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.

Local man follows his passion in coins and medals



By Jolene Perron

“I was first interested in coins starting at the age of 10, collecting coins from my pocket change. I used to go to the bank to get a roll or two of coins to search through to find one for my collection. Then I would return the roll and take out another roll. The bank finally cut me off as the tellers had better things to do than just supply me with rolls to search through.”

Dan Jones explained, he is a retired high school teacher who previously taught business and special education for 33 years. He was also an estate auctioneer, conducting household property auctions in the Kingsville area.

He has been buying coins and military medals since he was 18-years-old.

Dan Jones has been buying and collecting coins and military medals since he was 18-years-old. (Submitted photo)

“I always found them fascinating pieces of history,” explained Jones. “Also many of the estates we conducted auctions for also had coins collections to sell.”

In Amherstburg, he typically sets up at the K of C Hall on Richmond St. where customers can bring in their old jewellery, gold, sterling silver, or coins for a free no obligation estimate. He said using his many reference books, he makes them a cash offer, and if they like the offer, a receipt is written up and the customer is paid. They can even get a free estimate and take everything home to think it over.

“All jewellery is weighed and separated into 10, 14, 18 22kt gold and the offer made is based on the gold content,” explained Jones. “Coins are purchased based on their condition, demand and scarcity. Some modern coins with a mint error, mistake in making, can be worth more than a Roman Coin thousands of years old.”

The most interesting piece he ever came across, was a 1935 $25 Canadian bill, which brought the customer $950, as there were only 1,801 made.

Jones said he encourages everyone to clean out their drawers and bring in their broken windup watches, sterling silver or gold jewellery for free estimates and identifications.

Amherstburg celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday with awards, cake and fireworks



By Jolene Perron


The celebrations at Amherstburg’s Fort Malden National Park are always very much anticipated, however this year the addition of 150 CanDo Awards of Distinction attracted even more people to the waterfront to help celebrate Canada and all of the amazing people in our town who do greatness every day.

To kick off the opening ceremonies and awards portion of the celebration, Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo read a letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Dear Friends, I would like to congratulate everyone who is being presented with the CanDo 150 Award of Distinction. Volunteers are at the heart of healthy and resilient communities. They are ordinary people who every day accomplish extraordinary things. I would like to commend the 150 volunteers of Amherstburg who are being honored today for their valuable contributions. You are all remarkable individuals who have taken the time, energy and skill to supporting the health and well-being of your fellow citizens. You can take pride in knowing that your efforts have helped to build a better society for us all. Please accept my best wishes, Sincerely Justin Trudeau.”

The Canada 150 CanDo Medals of Distinction hang prior to the start of the July 1 ceremony.

The Canada 150 CanDo Medals of Distinction hang prior to the start of the July 1 ceremony.

DiCarlo explained how this anniversary marked a very special occasion, in that they are able to honor 150 volunteers and residents of Amherstburg with the CanDo Canada 150 Award of Distinction, which was broken down into three categories – Service, Leadership and Legacy.

“Each and every one of you have made a significant contribution for your fellow citizens and to your community,” said DiCarlo. “You exemplify our community values and you have made a definite difference in the town of Amherstburg.”

Fireworks erupt over the Detroit River at the conclusion of the Canada Day festivities.

Fireworks erupt over the Detroit River at the conclusion of the Canada Day festivities.

Special events support coordinator for the town of Amherstburg, Sarah Van Grinsven said the Canada D’eh run kicked off the day with record numbers, and they even estimated an additional nearly 5,000 people coming to Fort Malden July 1. Top that all off with gorgeous weather, despite a couple drops of rain, and it turned out to be a “gorgeous day to celebrate a gorgeous country.”

“It’s all work that is because we love this country and we love to help the town celebrate,” said Van Grinsven. “Reading the nominations and learning all the greatness that is in our community was just heartwarming and half the time when I was at my desk reading them I had tears in my eyes about how great people are. There is nothing better than this, it is crazy rewarding.”

Canada Day-25

Canada Day activities in Amherstburg proved to be a family affair for many in the area.

Amongst the award recipients was The House Youth Centre’s activities coordinator Rebecca Vander Vaart. She said as a peer support mentor, she believes in the program and the people who looked out for her as a teenager, so she has always wanted to be able to do that for other people.

“I think that leadership is sometimes getting your hands dirty, and helping out in the community,” said Vander Vaart. “It’s really exciting and I am just very honored to be sitting here with all of these other people that I admire and I look up to who are just movers and shakers in Amherstburg, and I’m excited that some people think I belong there.”

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.