Tracey Ramsey

ACS thanks its “stars” at volunteer appreciation dinner

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) rolled out the red carpet to thank its volunteers.

ACS held its annual volunteer appreciation dinner last Wednesday night at the K of C Hall with this year’s event being dubbed “A Night of a Hundred Stars.” It’s 124, actually, as that’s how many volunteers ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said the agency has.

Those volunteers put in over 7,000 hours of service during 2016, she added.

The Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) volunteer appreciation dinner had a Hollywood theme this year with people able to pose next to cutouts of famous entertainers. Getting in on the fun last Wednesday night were ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and ACS board of directors president Terri Barrette.

The Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) volunteer appreciation dinner had a Hollywood theme this year with people able to pose next to cutouts of famous entertainers. Getting in on the fun last Wednesday night were ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and ACS board of directors president Terri Barrette.

“Just as Hollywood recognizes its stars, we wanted to recognize (the volunteers) the same way,” said DiBartolomeo.

The 124 volunteers was a figure that impressed DiBartolomeo.

“That is amazing,” she said. “That is our highest amount ever. We continue to grow every day.”

DiBartolomeo outlined the lengthy history of volunteerism and told the ACS volunteers that “you carry on a centuries old tradition and we see you as stars in our community.”

Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale brought greetings from the town. DiPasquale, a former ACS board member, said the people with ACS were those he was close to.

“I enjoy working in Amherstburg. I enjoy the people,” DiPasquale said. “I feel the people are part of my family.”

ACS also serves LaSalle and Harrow with LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya also being a Meals on Wheels driver when his schedule permits.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) receives a gift from ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo for attending the ACS volunteer appreciation dinner.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) receives a gift from ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo for attending the ACS volunteer appreciation dinner.

“The service you provide to the community is immeasurable,” Antaya told the volunteers. “You can’t put a price on it.”

Antaya said it was more than just delivering a meal, but it is also spending time with seniors and those who may need just someone to visit them.

“Never underestimate your importance,” he said. “Continue giving. There’s nothing better than giving to your community.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey praised the commitment of the volunteers, adding the government can only do so much. Ramsey said those who serve their community make major impacts and that is what makes Essex County so unique.

“Thank you for your continuing service,” Ramsey told the crowd.

Bryan Dzombak (left) receives one of the door prizes offered at the ACS volunteer appreciation dinner last Wednesday night. Making the  presentation is ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Bryan Dzombak (left) receives one of the door prizes offered at the ACS volunteer appreciation dinner last Wednesday night. Making the
presentation is ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Terri Barrette, president of ACS’ board of directors, recalled learning about giving back from her grandmother and told the volunteers they were special and stars.

“What all of you provide to the community is invaluable,” said Barrette.

In many cases, Barrette said volunteers are allowing people to have choices and freedoms through such factors as the ability to stay in their own homes.

“You are not only their saving grace, you are inspiring the next generation to be leaders,” said Barrette. “In more ways than one, the community is stronger and richer because of you.”

Amherstburg Fire Department honours retirees, long-serving members

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department paid tribute to nine retirees and eight long-serving firefighters as part of their annual banquet.

The retirement and awards banquet was held Saturday night with the retirees alone amounting for 264 years of service to the community. Retirees included former deputy chief James Ouellette (46 Years of Service), Frank Beaudoin (45 years), Kenneth Tytgat (35 years), Mike Dikan (30 years), Brian Gibb (26 years), Rodney Ferriss (23 years), Marcy Laframboise (21 years), Rob Taylor (20 years) and Russell Deslippe (18 years).

Also honoured was Al Reaume, who spent his last official day as fire chief Saturday night before re-entering retirement. Essex MP Tracey Ramsey thanked Reaume for the work he put in during his two years as chief and all of the award recipients as well.

Top (left to right) Captain Brad Brush, Firefighter Rob Taylor, Firefighter Tom Morand, Captain Jerry Ferguson, Captain Frank Beaudoin, Captain Paul Bastien, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey. Bottom (left to right) Captain Rick Wismer, District Chief Ken Rose, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise, Firefighter Ken Tytgat, Chief Al Reaume, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss.

Top (left to right): Captain Brad Brush, Firefighter Rob Taylor, Firefighter Tom Morand, Captain Jerry Ferguson, Captain Frank Beaudoin, Captain Paul Bastien, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey. Bottom (left to right): Captain Rick Wismer, District Chief Ken Rose, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise, Firefighter Ken Tytgat, Chief Al Reaume, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss.

