Volunteer Recognition Awards

2020 Recipients

The Municipality of Lambton Shores would like to congratulate this year's volunteer award recipients. We are truly grateful for all that you do for our community. 

Accessibility Award

Awarded to an individual and/or group for contribution to the elimination of barriers to people with disabilities, and/or the inclusion of people with disabilities in all facets of the community. 

 Ruth Illman

Ruth was unable to attend the award presentation. This is a photo of the work being done at the theatre.Ruth has been an active member of our community for a number of years. She has been involved in many organizations and community events, acted as a liaison with the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation for a number of projects and most recently appointed as the Chairperson of the Renovation Committee for the improvement and restoration of the Kineto Theatre in Forest.

Ruth has spent countless hours writing grants applications, fundraising and coordinating this project which will transform the small town theatre into a community hub for events and fun! The renovated space will be more accessible to its patrons as well.

She always gives 110% to everything she does. She is a true team player and cares deeply about the community she lives in and the people that live there with her. 


 Environment Award

Awarded to an individual and/or group for contribution to the protection, preservation, beautification, awareness and/or promotion of our local environment. 

Klaus Keunecke (posthumously) - Individual Award

Klaus Keunecke in a 2012 file photo doing work on a trail in Ipperwash.Klaus has been a dedicated volunteer in Lambton Shores for many years. His love for the outdoors was apparent in the many projects and organizations he was involved with. 

He was instrumental in starting up the Lambton Shores Nature Trails (LSNT) over 9 years ago and his heart and soul right to the end, was in the service of our communities and the clearing of the trails to provide, 'Connected, safe user-friendly trails' for all ages, for generations to come.

Klaus collaborated with many community groups over the years to increase public awareness about environmental causes. He promoted the ethical and environmental impacts of making positive environmental decisions. 

Accepting the award for Klaus is Lindsay Ashworth-Ducharme, Marilyn Keunecke and Trinity Williamson. Klaus believed in encouraging everyone to get outside to enjoy and discover the hidden gems of nature - the flora and fauna, wildlife and their habitats. 

Klaus Keunecke - 1938-2019 

Lambton Shores Nature Trails - Group Award

Accepting the award on behalf of the LSNT is  the Chair of Operations, Ross Atkinson.Lambton Shores Nature Trails (LSNT) was founded in October 2011 by a group of local nature and hiking enthusiasts with a mission to promote, develop and maintain public nature trails through partnerships in Lambton Shores and vicinity. Their vision is to build a network of user-friendly nature trails that inspire people to experience the bio diversity of Lambton Shores and Vicinity.  Mobilizing the landowners, providing free and fun public access via hiking trails, bike-ways or water routes was deemed to offer the best approach to save these 'Gems of Nature' for future generations.

Hiking provides a proactive approach to health, both physically and mentally, especially in the chaos of today’s world. This group takes great pride in the work they do with the trails in Lambton Shores and beyond. From blazing to clearing to adding accessibility choices, the trails have become a true draw from many residents and visitors.

LSNT has taken to empowering the youth of our community and getting them involved. They have worked with students from the local high school and encouraged others to volunteer their time and efforts into maintaining the trails, planting trees and exploring nature. The trails have also provided a natural and visually interesting space for education, creative arts and relaxation.

The group’s latest endeavour is the opening of the LSNT Trailhead Central Visitor Centre. The Centre was established to create awareness of the unique, natural attributes in Lambton Shores and provide education on such topics as Tick Awareness.

Visit their website for more information about this groups and their efforts. 


Sports and Recreation Award

Awarded to an individual and/or group for contribution to the promotion, development and/or support of recreation and/or sport in the community.

Thedford Skating Club

Accepting the award on behalf of the TSC is Maria Walden and Joanne Eastman.2020 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Thedford Skating Club. The Club has been providing skating lessons and programs to children in Lambton Shores and the surrounding area with the assistance of countless volunteers over the years. A highlight each year is the annual carnival where the skaters can showcase what they have learned over the season to their family and friends.  

The Club took on the task of hosting a figure skating competition at the Legacy Recreation Centre in Thedford that now only allowed local skaters the opportunity to compete in a competition, but also drew skaters from all over Southwestern Ontario to our community. Hosting a competition takes many hours of planning and coordination by the Club’s volunteers and it paid off in the end the event being deemed a huge success.

The Thedford Skating Club partners each year with the Thedford United Church to host a roast beef dinner for the community. This is a fundraiser for both groups and is well received by all that attend. 

Good Neighbour Awards 

Awarded to Lambton Shores residents and/or groups for their outstanding efforts and actions that have enhanced or improved our community. A maximum of three individuals and/or groups per ward may be awarded each year.

Marianne Boddaert - Individual Award - Ward 4

Marianne Boddaert accepting her award from Deputy Mayor Doug Cook and Mayor Bill Weber.Marianne’s generosity to the community is the definition of a good neighbour. On a weekly basis, she repairs, alters and/or labels clothing belonging to the residents of the North Lambton Lodge. She will often take elderly folk grocery shopping and out for meals and coffee as well.

In this unprecedented year when a global pandemic is being experienced, it is people like Marianne that pull together and help in so many different ways. Her sewing skills and willingness to help the community were greatly appreciated by those who needed masks and caps to help keep themselves and their families safe. Many were donated to the staff at the North Lambton Lodge and distributed throughout Lambton Shores – so many she lost count!

Marianne has canvassed for the Kidney Foundation for the past 30 years, as well as the Heart and Stroke Foundation each year. 

