awards

Two CIBPA award winners come with an Amherstburg connection

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association (CIBPA) presented its “Awards of Excellence” last week with two of the six winners having an Amherstburg connection.

Among the winners were John Miceli, Amherstburg’s chief administrative officer (CAO), and Sobeys Amherstburg franchise owner Rennie Rota. Miceli won the community service award while Rota and Sobeys Amherstburg were named CIBPA’s business of the year.

Videos were played for each award winner with the winners themselves outlining their stories and testimonials coming from associates, colleagues, family members and friends of the winners.

Miceli noted he and his five siblings are children of Italian immigrants and their parents instilled hard work and family values into them.

“My family was the key to my success,” he said.

Miceli said he learned customer service while working in an Italian grocery store. He said public service is a career where “you are there to serve the people.”

After a 23-year career in Windsor, Miceli came to Amherstburg as CAO in 2015. He said he has been proud to work with council, including Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, to help move the town forward.

“Working with council, I was able to influence a number of changes,” he said. “Today, we are a community to watch and a community on the rise.”

CIBPA award winners included (from left): Dr. Geri Salinitri, Dr. John Francis Cappucci, John Miceli, Lina Marie Mastronardi, Olimpio Ferrara and Rennie Rota. At far right are CIBPA president Emanuele Calamita and board member Frank D’Agnillo.

One of the children of Miceli and his wife Rita is a son who is autistic and Miceli was also recognized for the work he was done fundraising for autism.

“I’ve been very proud to raise millions of dollars and help over 300 families in Windsor-Essex with autism,” he said.

Miceli said he was humbled to receive the award and had a number of council members and administration on hand Friday night at the Ciociaro Club to support him and his family as he received the award.

As part of the video presentation, Windsor city councillor Bill Marra called Miceli “one of the most genuine, value-based, hard working, ethical people you can meet” and “in my opinion, one of the greatest champions” of Windsor-Essex County.

John Miceli (left) was CIBPA’s community service award winner Making the presentations were CIBPA president Emanuele Calamita and board member Frank D’Agnillo.

“I’ve learned so much from John,” said Marra.

DiCarlo said the community service award is “perfect for John Miceli.”

“He cares about the community,” said DiCarlo. “He never stops working to make it a place to live, visit and work.”

“John is a man who is truly proud of his heritage,” added Miceli’s wife Rita.

Rota, who was surrounded by his family at the ceremony, also got his start with an Italian grocer with him pursuing that career as he advanced through school. He joined Miracle Food Mart and travelled with wife Anne throughout the province while with that company.

“It was a great experience for us,” he said.

They came to Amherstburg after their third daughter was born and purchased Rocco’s Fine Foods, which was located on Victoria St. S.

“We decided to put down some roots,” he said. “Rocco’s Fine Foods was for sale and the rest is history.”

Admitting they struggled for the first few years, they grew the business and started to experience success. They would eventually explore a relationship with Sobeys, who offered a format Amherstburg needed at that time, he said.

“They were looking to develop new supermarkets in Ontario,” he said.

Sobeys opened the Amherstburg store 15 years ago and the 40,000-square-foot store now employs 120 people.

Rennie Rota (left) and Sobeys Amherstburg captured the business of the year award. Making the presentations were CIBPA president Emanuele Calamita and board member Frank D’Agnillo.

Rota calls Amherstburg a “tight knit community” and thanked Tino Riccio for nominating him and the local Sobeys store. He said there are a number of great non-profit organizations in Amherstburg, citing the Rotary Club, Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce and Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission as some of them.

“These wonderful organizations have done great work,” he said.

Rota stated that “it is a real honour to be recognized” and said “this is an award our family and I will cherish for a while.”

Other award winners included Dr. Geri Salinitri as professional of the year, Dr. John Francis Cappucci as young professional of the year, Lina Marie Mastronardi as young professional of the year and community service and Ferrara Income Tax as the family business of the year.

Numerous local events, festivals and sites of for TWEPI “Best of Windsor-Essex” awards

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A number of Amherstburg sites, events and businesses have been nominated for Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) awards but they need the support of the public to win them.

The Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest has been nominated in the “Best Local Festival – Food & Drink” category but people have to vote for them online at www.bestofwindsoressex.ca.

The Ribfest is in its ninth year and committee chair Carl Gibb said the idea originated from current Rotary Club president Dan Hunt. As many as 15,000 people have attended in some years with the hope this year being for 20,000 people.