“I thank you for your service to the community,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey also thanked the families, noting all the time and sacrifices they have to endure in addition to the sacrifices made by the firefighters themselves.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo noted that Reaume was already retired when the town called him to assume command of the department two years ago when it was being restructured. He also praised the firefighters for the job they did during those difficult circumstances.

“You have remained focused, dedicated and professional,” DiCarlo said.

DiCarlo also reiterated what Reaume told the River Town Times in the April 12 issue. Reaume’s quote was: “The firefighters here are phenomenal. They’ll give you 100 per cent. They are doing the job for the right reasons.”

Leading is not always glamorous, the mayor added, and said Reaume came to Amherstburg in less than ideal circumstances. Despite the workload or challenges Reaume was faced with, DiCarlo said the chief was “unflappable” and did his job professionally.

“Amherstburg is a better place because of you and we wish you well as you go back into retirement,” DiCarlo told Reaume.

Chief Al Reame presents Capt. Rick Wismer (right) with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence during the Amherstburg Fire Department's award banquet April 22.

Chief Al Reame presents Capt. Rick Wismer (right) with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence during the Amherstburg Fire Department’s award banquet April 22.

Reaume also presented Capt. Rick Wismer with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence. Wismer was getting ready to head to a medical call in the early morning hours of July 15, 2016 when he looked across the road from Station 2 and saw a house on fire. The residents were still sleeping because, as Reaume stated, the fire started in the garage and went into the attic thus going above where the working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms were situated. Wismer checked the home and was able to get the family out safely.

Wismer said it goes to show what the firefighters learn and that they fall back on their training in emergency situations.

“It’s very special,” he said, of receiving the medal. “Some people go a career without receiving something like this. I wasn’t expecting it for sure.”

Receiving the award from Reaume was special as well, Rick Wismer added, with Reaume being “like a father figure to us.”

Rick Wismer also received his 20 year service medal with other medals and bars going to Paul Bastien (45 years), Jerry Ferguson (35 years), Bradley Brush (30 years), Dikan (30 years), Tom Morand (20 years), Ken Rose (20 years) and Taylor (20 years).

Rose, a district chief, and Capt. Randy Wismer paid tribute to the other retirees. Randy Wismer said Beaudoin has been through many changes over the years and said his life is “honestly a remarkable life of service” and one that people should aspire to. Wismer called Ferriss someone who was honest and bold and also “a welcome sight to see on fire calls when I was promoted to captain.”

Laframboise was Amherstburg’s first female firefighter and Wismer noted that while there were challenges, she met them and became an important asset. He praised Laframboise for her work at medical calls.

Rose called Dikan a “wizard” who knew the capabilities of what could be done. Deslippe is a “super loyal guy” who was very knowledgeable and a person who “had your back” at fire calls.

Tytgat proved to be a “very versatile guy” at fire calls, Rose continued, and was also a good person when it came to organizing fire safety initiatives and Christmas parties. Gibb is funny, endearing and a “jokester” while Taylor was a “real pro” who took special interest in auto extrication and sharing his knowledge with his fellow firefighters.

The retirees in attendance made a few comments of their own, with Tytgat thanking all of his colleagues at Station 3. He added the spouses and families deserved a lot of credit as well for the sacrifices they make.

“We’ve got a good group of firefighters at all three fire stations,” said Gibb, adding the residents can be proud of the dedication of their firefighters.

Beaudoin said he was proud and honoured to work with his fellow firefighters and said his career went by quickly.

“It goes by fast, especially when you enjoy what you do,” said Beaudoin.

Laframboise said she was proud to be able to work with the Amherstburg Fire Department.

“It was an honour to have met you all and work with you all,” said Laframboise.

Taylor also praised the firefighters and encouraged everyone to “keep up the good work” while Ferriss said he will have nothing but good memories from his time on the fire department.

Bruce Montone, the new chief of the Amherstburg Fire Department, said he was struck by the “sense of family” that exists within the department.

“I am very honored to have been given the opportunity to work with you and earn my place hopefully as part of your family,” Montone told the large crowd at the AMA Sportsmen Club. “I hope very much to do that.”

Montone said when new firefighters are brought on, they bring a “two-for-one” value as their spouses also come as part of the package.

