Tim Berthiaume

Magnitude 4.1 earthquake rumbles through town

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Where were you when the earthquake hit?

At approximately 8:01 p.m. Thursday night, an earthquake shook southwestern Ontario and southeastern Michigan with the epicentre of the quake being reported near Alma St. and Concession 5.

It was originally confirmed as a Magnitude 3.6 earthquake by the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) but has since been upgraded to a Magnitude 4.1 earthquake by Natural Resources Canada. It was felt throughout Windsor-Essex County and parts of Michigan.

The depth of the earthquake was reported at

The RTT was covering an event at General Amherst High School Thursday night when the quake hit. People in attendance questioned what the rumbling was as the floor shook but the event – a meeting on the various pathways students can take during and after high school – carried on without major interruption.

The Amherstburg Fire Department activated the “Amherstburg Alert” mass notification system later in the evening and informed residents of the situation. The update also confirmed that there was no danger from the Fermi II nuclear power plant in Monroe, Michigan.

“Amherstburg officials and Fermi Nuclear Plant have been in contact. It is confirmed that Fermi has been shut down since the last weekend and is at no risk of damage from the earthquake,” stated Amherstburg fire chief/community emergency management co-ordinator Bruce Montone in a press release.

No injuries or damage have been reported but if there are people who sustained damage, they are asked to report it to emergency officials.

Terry Hall, who lives on the top floor of an eight-storey apartment building on Dalhousie St., initially thought it was a quarry blast.

“There was a loud rumble in the building,” said Hall. “The dishes started shaking. My kitchen floor started going up and down. I was wondering what had happened.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said he was “stunned” when he learned that it was an earthquake but was pleased with the town’s response. He said he was at home when the earthquake occurred.

“I was just settling down to relax a little bit for the night and watch TV in the basement,” said DiCarlo, “and boom, it came rolling in.”

The epicentre of an April 19 earthquake was in Amherstburg. It was originally pegged as a Magnitude 3.6 earthquake but was upgrade to a Magnitude 4.1 quake. (Image from USGS website)

DiCarlo said his first impression was that of some type of explosion, such as a gas line or fuel tank. He was also reminded of what quarry blasts felt like at his home, though noted the quarry blasts were “moderate and properly done.

“It was the same sensation with a boom and some shaking,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo said he immediately contacted Montone and police chief Tim Berthiaume and while there was some initial thought it was a sonic boom, it was quickly determined it was an earthquake. He said they had to get confirmation from Canadian officials but stated there were “boots on the ground” ensuring the town’s infrastructure was fine and that there was no damage.

Another inspection of area infrastructure was scheduled for Friday.

There was no immediate danger to the public, DiCarlo added, and if there was any danger to the public, an alert would have went out quicker. They also wanted to confirm as much information as possible before relaying it to the public.

“It made no sense to say ‘we felt it too, we’ll get back to you’,” said the mayor.

DiCarlo added he was happy with the initial real-world use of the Amherstburg Alert system and they are taking feedback from the public on how it worked. Those who haven’t signed up for the alerts can do so at www.amherstburg.ca/alert. Thousands of land lines were already registered into the system but those who would like to register cell phones, e-mail addresses and fax numbers can still do so.

“Operations-wise, it went phenomenal,” said DiCarlo.

Town leadership quickly assembled at town hall and firefighters and police officers were out in the community to check for damage or any other issues.

“Communication was excellent,” said DiCarlo.

“Sunshine List” released for 2017

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The “Sunshine List” is out showing public sector salaries for 2017.

The salaries are released under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act which requires most organizations that receive public funding from Ontario to disclose annually the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more in the previous calendar year.

The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act applies to the provincial government, Crown agencies and corporations, Ontario Power Generation and subsidiaries, publicly funded organizations such as hospitals, municipalities, school boards, universities and colleges, and not-for-profit organizations that meet a funding threshold.