Mark Armitage and Melanie Kelders - Individual Award - Ward 5

Mark Armitage and Melanie Kelders accepting their awards from Deputy Mayor Doug Cook and Mayor Weber.Mark and Melanie have been very supportive of the Forest-Lambton Museum and its activities over the years. They have provided additional storage from their neighbouring building which has allowed the museum to enhance some of the exhibits. They also maintain the share driveway between the museum and their office.

Mark and Melanie recognize the value in preserving local history and are more than happy to help the museum with some maintenance and lend a hand whenever needed.  

Sonja Collinet - Individual Award - Ward 3

Sonja Collinet accepting her award from Deputy Mayor Doug Cook and Mayor Bill Weber. Sonja is passionate about her home community of Port Franks and keeping it beautiful. She cares deeply for the environment and wants to see the community care about it too.

Sonja was a part of the original planning and building of the community gardens in Port Franks. She made them extra special by planting pollinator plants around the perimeter of the garden, adding bird houses and hardscaping the inside perimeter.

Sonja also cares about the youth in the community and has dedicated many hours to the Arts and Stuff program every Wednesday and the summer art camps. The children love these programs and are grateful for the efforts Sonja puts into them.

Sonja continues to build bridges with our Indigenous community. It was her idea to include the 7 Grandfather Cravings at the Port Franks trailhead, which was completed by a wood carver in Kettle Point.  

Contact House Food Bank (Forest Volunteers) - Group Award - Ward 5

Bill McKellar and Aaron Frayne accepting on behalf of Contact House. Contact House was established 35 years ago as the local Food Bank in Forest. The food bank first operated out of a resident’s home before moving to the Anglican Church. The bank was then moved to the old Scout Hall at the former Forest Arena on Townsend Line, where they continue to operate today. It is supported by various community donations and fundraising activities that take place throughout the year.

Contact House has a dedicated group of volunteers that is committed to the service of the less fortunate in our community. The group has worked quietly over the years to meet a needs of those in need, never expecting accolades or recognition, but merely performing a service to their community from the heart.

In 2020, the importance of Contact House took on a greater significance. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic shutdown, more people than ever experienced layoffs with no work, no pay and facing a desperate need for the basic essentials. More food drives were held as more families needed help. It was the tireless efforts of the Contact House volunteers that kept the shelves shocked and assisting those that needed it. 

Contact House would like to thank the community for their generosity over the years and particularly this year when it has been a difficult time for so many. 

 North Lambton Community Health Centre - Virtual Exercise Leaders - Group Award - Ward 4

Connie Gayler and Jill McLean accepting their awards from Deputy Mayor Doug Cook and Mayor Bill Weber. Absent from the photo is Mary Jean Hansen. In a year where many were faced with social and physical isolation due to the pandemic, the North Lambton Community Health Centre and its volunteer exercise program leaders found a way to keep their participants engaged – virtually. Jill McLean, Mary Jean Hansen and Connie Gayler were able to adapt their exercise program and learn how to teach them virtually so their participants could partake from home and miss out on getting some physical activity and a little social interaction.

The virtual programming was well received with 130 individuals registering. And now with the program being already established, it will be something that they will be able to roll into again quite easily should it be required again. 

Stay-At-Home Gala Organizing Committee - Group Award - Ward 1

Committee members from the Stay-At-Home Gala accepted their award from Deputy Mayor Doug Cook and Mayor Bill Weber.At a time when our region was rocked by the COVID-19 crisis, a group of citizens -- members of the Grand Bend Community Foundation board and the Grand Bend Rotary Club -- came together to raise money to support the most vulnerable people in our communities.. The opportunity to tie into a national fundraising effort came through GBCF. When Rotarians heard about it, just after having to cancel their fall fundraiser, they agreed to support it. With just three weeks of planning time, the Committee held a highly successful online event, involving some 400 people across our region. In total, the event raised more than $80,000 toward the Grand Bend Community Foundation's COVID-19 Relief Fund.

But it was not only a financial success -- it was also a way for the community to come together at a difficult time. The chatbox on the night of the event was full of warm greetings and supportive messages. While helping others, participants also helped themselves to feel connected. This was not an exclusive event -- a household could attend for as little as $25. It was accessible, hyper-local in content, and lots of fun.


Outstanding Community Group
Recognizes a community group for its outstanding voluntary contribution to the well-being of our community. 
Arkona Lioness Club 

Kim Garside and Jackie Ryan accepting the award on behalf of the Arkona Lioness Club. Lioness Clubs are part of Lions Clubs International, the largest service organization in the world. They take great pride in playing an active part in the local community, helping those less fortunate than ourselves, as well as enjoying a social life with like-minded individuals who come from all walks of life.

The Arkona Lioness Club has been an important part of our community since 1986. Over the years they have raised funds and made donations to local youth organizations and sports teams, seniors groups and non-profit organizations that provide a benefit to our community.

They organized events and activities for the community to enjoy such as the annual Funtastic Day – Arkona’s Canada Day Celebration - which includes a parade through the village and activities for all ages throughout the day. The Lioness also coordinate the Remembrance Day service and parade each year and assist with various Lions Club functions. 

The Lambton Shores Volunteer Awards recognize individual volunteers and community groups in a specific category for their contributions to the community. One individual award and one group award is available per category unless otherwise stated. Nomination forms are due the third Friday in June each year. Council present the awards annually at the Volunteer Recognition BBQ in September.

Volunteer Recognition Policy
Volunteer Awards Nomination Form


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