“It feels good to be recognized,” said committee member Laura George.

George said the Ribfest is evidence that good things happen when people work together. She added the

Gibb said this year’s festival, planned for July 6-8, will see the committee “ramping up the food choices and entertainment level.” Proceeds from the Ribfest will be put towards “a major project for the town.”

Over 150 volunteers are needed annually for Ribfest. Those interested in volunteering for this year’s Ribfest can contact George at 519-982-2684.

The Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest is one of the Amherstburg-related business, festivals, sites or organizations up for a “Best of Windsor-Essex” award.

Other nominees include a former winner in the Gibson Gallery. The Gibson Gallery is nominated in the favourite art gallery or art space category. Art by the River is nominated in the Best Local Festival – Arts category. In the Best Local Festival – Community Holiday Event category, the River Lights Winter Festival is one of the nominees.

There are two Amherstburg nominees in the Best Museum/Heritage Space category. The Amherstburg Freedom Museum and Fort Malden National Historic Site are up for that award. Fort Malden is also nominated in the Best Local Attraction – Historical category and the Best Photo Op category, with Navy Yard Park also being nominated for the latter.

The Fort Family Fun Centre can be voted for the Best Family Friendly Attraction.

Nominated in the Best Cultural or Heritage District category is the Amherstburg historical district. The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce received a nomination in the Best Shopping District category.

An “Art of the Cocktail” nomination went to Wolfhead Distillery while Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery received a nomination in the Best Local Winery category. Maria’s Restaurant was nominated in the Best Breakfast category while the Best Burger section saw Gilligan’s get a nomination.

Three pizza restaurant chains with Amherstburg locations received nominations in the Best Pizza category, with those including Armando’s, Capri and Naples.

The River Canard Canoeing Company was nominated in the Best On the Water Activity category while the King’s Navy Yard Park received nominations for the Best Picnic Spot and Best Park/Garden awards.

Wildwood Golf & RV Resort and Willowood RV Resort each received nominations for Best Cottage and Best Campground with the latter also having Holiday Beach nominated.

Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering is up for Best Sandwich Shop while the Bondy House is up for Best Bed & Breakfast.

Voting is underway and runs through March 11 at 11:59 p.m. Winners will be announced by TWEPI April 17. People can only vote once per e-mail.

“Shining a Light on Compassion Celebration” comes to Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Windsor-Essex Compassion Care Community (WECCC) brought its “Shining a Light on Compassion Celebration” to Amherstburg.

Amherstburg Community Church hosted the celebration with WECCC already having hosted similar celebrations in other local municipalities.

WECCC director Deborah Sattler said they wanted to come to Amherstburg to spread word of the movement throughout Windsor-Essex County. She noted the idea began three years ago and evolves around the notion of communities asking what is important about your quality of life.

Simple things make the difference in people’s lives, said Sattler, and preventing people from being isolated and them knowing people care and are there to help is important. She said in communities like Amherstburg, one in five are seniors and about 1,500 have some sort of disability.
Sattler said they want to bring together people and agencies to “fill in the gaps” so people don’t feel isolated and alone and get the help and comfort they need.

There were also several “Shining a Light on Compassion” Awards presented at the celebration with recipients including Laura Soutar-Hasulo, John McDonald, Angela Kelly, Rev. Ken Mervyn, Marita Wistuba, Melissa Piva, Mandy Theriault, Terry Noble, Dennis White and Catherine Cristofaro.
McDonald was credited as being an active church member who travels to Cuba to deliver medical supplies, a member of the Park House Museum board and a Kingsville Folk Festival and a donor of instruments to Hospice.

Kelly helped with such projects as the Miracle League, the Give Project, the John McGivney Children’s Centre and many other causes. She is also the mother of a 20-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy.

Rev. Mervyn was senior pastor at Amherstburg Community Church from 1991-2006 and was credited with supporting young people and those young at heart “with openness and positive reinforcement.”

Wistuba was once the youngest foster parent in the local system when she began fostering in her early 20’s and has continued through the years. She has adopted five children and has three biological children of her own.

Piva was honoured for her new book “Rory’s Rainbow” which revolves around gender identity and acceptance. She is trying to get the book into libraries to increase acceptance.