The $100,000 threshold has not changed since the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act was enacted in 1996, and has not been adjusted to keep up with inflation.

In Amherstburg, a total of 38 municipal employees made the list, up from the 36 that made the list last year. Of the 38 employees that made the over $100,000 in 2017, 25 of them were members of the Amherstburg Police Service. That is the same number of police officers that appeared on the “Sunshine List” for both the 2015 and 2016 disclosure years as well.

Four members of the Amherstburg Fire Department made the list for 2017.

CAO John Miceli earned $196,523.43, the most of any Amherstburg employee in 2017. Police chief Tim Berthiaume was second with earnings of $171,643.54 while deputy police chief Ian Chappell earned $139,278.33.

Other Amherstburg employees on the list included, in alphabetical order, Const. Fred Adair at $109,627.39, manager of planning services Rebecca Belanger at $111,354.44, Const. Rory Bennett at $119,386.30, Const. David Bohdal at $120,208.52, Sgt. Don Brown at $133,618.56, Const. Viktor Burany at $109,048.47, Sgt. Matt Capel-Cure at $129,675.50, firefighter/training officer Andrew Challans at $117,953.62, Const. Aaron Chambers at $109,636.39, Sgt. Mike Cox at $109,286.27, Const. Nick D’Amore at $117,990.19, Const. Chris Dean at $108,502.64, Const. Nicholaus Dupuis at $115,288.69, firefighter Jason Durocher at $129,601.41, Const. Tim Ford at $106,727.99 and director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin at $136,096.31.

The list of Amherstburg employees making over $100,000 last year also includes Const. Sean Gazdig at $113,550.64, director of engineering and public works Antonietta Giofu at $124,137.74, Const. Nathan Harris at $115,510.91, manager of engineering and public works Todd Hewitt at $104,704.34, Const. Shawn McCurdy at $105,771.82, Const. Margaret O’Brien at $113,106.57, Const. Rocco Pelaccia at $114,592.52, Const. Ryan Pizzala at $106,810.60, Const. Christian Pottle at $103,032.70, Const. Kim Rathbone at $102,545.77, Const. Chris Renaud at $103,666.59 and Sgt. Scott Riddell at $118,598.16.

Also on the list were manager of human resources Michelle Rose at $112,274.87, treasurer Justin Rousseau at $124,137.74, Const. Paul Smith at $110,619.89, Sgt. Melissa Taylor at $126.315.35, Const. B.J. Wiley at $115,685.23 and firefighters Rick and Randy Wismer at $124,475.63 and $127,398.76 respectively.

There were 33 employees with the County of Essex that made the Public Salary Disclosure List for 2017. That list includes 15 members of Essex-Windsor EMS.

The county’s list includes the former and current CAO’s as Brian Gregg, who retired in the fall, was listed at $150,965.62 while Rob Maisonville, who had been director of corporate services/treasurer before taking over for Gregg as CAO, earned $162,855.83.

Others making the county’s list for 2017 included EMS district chief Jean-Pierre Bacon at $111,646.97, director of infrastructure services Tom Bateman at $133,607.89, manager of budget and administration Paula Beattie at $100,393.49, EMS district chief Sarah Bezaire at $106,727.71, director of county and community services/clerk Mary Brennan at $124,988.98, EMS district chief Tyson Brohman at $114,790.94, director of nursing at the Sun Parlour Home Jayne Brooks Keller at $107,609.49 and manager of design and construction Peter Bziuk at $108,429.78.

The Essex Civic Centre

The County of Essex also saw others on the “Sunshine List,” including advanced care paramedic Justin Campeau at $114,324.54, advanced care paramedic Ziad Fatallah at $109,443.54, EMS district chief John Fast at $119,077.87, EMS deputy chief of planning and physical resources Christopher Grant at $144,298.15, registered nurse Kim Hodgson at $100,470.47, EMS district chief John Jacobs at $122,423.19, EMS district chief Michael Jacobs at $122,921.10, advanced care paramedic Anthony Jaroszewicz at $100,000.58, primary care paramedic Nicholas Jovanovic at $102,404.76, manager of accounting Michael Kappl at $110,699.78 and manager of planning Bill King at $100,699.83.

