Community Living Essex County celebrates 56 years during AGM

By Jolene Perron

 

Community Living Essex County held their annual general meeting last week to discuss their achievements as an agency over the last year, as well as to recognize some outstanding members.

In attendance at the 56th annual AGM were a number of area mayors including Mayor Ron McDermott from Essex, Mayor Nelson Santos from Kingsville, Deputy Mayor Joe Bachetti from Tecumseh, Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale from Amherstburg and Mayor Tom Bain from Lakeshore. Bain, also the warden of Essex County, said it’s a huge team effort which is to what he attributes the outstanding results of the organization.

Also in attendance to show his support was Essex MPP Taras Natyshak. He said it’s is truly amazing to know that for 56 years, Community Living Essex County has existed in the community to provide support and love for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families.

“It’s something that we should be incredibly proud of, but also something that I think inspires us to the core and not simply because of the nature of the work that you do, but because of the effect that it has on our broader community,” said Natyshak. “Looking at the involvement through the slideshow, that is incredible. I don’t know that there is another organization that is so involved in our community and is so important to raising awareness and bringing people together because we are only as strong as we can be when we lift each other up and we are certainly a stronger community because of the work that you’ve done.”

Community Living Essex County said goodbye to members Jennifer Fraser, who was with the agency from June 2011 to June 2017, and Eva Penner Banman, who was with the agency from June 2015 to June 2017. They won’t be going too far however and will be helping on committees and task groups.

Celine LaBrecque (centre) of Amherstburg was this year’s recipient of the Bruce Crozier “Inspiring Possibilities” Award at the Community Living Essex County (CLEC) annual general meeting last Tuesday night. Making the presentation are Essex MPP Taras Natyshak and CLEC 2nd Vice President Sue Desjarlais.

Celine LaBrecque (centre) of Amherstburg was this year’s recipient of the Bruce Crozier “Inspiring Possibilities” Award at the Community Living Essex County (CLEC) annual general meeting last Tuesday night. Making the presentation are Essex MPP Taras Natyshak and CLEC 2nd Vice President Sue Desjarlais.

The Board Members who were inducted onto the Board of Directors for 2017/18 are as follows:

 

  • Ron Giofu, President
  • Robert Tomek, 1st Vice President
  • Sue Desjarlais, 2nd Vice President
  • Erika Davidson, Treasurer
  • Diane Bourbeau, Past President
  • Michelle Mastellotto, Director
  • Diane Powers, Director
  • Ray Renaud, Director
  • Mike Siblani, Director
  • Chad Sutherland, Director
  • Nancy Wallace-Gero, Executive Director and Secretary to the Board
  • Scott Pratt, Director

 

Amherstburg resident Eva Penner Banman (right) is recognized by CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero last Tuesday night. Penner Banman, along with Jennifer Fraser, were thanked for their service on the board of directors.

Amherstburg resident Eva Penner Banman (right) is recognized by CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero last Tuesday night. Penner Banman, along with Jennifer Fraser, were thanked for their service on the board of directors.

After the business portion of the meeting wrapped up, a number of members were recognized for their efforts above and beyond.

The Bruce Crozier Inspiring Possibilities Memorial Award started off the awards portion of the evening. Presented to Celine LaBrecque, the award was created to recognize people who have made tremendous strides in their life while overcoming many obstacles. Sue Desjarlais and Natyshak presented the award to LaBrecque, explaining how active and busy she is in her Amherstburg community, and how she has overcome many barriers.
LaBrecque was born with complex challenges and experiences difficulties with speech and coordination, which she has overcome a great deal and today is an outstanding public speaker. She has given speeches on topics such as “Ending the “R” Word,” and she has spoken about the importance of inclusion. She participated in the Special Olympics as a rhythmic gymnast in 2015 where she won four gold medals and placed fourth overall in the world in Special Olympics Women’s Rhythmic Gymnastics.

The Jeremy Hart Memorial Bursary was presented to Kyle Girardin, someone who knew Jeremy very well. Jeremy Hart passed away suddenly in 2012, after which time his family established the award for Community Living Essex County, to assist others in achieving their dreams and aspirations, and to continue on with their education which Jeremy strived to do. Diane Powers, who presented the award, explained how Girardin has many goals he hopes to accomplish and will be returning to school to pursue a career in landscaping.

For the first year, the Kevin McMullan Memorial Award was presented in honor of Kevin McMullan who passed away May 3, 2016. The award was presented to Jackie Burney, who was recognized for her excellence in support and services. Her leadership, professionalism, innovation, teamwork, advocating for others, resilience, initiative, dedication and courage warranted her to be recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Special Education Coordinator Lorne Rocheleau with the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board was presented with the Community Inclusion Award. Presenter Chad Sutherland explained, creating welcoming and accessible communities is a shared responsibility, and the award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution towards the development of a welcoming and accessibly community.

“Through his work with First Choice – Employment, now Career Compass, Lorne has used his passion to bring employment to the attention of his colleagues at both the Catholic and Public School Boards,” explained Sutherland. “Many years ago Lorne was employed as an in-home worker for this agency. Lorne understands our goals, mission and vision of an inclusive community and is now a champion in the education sector for inclusive employment and indeed inclusive involvement of all people in all aspects of our community.”

One person from the North, South, West and Central geographical areas was also recognized for making an outstanding contribution to their community through volunteering, employment, involvement in clubs, participation in the community and making strong connections. Those recognized are as follows:

North Area
Kelly Thibert

South Area

Amber Reekie

Alvin Matte (right) receives the Outstanding Service Award for the west area (Amherstburg/LaSalle) from the area’s director of supports Anne Garrod. Garrod was also honoured for her 35 years of service during the  meeting.

Alvin Matte (right) receives the Outstanding Service Award for the west area (Amherstburg/LaSalle) from the area’s director of supports Anne Garrod. Garrod was also honoured for her 35 years of service during the meeting.


West Area
Alvin Matte

Central Area
Paul Janisse

 

Community Living Essex County has more than 700 dedicated and skilled employees. To conclude the evening, those with 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service were recognized.

 

Celebrating 20 Years of Employment:

Martha Vukov, Support Worker, Central Area

 

Celebrating 25 Years of Employment:

Lori Huson, Manager, CL Supports, Central Area

John Neposlan, Support Worker, Central Area

Sandra Paisley, Manager, CL Supports, West Area

Dina Pawelec, Support Worker, Northshore

Celebrating 30 Years of Employment:

Karen Ruston, Admin Support

 

Celebrating 35 Years of Employment:

Lee-Anne Dupuis, Director, CL Supports, South Area.

Anne Garrod, Director, CL Supports, West Area

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