aging and Ancaster Community Council.

Emmy Weisz - Innovation Award

In the late 1970s, Ms. Weisz helped to implement gerontology subjects in the curriculums at McMaster University and Mohawk College. Since the 1980s, she has been a member of various City of Hamilton committees, such as the Seniors Advisory, Housing Sub-Committee and Access and Equity Committee. In 1981, she founded the Alzheimer’s Society of Hamilton-Halton, and for over 10 years helped educate the community about Alzheimer’s disease. For over 15 years, she was a volunteer consultant in establishing housing for seniors and those with special needs. She has spent over 20 years as a member of the Hamilton Jewish Federation Holocaust’s Education Committee (Speaker’s Bureau), and as a volunteer consultant with the Ontario Association of Professional Social Workers. Ms. Weisz's contributions also extend to promoting children's access to classical music through the Hamilton Philharmonic Symphony. More recently is her contribution to civic life as President of the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association.

Patricia Saunders - Senior of the Year Award

The Senior of the Year Award is awarded by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, and gives each municipality in Ontario the opportunity to honour one outstanding local Ontarian who, at 65 years of age or beyond, has voluntarily contributed to their community, perhaps in one, or a number of areas, including the arts, literature, community service, education, fitness and sport and humanitarian activities. Patricia Saunders, who lives on the mountain, began volunteering in the 1950’s as a Sunday school teacher at St. John’s Anglican Church. She later became a charter and founding member of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Hamilton Branch, the Hamilton Chapter of the Friends of Schizophrenics, and Hamilton Women’s Centre. While raising four children, she obtained her BA/BSW from McMaster University, and became the President of McMaster University Alumni, School of Social Work. She was the first woman to become Chair of the then Hamilton-Wentworth Police Services Board, and later became Volunteer Coordinator for the Community Policing Centre. Saunders has also supported a number of other community organizations and committees including the Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, the City of Hamilton’s Status of Women Committee, the Hamilton Historical Board, the Community Advisory Committee/Claremont House (Alcohol Treatment Program), YWCA Beautiful Women Project and the Hamilton-Wentworth Heritage Society.

Lois Goodale – Bernie Morelli Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented to a senior volunteer who has demonstrated excellence in long-term service, commitment to the community and dedication to volunteerism. This award is dedicated to Councillor Bernie Morelli who was an advocate, for so many of his 22 years as Ward 3 Councillor, particularly for public safety and seniors. He spent many years as chair of the Hamilton Police Services Board and sat on various advisory committees for persons with disabilities, veterans and seniors. Lois Goodale, who lives downtown, has been volunteering in Hamilton for almost 60 years. It started at James Street Baptist Church where she taught English to new Canadians and led a program, for 37 years, for seniors living in Hamilton’s downtown and west end. She also spent 25 years as a lay assistant for the church, visiting shut-ins. Goodale was also president of the Women’s Society for Christian Service and leader for the church’s seasonal program “Servant’s Garden”.

Julian D’Angela – Innovation Award

Presented to a senior volunteer who has contributed to an organization and/or to the community with the creation of new or different programs, which are innovative in nature. In 2004, Julian D'Angela, a resident of Ancaster, launched the Ancaster Film Festival, part of the Toronto International Film Festival, and presents 12 yearly screenings at the Silver City Theatre in Ancaster. Since its inception, festival membership has grown from 200 to over 1,000, and this non-profit venture has raised $123,000 to date for local food banks and charities. D'Angela also coordinates the annual Tastes of Ancaster, through the Knights of Columbus, and dedicates his time to Lobsterfest, the Ancaster Food Drive and The Meadows long-term care home.

William Grahlman – Behind the Scene Award

Presented to a senior volunteer who is not highly visible, but is always there, willing to assist in any way possible to better their community. William Grahlman, a resident of Ancaster, has been a member of the R.C.A.F.A. 447 Wing in Mount Hope for 25 years, and is currently serving as president. He ensures the Wing is operating efficiently on a daily basis and is open for visitors, members, neighbours and local youth. Grahlman has also supported the Tim Horton’s Children’s Foundation for almost 15 years, dedicating many hours a week as a courtesy bus driver for children in the community.

Gail Rappolt – Diversity and Cultural Award

Presented to a senior volunteer who has achieved excellence in diversity, positive results in making a difference within the community, and has assisted with developing effective programs to bring cultures together. This volunteer has contributed to expanding public recognitions and elevating awareness of common values, including respect for all citizens. Gail Rappolt, who resides in west Hamilton, is a founding member of the Culture of Peace Hamilton, board president and Seniors Group Leader at First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, and is chair of Blooms in Africa. Rappolt is liaison from Hamilton with the United Nations Association of Canada and is the Hamilton envoy for the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office, promoting peace initiatives and human rights.

Al Gordon – Leadership Award

Presented to a senior volunteer who consistently demonstrates dedication, motivation and a positive attitude. This volunteer acts as a role model, inspires commitment from others to reach goals and accomplishments and possesses outstanding attributes, such as a ‘can-do’ attitude, excellent communication skills, resourcefulness, creativity, reliability and overall passion within their volunteer role. Al Gordon, a resident of Ancaster, has been actively involved with Ancaster Senior Achievement Centre (ASAC) for over 20 years, is currently chair of its Advisory Board, and was instrumental in leading a fundraising effort to support its renovation and expansion. He has been a member of the City of Hamilton’s Seniors Advisory Committee for six years and is also a member of the Older Adult Centres Association of Ontario, receiving their Leadership Award in 2013.

Frank Ernest – Compassion and Companionship Award

Presented to a senior volunteer who demonstrates fellowship and friendship by actively listening to others, who demonstrates empathy and concern, and is quick to advocate for, and support, the most vulnerable within the community. Frank Ernest, who resides in Ancaster, helped establish Choices in 1982, a residential program for people living with developmental challenges. He has been involved with the Ancaster Food Drive for almost 20 years, has assisted the Heritage Village BIA with their Farmer’s Market and winter skating rink, and supports the Village Core Advisory Committee. He was a volunteer firefighter for many years and is also committed to raising funds with his church each year for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Margaret Robertson – Economic Leadership Award

Presented to a senior volunteer whose financial management/leadership and/or fundraising efforts have contributed to the livelihood of an organization, and has helped lead the way, or made great strides in, helping an organization achieve its financial goals. Margaret Robertson, a resident of Waterdown, launched her business there in 1975, is a past president of the Waterdown BIA, was the first female President of the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce and established the Business Women’s Network. She has served as a board member for various organizations including Flamborough Information Services and Flamborough Seniors Advisory, and she helped bring the Waterdown YMCA to fruition.

George Wallace – Healthy and Active Living Award

Presented to a senior volunteer who has helped an organization become and/or remain active, or has been instrumental in implementing healthy lifestyle programming. A resident of Stoney Creek, a volunteer coach with minor hockey in Stoney Creek for over 20 years, and the Stoney Creek Women’s Hockey League for another 10+ years, George Wallace has always encouraged his players on and off the ice. His nomination spoke of his “commitment to community volunteerism, random acts of kindness, support of all things and everyone, with a heart bigger than our community and a smile that lights up whatever room he is in. He has helped many people live happy and healthy lives.”