The Public Salary Disclosure List for the county also included EMS Chief Bruce Krauter at $109,308.35, EMS deputy chief of professional standards Justin Lammers at $109,940.80, EMS deputy chief of operations Ryan Lemay at $125,504.53, registered nurse Kristine Malott at $100,346.11, EMS district chief Denis McFarlane at $118,614.36, Sun Parlour Home administrator Lynda Monik at $131,131.08, EMS district chief Mechelle Murphy at $120,045.69, manager of transportation, planning and development Jane Mustac at $108,359.78, manager of maintenance operations Kenneth Newman at $119,629.03, director of human resources Greg Schlosser at $123,450.57, manager of information technology Wendy St. Amour at $105,153.67 and primary care paramedic Arnold Wenzler at $104,794.73.

 

Cost of police clearances becomes a concern of council members

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg town council lent its voice to the issue of volunteers having to pay for multiple police clearances.

The matter arose due to a letter that was included on the agenda as part of Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) minutes on the matter. Amherstburg St. Vincent de Paul Society member Dan Laing wrote the board with concerns about the organizations volunteers having to repeatedly pay for police clearances.

Long-time volunteers have had to obtain clearances and, with those volunteers also having to be fingerprinted, it brought the cost to $85 for one clearance, the letter stated.

“It is a common theme that most of our male members should now be fingerprinted like common criminals to prove their identity,” Laing’s letter stated. “I think this is ridiculous and no way to treat volunteers who are doing their best to keep Amherstburg the safest community in Canada.”

Laing wrote that volunteers from other organizations have been experiencing similar issues.

“Our SSVP conference is composed of single ladies and 15 couples ranging in age from 60 to 92. Most of the couples who go out on calls together, never alone, have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary,” the letter added. “As well most of us have lived in this community our whole lives and if we were law breakers it would be well known to the local police. I would appreciate it if we could be excused from the fingerprinting requirement at this time or at least the cost of this pointless exercise.”

Laing added: “A new policy concerning the treatment of volunteers who are requesting police clearance would also be most helpful.”

Councillor Joan Courtney raised the issue, noting such volunteers don’t get paid for what they do and are “trying to make life better for residents of Amherstburg.”

Chief Tim Berthiaume said that it is employers and insurance companies who are the ones that seek police clearances and the rules are governed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

“We are working on a policy to help these groups out,” said Berthiaume.

Councillor Rick Fryer called for the fingerprint policy to be changes, stating “once you have the fingerprints once, you have the fingerprints on file.”

Not so, stated Berthiaume.

The police chief stated the fingerprints are not kept in town and are sent electronically to the RCMP. The RCMP doesn’t retain the fingerprint copies, he added.

“It’s not our rule, it’s an RCMP rule,” said Berthiaume. “That’s what leads to the frustration.”

Councillor Jason Lavigne said the RCMP isn’t allowed by law to keep the fingerprints and said the APSB may be able to absorb some of the costs. Fryer voiced concern with that possibility, stating “it’s going to come out of our budget.”

 

Public gives feedback on the future of policing in Amherstburg

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Two public meetings down, two to go on whether or not to switch from the Amherstburg Police Service to the Windsor Police Service.

Thus far, many of the people who have spoken at the meetings oppose a switch with the feeling being that the town should “not fix what isn’t broken.”

A number of residents spoke at each of the first two public meetings, held last Wednesday night at the Amherstburg Municipal Building and last Thursday night at the K of C Hall in McGregor. One resident who spoke at both meetings was Frank Cleminson, a former member of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB).

Windsor police chief Al Frederick (right) addresses a question during a public meeting last Thursday night. At left is Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume. Two more public meetings are planned for this week.