Among those receiving “Shining a Light on Compassion” awards recently were Melissa Piva, Catherine Cristofaro, Terry Noble, Marita Wistuba, Rev. Ken Mervyn and Angela Kelly. WECCC director Debra Sattler is second from right.

Theriault is a dedicated volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society and has spent seven years supporting the cause. She is also president of the community advisory team, campaign captain, event volunteer and “someone who takes the lead when needed.”

Noble was recognized for her many hours overseeing the collection and transportation of thousands of boxes going to children around the world as part of the Christmas Shoe Box initiative.

White was honoured for creating and donating works of art for fundraisers for Brentwood and other charities over the years. He mentors young artists and offers sound advice and encouragement.

Cristofaro is described as “someone who treats others as she desires to be treated” and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a volunteer at retirement homes to assist seniors through music and movement and also makes people feel welcome in her Catz Meow dance studio by extending compassion to them.

Pastor John Bustard of Amherstburg Community Church spoke about that church’s role within WECCC and said “meaningful relationships really matter. What is life without relationships?”

Bustard said the compassionate care movement is “going to empower us to connect with people who need it the most and are the least known.”

Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at Amherstburg Community Services (ACS), pointed out they offer over 20 services including many to seniors. She said she was thrilled when she came across the WECCC movement and believes “community hubs are more relevant now more than ever” and that hubs “must work with community leaders to be successful.”

DiBartolomeo said more and more seniors want to stay in their own homes but also don’t want to burden anyone, so they shut themselves off from the outside world and don’t share their issues as often as they need to.

Agencies from around the area attended the celebration to share what they do, including Happy Soles, Primerica, Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario (ALSO), Canadian Blood Services, ACS, EquiConnect and Senior Chair Yoga.

“Shining a Light on Compassion Celebration” coming to Amherstburg Nov. 3

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Windsor-Essex Compassion Care Community (WECCC) will be showcasing the initiative in Amherstburg next month.

The WECCC has held “Shining a Light on Compassion Celebration” events in municipalities around Windsor-Essex County in past months and will now bring such a celebration to Amherstburg Community Church Nov. 3. Christie Nelson, communications consultant with the Windsor-Essex Compassion Care Community, said the events are geared towards “raising happiness” as well as equality for people who are seniors, isolated or for those with disabilities.

Local agencies that provide services and care for people will be highlighted so that people know of the “circle of care around them.” The initiative is geared to empower people to live well, identify and address barriers to quality of life, reach out to people in distress and engage neighbourhoods to share their talents and skills to others who need help.

The event will also allow people to have a say into the compassionate care movement and to allow people to visit the “connecting neighbours fair” to allow people to see the services that surround them. There will also be video presentations, surveys, entertainment, contests and food and drink.

There will also be “Shining a Light on Compassion” Awards presented that night. Nelson said this award goes to residents who exemplify the meaning of compassion in how they support others.

“This could be a neighbor, caregiver, volunteer, business professional or other individuals who selflessly support others,” she said.

WECCC is accepting nominations for this award in the cat that include business, caregiver, volunteer, artist, diversity, faith leader, youth, good neighbour and community service. For more information on how to nominate someone, contact Nelson at 226-344-4022 or visit www.weccc.ca.

“We’re celebrating people in our community who exemplify compassion,” said Nelson. “It’s a community celebration that everyone is invited to.”

WECCC director Deborah Sattler said the compassionate care movement has been around the area for about three years and the priority is to reach out to those who are elderly, isolate, have disabilities and their caregivers. They are rolling out the initiative in all area communities, talking to people and letting them know of the services around them.

“We are very excited to be coming to Amherstburg,” said Sattler. “We’re really looking forward to seeing what Amherstburg has to offer.”

Not only does the WECCC want to make people aware of local services, they “want to build a mindset of building social connections with neighbours.” She added they want people to take advantage of the services around them and to work collectively around a shared vision.

The Nov. 3 event runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Amherstburg Community Church is located at 125 Alma St.

Legion Week gets started with parade and awards

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Legion Week began in Amherstburg last Saturday morning with the annual parade with some awards and medals following.

The parade took place Saturday and left from in behind General Amherst High School and went down to the Cenotaph where a “drum head” service took place. It was explained by Zone Sgt. At Arms Richard Girard that in times of conflict, pipe bands that were utilized often piled their drums so that ministers could use them for altars when needed.

That was re-enacted Saturday morning with the aid of the Sun Parlour Pipes and Drums with Rev. Maynard Hurst blessing the drum head. Hurst also recognized the veterans and those who served, as well as Rev. John Burkhart.