Reaume recalled the accomplishments in his two years as chief, including complying with the 23 orders from the Ministry of Labour, upgrading and servicing equipment with the help of town council, establishing health and safety committees and correcting about 175 deficiencies they found, initiating an Ontario Fire Marshal review with the goal to help with training, getting $30,000 from the Ministry of Health to assist with emergency management and partnering with the Rotary Club on a carbon monoxide detector project.

Deputy Chief Lee Tome said he worked with Reaume for 33 years and worked with Montone for five years and “I can assure you we are going to continue the progress we’ve made.” Tome agreed that “firefighters are doing it for the right reasons” and also praised the families.

“I enjoy it here so much,” said Tome. “It’s been such a great experience.”

 

Ramsey announces $41K in funding to support regional camp

 

By Jonathan Martin

Member of Parliament Tracey Ramsey has announced that the federal government has pledged to put $41,357 toward hiring 12 summer student councillors at Kiwanis Sunshine Point Camp.

Ramsey made the announcement Saturday night at the second annual Realtors Giving Back Wine & Food Extravaganza. The dinner and show was a fund raiser for the camp, which hosts economically disadvantaged youths between the ages of 7-14 for one week each summer. The camp covers some or all of the costs associated with attendance for more than half the campers.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey announces over $41,000 in federal funding for the hiring of a dozen summer student counsellors at the Kiwanis Sunshine Point camp. It was part of the Realtors Giving Back Wine & Food Extravaganza Saturday night at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey announces over $41,000 in federal funding for the hiring of a dozen summer student counsellors at the Kiwanis Sunshine Point camp. It was part of the Realtors Giving Back Wine & Food Extravaganza Saturday night at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Ramsey said the federal boon is part of the Canada Summer Jobs 2017 program, which provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. The funding is meant to be used to hire students between the ages of 15 and 30 during the summer, provided the students will be returning to school the following semester.

“I’m really thrilled to be a part of these events,” said Ramsey. “I went (to Kiwanis camp) as a kid and I know how amazing the experience attending it can be.”

“Many of these kids have never left the city of Windsor,” said event host Dan Inverarity. “It’s an eye-opening experience for them. They look up at night and can not believe how many stars are out there.”

In recent years, the camp has been suffering through financial turmoil. According to numbers released by fund raising organizers, it needs $150,000 per year to keep its doors open.

An Elvis tribute artist performs at Saturday night’s Realtors Giving Back Wine & Food Extravaganza. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

An Elvis tribute artist performs at Saturday night’s Realtors Giving Back Wine & Food Extravaganza. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Each child’s admission costs around $350. This year, Inverarity said the camp hopes to host 420 children, many of whom will come from the Children’s Aid Society. He said after Saturday night, they are right on target.

“Local realtors are incredibly generous people,” he said. “With their help and the help of Tracey Ramsey, it looks like we will be able to run a full camp. All together, they donated more over $30,000.”

Inverarity added that this year, Kiwanis hopes to host some of Windsor’s growing refugee population.

“We want to show them how incredible our community is,” he said. “We want them to feel like they are a part of it.”

Inverarity said he is excited to show Windsor’s refugees just how much fun a Canadian summer can be.

Essex MP finds 2017 federal budget “disappointing”

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The release of the 2017 federal budget, which was last Wednesday, hasn’t overly impressed the Member of Parliament for Essex.

Tracey Ramsey said the 2017 budget that the governing Liberal Party presented is largely a rehash of the Liberals’ 2016 budget. She said there is some investment but it is “back-ended” over a ten-year period.

“The budget overall is disappointing,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey said the 2016 budget outlined issues relating to families, and she was hoping for more aid and relief for seniors in the 2017 budget.

“There’s nothing for seniors,” the NDP MP told the River Town Times.

Essex MP

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey

There is also little for small business and rural communities, she added.

“Again, there are campaign promises not coming through.”

Ramsey stated in a press release: ““The Liberals’ infrastructure privatization scheme ignores the needs of rural communities. Essex County needs investments in rail, highways and transit — not more user fees and tolls. Families and the seniors who built our country are deeply concerned about the high cost of living, but this budget does little to build a fair economy that lifts everyone up. The budget also missed a key opportunity to deliver a PACA-type program for produce farmers.”

The Liberals have placed Canada in “a large deficit” and Ramsey stated it is larger than originally anticipated. Promises to create jobs and invest in infrastructure haven’t been materializing like they should.