Cleminson, who chaired the APSB at points during his 11-year tenure on the board, said Windsor police carries a per capita cost of $450 per person while Amherstburg’s is $270. He also called for greater transparency, something he hasn’t seen so far in his review of the Request for Proposal (RFP) documents.

“I’m not seeing it in the RFP,” he said of transparency. “You’ve arrived at numbers and I’m not seeing how you got them.”

Windsor police chief Al Frederick said while 90 per cent of costs are tied up in salaries and benefits, the bulk of the other budget line items could be reduced if the contract for service is given to Windsor police. Frederick added there are savings in dispatch and additional savings would be achieved through the elimination of the chief and deputy chief position and replacing them with a senior officer.

The high per capita costs, he explained, were due to Windsor having to have the same services and units offered by a regional police service but Windsor doesn’t have the ability to spread costs throughout a region.

John Miceli, the town’s chief administrative officer (CAO) and chair of the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC), said “we are as transparent as can be in the public process” and said people can file a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) for more information.

“You have the privilege at the Amherstburg Police Services Board of seeing everything line-by-line and people had to trust you,” Miceli told Cleminson. “I find it very difficult that you don’t trust the JPAC committee in doing the same thing.”

Denise Bondy believed “this is a change that should be resisted at the present time.”

“If it’s not broken, why fix it?” she asked.

Bondy said Amherstburg “is not a big city” and needs a small town feel with policing. She said the loss of autonomy would be important and also questioned the timing, believing it was happening too quickly as the bid came in during October and a decision is planned for Feb. 26.

“It’s an election year,” Bondy pointed out. “Couldn’t we take a little time and let the people of Amherstburg vote on this? I’m not saying don’t change. I’m saying let’s not be hasty.”

James Bruce of Amherstburg holds up a sign during last Wednesday’s police community consultation meeting at town hall.

“If it isn’t broken, why the heck are you fixing it?” Susan Monaghan asked.

Noting she is a pensioner with a desire for council to be “thrifty,” Monaghan still voiced concerns about the local police losing some accountability.

“Our police service will be part of a larger bureaucracy,” Monaghan stated.

Frank DiPasquale questioned if there are some savings that could be achieved under a contract with Windsor police on such things as fuel, could they be offered now without having to switch? DiPasquale also had issues with two members of council possibly not voting on the matter due to conflicts of interest.

“That’s a big concern to me,” said DiPasquale.

Tom Miller noted that he was pulled over recently in Amherstburg and “the cop was so friendly, it made me want to pay the ticket.” He believed the “brotherhood” among police officers would ensure that other municipalities are covered off if they need extra units such as K-9 units or bomb squads.

“One thing that worries me is Amherstburg’s identity,” said Miller. “I like that small town feeling.”

Miller also had concerns with the possibility of two members of council declaring a conflict, stating that having five people vote on the matter is not “fair in my book.”

Amherstburg resident Frank Cleminson, a former chair of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB), asks a question at the Jan. 18 public meeting in McGregor. Cleminson also had questions at the Jan. 17 meeting at town hall.

Ron Sutherland, another former APSB member and also a former deputy mayor, agreed that it should be brought to the voters.

“I believe this should be on the ballot for the next election,” said Sutherland.

Debbie Bezaire told committee members that she experienced hospital amalgamations and wondered if promised savings will stay in effect going forward.

“As a taxpayer, what is going to happen in 13 years or ten years? Are the savings going to be there in the future?”

“I think there is a lot of fear of the unknown with this proposal,” believed Chad Barrette. If there were a guarantee of savings beyond the initial five-year period, some of the fear would be taken away.

Larry Amlin said he believes the Windsor Police Service is an excellent one and believes that other municipalities are keeping a close eye on this process. Should Amherstburg town council accept the offer, “I see it as one step towards regional policing.”

Kevin Sprague said the $567,000 in proposed annual savings the town would receive by switching to Windsor police isn’t worth it.