Burkhart, Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157’s regular chaplain, couldn’t attend Saturday’s service due to his health.

As part of the Legion Week parade, a drum head ceremony was held Saturday at the Cenotaph.

Legion Br. 157 recognized the people who saw it move to its current location, as president Laurie Cavanaugh pointed out Legion members talked about making things easier for the Ladies Auxiliary. The Ladies Auxiliary previously had to go up flights of stairs with food after preparing meals at home but the Legion was able to address that need in 1981 and the current design of the Legion was created.

Cavanaugh added the Legion has always been thankful of its volunteers, and that continued today.

“It’s about the volunteers,” she said. “We are thankful to our volunteers. Thank you to everyone who comes and helps out at the Legion and to everyone who showed up (for Saturday’s Legion Week ceremonies).”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said there are those in the public who only realize what the Legion does on Remembrance Day but pointed out the Legion does good things for people in the community every other day of the year as well. He encouraged other people in the community to join the Legion.

“If you are not a member, please become one,” he said.

Charles Goodchild was recognized for his 60 years as part of the Legion. Patti Hayes, executive assistant to Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, presents him with a certificate.

DiCarlo thanked the Legion and those who fought for Canada for what they have done for the town and country.

“We will be forever in your debt,” he said.

Among the associate members recognized for ten years of service were Judith Bondy, Jacqueline Carroll, Sheila Meunier, Brian Sukarukoff and Amber Turner.

Warde Yorke and Richard Girard salute during the Sept. 16 Legion Week ceremony at the Cenotaph.

Those reaching the 15-year mark as an associate member are Tracy Beaudoin, Ronald Haystead, Alvin Jackson, Marguerite Jones, Virginia Moore, James Repaye and John Purdie. Recognized for 20 years are Tim DeHetre, Ed Delisle, Gerald Langlois, Linda McCourt, M.J. McLean, J.R. Murray and Pete Reid.

Those reaching the 25-year milestone as an associate member are Brian Barrett, Ronald Belward, Jennifer Brunett, Margaret Cote, John Richard Crozier, John Gorgerat and David Iler. Hitting the 30-year milestone are Bea Gibb, Janet Martlin, Peter McEwen and JoAnn Mooney.

Recognized for 35 years as an associate member are Marion DeCarlo and Randy Fox while 40 year pins went to Val DiPierdomenico, Kathryn Lancop, Charles Sanford and Robert Vance.

Linda McCort (left) and Pat Amlin (right) present Richard Girard and Charles Goodchild with watches in recognition of their Korean War service.

Awards to affiliate voting members went to Peter Thyrring (10 years) and Albert Beneteau, Carol Cormier, Michael Duby, Carl Gibb, William McLean, D. Ross and Michael Sullivan (20 years).

Pins for ordinary members went to Bryan Giles and Frederick Wilkinson for their 10 years of service, Fifteen-year pins went to Cornelis Heeren, Leo Lapage, Terrance Sawchuk and Jeff Turner, while Bart DiPasquale, Nick Hertlein, Reg Major, Marcel Pare and John Walsh will receive 20-year pins. Chris Bebbington will be recognized for 25 years as an ordinary member while Gary Rung will be honoured for 30 years. Recognized for 35 years will be Lori Parent and Richard St. Aubin while W.C. Briand and M.R. Hagarty will be recognized for 45 years.

Linda McCort (left) presents Pat Waugh with a pin for her 55 years of service to the Ladies Auxiliary.

Charles Goodchild was on hand to receive his 60 year pin, with Nadine Abiraad and Patti Hayes making presentations to him on behalf of Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak respectively.

Goodchild and Girard were also presented with watches as part of the Royal Canadian Legion’s recognition of Korean War veterans.

The Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 colour guard also received Legion Volunteer Service Medals.

The Ladies Auxiliary honoured Pat Waugh for her 55 years of service while Vera Botting was recognized for her 25 years of service. Kris Martin, Mary Ann Hasson, Bea Gibb and Ruth Ann Rocheleau were honoured for their 20 years of service to the L.A., while Dianne Breault, Debbie Sullivan and Jeannine Theriault were honoured for 15 years of service.

Melissa Pelletier, Linda McCort and Pat Sheardown were recognized for ten years of service while Mary Ann Brooker was honoured for five years of service.