Full-time, good paying jobs aren’t being created like they should be, said Ramsey.

“Unfortunately the jobs we are seeing are part-time and precarious,” she told the RTT. “People’s lives aren’t improving overall.”

The NDP also wants to see stock option tax loopholes closed, with Ramsey stating that there is “a serious missed opportunity” by not doing that. If such loopholes are closed, more money could be put back into the pockets of seniors, veterans and every other Canadian citizen.

One of the infrastructure needs that has to be looked after is short-line railroads, with Ramsey stating that Essex Terminal Railway (ETR) wants to upgrade some of its rail lines in the area. That includes a line in Amherstburg.

Investing in short-line railroad is “critical to attracting new investment to the region,” said Ramsey.

There is a portion of the 2017 budget devoted to affordable housing, she continued, but much of that is “back-ended” as well. More needs to be done there as well as with child care as solutions need to be found for people in southwestern Ontario.

A “small amount” of cash is devoted to pharmacare but that is “far short” of where it should be, Ramsay added.

There also isn’t a strong enough commitment to the automotive sector, she added, and that the NDP want a federal manufacturing strategy. She said there is a lot of talk in the budget about innovation but no one innovates like the manufacturing industry.

“The NDP would like to see a manufacturing strategy from the government,” she stated.

The budget has “a lot of aspirations, but not a lot of concrete plans,” Ramsey added.

Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 celebrates 95th birthday of World War II veteran

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Nearly 80 people stopped by Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 last week to wish Doug Ramsay a happy birthday.

Ramsay, who served as a private in the Essex-Scottish Regiment from 1939-45 in World War II, turned 95 last Wednesday (March 15) and the local Legion held a party in his honour. Ramsay received the Netherlands Commemorative Medal of Liberation and a medal recognizing Canada’s 150th birthday during the ceremonial portion of the afternoon with local dignitaries also recognizing Ramsay as well.

Cornelis and Tina Heeren present Doug Ramsay the Netherlands Commemorative Medal of Liberation.

Cornelis and Tina Heeren present Doug Ramsay the Netherlands Commemorative Medal of Liberation.

Ramsay said it was recognition he didn’t see coming.

“It was a surprise,” he said. “I thought I was coming down to have a few beers with the boys.”

Ramsay was accompanied by sons Duncan and Peter as he accepted his awards with his sons also surprised by the ceremony.

“There’s a lot more to it than we were expecting,” said Peter.

Duncan said the ceremony was “very special” and said his father was overwhelmed, adding his father is a humble person.

Long lives run in the family, Duncan added, noting Doug’s father lived until he was 100-years-old and his mother died when she was 98-years-old.

Legion members, dignitaries and other veterans joined in wishing Doug Ramsay (second from right) a happy 95th birthday March 15.

Legion members, dignitaries and other veterans joined in wishing Doug Ramsay (second from right) a happy 95th birthday March 15.

“He has longevity in his family,” said Duncan.

Capt. Jeff Turner, who acted as master of ceremonies for the formal portion of the afternoon, praised Ramsay for his bravery, dedication to the cause and humble nature. Turner said Ramsay sets an example people can emulate daily.

Turner also pointed out Ramsay has served with the Legion for over 66 years.

Cornelis and Tina Heeren presented Ramsay the Netherlands Commemorative Medal of Liberation as Cornelis is a veteran of the Dutch army. Bruce Tribute, Sgt. At Arms with Legion Br. 255 in Riverside, presented Ramsay the Canada 150 medal.

Sgt.-at-Arms Bruce Tribute (left) from Legion Br. 255 in Riverside presents Doug Ramsay a Canada 150 medal.

Sgt.-at-Arms Bruce Tribute (left) from Legion Br. 255 in Riverside presents Doug Ramsay a Canada 150 medal.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo presented Ramsay a framed certificate from the town of Amherstburg and thanked Ramsay for his service to Amherstburg and to Canada.

“Happy 95th birthday,” said DiCarlo. “I hope we’re hear to celebrate your 100th birthday.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo presents Doug Ramsay a certificate from the

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo presents Doug Ramsay a certificate from the

Patti Hayes represented Essex MPP Taras Natyshak and praised Ramsay for his dedicated service to the Royal Canadian Legion. She added that Ramsay is an inspiration for future generations.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey was in England and unable to attend last Wednesday’s event, but federal recognition for the 95-year-old veteran is still expected.