“I have serious concerns as a taxpayer in Amherstburg if we lose our cost-effective police service,” he said. “I strongly suggest that saving $567,000 is not worth fixing what isn’t broken.”

Sprague, who also believes it is an election issue, said he feels that the town would eventually be policed like “a big city” as local officers would take advantage of promotion opportunities and move into Windsor. He added that he has had to deal with the Amherstburg Police Service on various matters and has received quick responses.

“I do not want to risk losing this service,” said Sprague.

The option to switch back to Amherstburg after five years won’t happen, he believed and that the town should “put something else on the chopping block” if they want to save $567,000. Sprague added that no one he has spoken with is in favour of switching to Windsor police.

“The town of LaSalle made the right choice (to stay with their police service) and we need to make the right one as well,” said Sprague.

Len Paquette told Frederick and the Windsor officers in attendance Thursday night – including Deputy Chief Vince Power, Staff Sgt. Ron LeClair and Superintendent Brendon Dodd – that “you are not coming here to help us out. You are coming here to make money. You are doing a good job but, at the end of the day, you are going to make money off of the town.”

Paquette endorsed the existing service and the members thereof and believed the costs would be too high if the town elects to switch back in five years.

“Mr. Miceli, you are a great guy but try not to talk us into something we don’t want,” Paquette told the CAO.

Other residents also questioned the potential savings, including Chris Drew. He said Amherstburg could access extra services from the OPP, if necessary, and said he figures that Amherstburg has a more cost efficient service than Windsor.

“I consider this a slap in the face to the Amherstburg Police Service and its members,” said Drew.

Current Amherstburg police officers also had questions. Don Brown, an Amherstburg resident and a sergeant with the Amherstburg Police Service, asked a number of questions and also pointed out losing the chief means losing the “captain of the ship.

“The captain of the ship steers the direction of the service,” said Brown. “We will be losing the chief, the board and the captain of the ship. I want to make that point to the public.”

Const. Shawn McCurdy, president of the Amherstburg Police Association, admitted it has been a stressful time for them but told the public they can still expect the same level of service from the officers as they always had regardless of what happens.

Chris Gibb asked what costs the Amherstburg Police Service would face should the switch not happen. Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume stated they face “infrastructure challenges” which include issues with their radio system. He is recommending replacement in 2019, should the switch to Windsor not happen, and that he hopes to spread the estimated $450,000 cost over five years.

“The Amherstburg Police Service has a healthy reserve,” Berthiaume added. “That’s why we created the reserve.”

Regarding their obligations under Bill 175, including whether they would be obligated to police waterways, Berthiaume said they are preparing for that should any requirements call for Amherstburg police to have to step up patrols on the water. He said they would patrol waterways with existing resources.

Responding to Gibb’s second question regarding access to the chief, deputy chief and police services board should a switch happen, Frederick said he hopes Berthiaume would be the “point person in the transition” as “we need this to work seamlessly and positively as possible.”

In presenting the proposal to the public, Miceli pointed out Amherstburg is a safe community but policing costs represent 23 per cent of the town’s operating budget. A Deloitte report recommendation was to seek shared opportunities that would reduce operating costs, said Miceli, with town council asking for confirmation that people were receiving “value for money” with the current service and examine other options for policing. Town council passed the original motion seeking police costings Dec. 15, 2014.

“Amherstburg has an excellent service,” said Miceli. “In no way is this exercise a reflection on the Amherstburg Police Service.”

Frederick said the Amherstburg Police Service offers a department that is “second to none” and “it’s not going to change” should a switch occur.

Miceli said that town council will make the decision Feb. 26 and told the public no verdict has been arrived at thus far.

Those in attendance to field questions at last Thursday night’s meeting in McGregor included (from left): consultant Mike Mitchell, CAO and JPAC chair John Miceli, Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume, Windsor police chief Al Frederick, Windsor deputy chief Vince Power, Windsor police Supt. Brendan Dodd, and Windsor Staff Sgt. Ron LeClair.

“There has been no decision made yet on the policing issue,” he said. “We are going through the public meeting process to see what people want.”

Believing “there has been a lot of misinformation out there,” the CAO encouraged people to attend the public meetings, find out what is going on and provide input.

Mike Mitchell, consultant with MPM Consulting, called the RFP put out by the town as “one of the most comprehensive RFP’s I’ve ever seen.” LaSalle opted not to put in a bid with the OPP sending a letter, but no bid, in response to the RFP.

The Windsor Police Service would take over administrative duties with the only change residents seeing being the replacement of the chief and deputy chief with a senior officer, said Mitchell.

“The big issue is it is only the administration of Amherstburg police that will be handled in Windsor,” said Frederick. “The police service is going to be what it is today. We’re not going to have Windsor police officers responding to Priority 1 calls in Amherstburg.”

Frederick said Amherstburg police officers could stay in town “as long as they like.”

Findings of the JPAC committee included Windsor police proposal administering existing staff in existing organizational units, the continuation of service delivery, existing Amherstburg officers and staff “working exclusively” for Amherstburg, the town being able to keep the existing Amherstburg police station, police continuing to respond to all calls for service and “through the terms of the contract and membership on the Windsor Police Services board, effective, local control of policing in the town would continue.”

The Amherstburg mayor would become a voting member of the Windsor Police Services Board, should a switch occur.

The JPAC findings also said additional services like K-9, tactical, explosive disposal, forensic identification, collision reconstruction and other services could be added with a switch, Amherstburg would retain its current officers unless there is a promotional opportunity or disciplinary situation and the town would retain its police zone structure and would also maintain separate operational data for Amherstburg. The use of non-lethal shotguns would also be allowed to continue in Amherstburg.

In addition to an estimated $567,802 annually – or over $2.8 million over five years – the town’s post-retirement benefit liability of between $2.8 million to $3.9 million would be picked up by Windsor. Also pointed out as JPAC findings were the repurposing of $380,680 from a police reserve for “other municipal purposes” and that if the town doesn’t renew the contract with Windsor, useful assets would be returned to Amherstburg.

Frederick said Windsor is not trying to make money but sharing services would be beneficial to both municipalities.

“We’re not trying to make money,” said Frederick. “We’re trying to share resources for cheaper costs.”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins, who attended Wednesday night’s meeting at town hall, agreed there were some savings to be had.

“This is not about the City of Windsor making money,” said Dilkins.

Frederick also noted that if Amherstburg accepts the contract, the current collective agreement Amherstburg officers have would dissolve and officers would come under the Windsor police’s agreement and that Amherstburg officers would have to get up-to-speed on Windsor police’s policies.

Miceli said savings to Amherstburg taxpayers would amount to about $61 on an average household. He noted costs would be included in a contract, and pointed out the proposal is not an amalgamation of services but a contracting out of services.

“I have complete faith in the process,” the CAO added.

The third public meeting is this Thursday night (Jan. 25) at St. Peter’s ACHS College School, located at 6101 County Road 20, in Malden Centre. That meeting is scheduled from 6-8 p.m.

The fourth and final public meeting is this Saturday (Jan. 27) at the Libro Centre from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Amherstburg well represented among MP’s Canada 150 medal recipients

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey recently awarded approximately 40 Canada 150 medals and Canada Sesquicentennial Pins to people from around the riding and Amherstburg was no exception.

Ramsey said the medals were to “incredible people of Essex (County) who have really inspired me. I knew they should be recognized for their efforts.”

Ramsey said that being the area’s Member of Parliament since 2015 has opened her eyes to all of the work taking place in the area.

Eleven-year-old Gabby Wilkinson of Amherstburg (left) was one of about 40 recipients of Canada 150 medals presented by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey.

“You can live here your whole life and not realize the work being done around us,” said Ramsey. “In the past two years I was able to meet and connect with incredible individuals who have inspired me. I have the wonderful opportunity to work with people in our communities who dedicate themselves every day by showing how much they care about their neighbours, making life better for all those around them.  I am honoured to be able to recognize them for their outstanding efforts to make our community a better place with these special symbols of Canada 150. I want to thank every recipient for their continued generosity of spirit that makes our riding of Essex and Canada the best place in the world to live.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Among the recipients was Gabby Wilkinson, a student at Amherstburg Public School. Wilkinson was six-years-old when she had problems in math class with patterns. She received help in making patterns and that led to her making bracelets.

From there, Wilkinson started selling the bracelets at an Alzheimer fundraiser in Windsor and raised $68. “Gabby’s Gifts” evolved out of that and the local youth continues to volunteer and sell treats, crafts as well as her bracelets for numerous local charities and causes, including helping the homeless.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to Amherstburg Freedom Museum board president Monty Logan.

“I was nervous and excited,” Wilkinson said about getting the award. “It was a nice surprise.”

Wilkinson is now 11-years-old and in her fifth year of helping others.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission Tim McAllister was another local recipient. Born in Barbados, McAllister came to Canada and attended St. Clair College and became a welder. The married father of four worked in that field for several years before an auto accident involving a drunk driver cut his career short.

McAllister started volunteering with the mission with founders Andy and Pat Gervais and would eventually become president, a position he has held for the last 17 years. He is also a board member at Matthew House in Windsor. He has also won other numerous awards for his efforts.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister.

“As president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, I have found great pleasure in our motto ‘People Helping People’,” said McAllister. “I didn’t volunteer to receive this award but on behalf of my board of directors and volunteers, I do it with a humble and thankful heart. For all of those who volunteer and support the mission, I thank you.”

Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at Amherstburg Community Services (ACS), was another of the medal recipients. DiBartolomeo started volunteering with ACS in 2007 as a way to give back and to support the community. She worked her way up the ladder and by 2009, she had shown the skills and passion to become the executive director.

With DiBartolomeo at the helm, ACS is in the Amherstburg, McGregor, Harrow and LaSalle communities and assists thousands of people who are vulnerable, elderly or in need. She is also willing to volunteer her time to assist other organizations who need a helping hand.

“I am very honoured and humbled by this Canada 150 medal,” DiBartolomeo stated. “To be recognized for what you love to do is rewarding and gives me and my staff the encouragement to continue serving  our community.

Team Ontario – a group of Essex-Windsor EMS members who won back-to-back gold medals at the Ralleye Rejviz international paramedic competition – were honoured by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (centre) with Canada 150 medals. Amherstburg native Lance Huver is second from left.

Monty Logan was also recognized with a Canada 150 medal and pin. Logan, president of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum’s board of directors, was elected to that position in 2012, after joining the board the previous year.

Logan has helped guide the museum through key strategic, infrastructure, programming and fundraising initiatives as well as a transformation from the former identity as the North American Black Historical Museum to the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Two elements of the transformation are complete – the curated archive on the Underground Railroad and the Amherstburg Freedom Summit. The final component is the Amherstburg Freedom Institute, which will focus on promoting solutions to address social and economic challenges facing young people today.

“It’s awesome to be honoured for the work we do at the museum,” said Logan. “More importantly, it’s getting our name out there. It’s an honour to be recognized for the work we do.”

Several police officers were among the medal recipients, including Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume. Berthiaume, who has spent his entire career in Amherstburg, was contacted by the RTT and he said he was happy to be recognized.

“I am honoured and humbled to be recipient of the Canada 150 Medal,” said Berthiaume.

Team Ontario, the group of Essex-Windsor EMS paramedics that won gold at the Rallye Rejviz international competition, was also honoured. EMS Team Ontario members Chris Kirwin, Shawn May, Lance Huver and Mike Filiault made up the 2017 team with Huver being an Amherstburg native.