Tim McAllister

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.

Ramsey continues tradition of serving Christmas meals at mission

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A Christmas Day tradition continued Christmas Day at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission as the riding’s Member of Parliament once again stopped by to help out.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey helped serve Christmas dinner to the crowd of approximately 35-40 people and it was something she said she continues to enjoy doing.

“For me, it’s just a way to give back to the community,” said Ramsey. “I’m appreciative of what everyone does at the mission. It’s all about helping them serve and catching up with everyone.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey helped serve Christmas Dinner at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission. From left: Lana Talbot, Ramsey, Gabrielle MacKinnon, Tim McAllister and Ted Laporte.

Ramsey said her family has a history of giving back, noting her grandparents’ involvement with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The spirit of giving has filtered through the generations with the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission also having a family connection, as Ramsey’s husband’s aunt Lana Talbot is a volunteer at the mission.

“It’s something we enjoy doing – giving back,” she said.

Christmas Day was not the first time Ramsey was at the mission in December, as she helped deliver canned goods and other food items there. The NDP MP explained that a “reverse advent” was held at her community office where people were encouraged to bring in cans or non-perishable food items daily with the proceeds going to a number of food banks and missions in the area.

“After the holidays are a tough time at food banks,” she explained. “We want to make sure their shelves are full.”

Ramsey said she is “amazed” at what happens at the mission as well as the other food banks in the area.

“All of the communities are so giving,” she said.

The mission is no stranger to having the local MP visit, as former MP Jeff Watson also made it a yearly tradition to come by the mission and help out on Christmas Day.

Tim McAllister, president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission’s board of directors, said they cooked six 22-pound turkeys as well as all of the trimmings for the Christmas celebration.

“It is a lot of work but we see the smiles, laughter and joy,” he said. “It’s worth giving up sleep to do it.”

McAllister said it was “a great Christmas” and that he calls it a “community dinner” as all the food was donated from various businesses and individuals.

“We didn’t have to go and buy anything for the meal,” he said. “The mission didn’t have to take money and buy anything. It is truly community based. Everything is donated. That makes us excited as we see the support from everyone.”

Anderdon Public School helps mission with thousands of food items

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Students, staff and parents from Anderdon Public School did their part to help the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission this holiday season.

While a final number has yet to be calculated, organizers of Anderdon Public’s annual can drive state they have broken their own record for goods collected. Randi Lamarche, who along with fellow Grade 7 teacher Lee Suchiu helped organize the can drive, said they collected 4,500 in 2016 and “we definitely broke that record” in 2017.

“We do this every year,” she said. “We had two weeks (to collect).”

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister stands with Anderdon Public School students after the local elementary school made a donation of over 4,500 cans and non-perishable food items.

Students, staff and parents unloaded the large trailer full of cans and non-perishable food items Friday afternoon in front of the mission. Volunteers from the mission helped unload the trailer and a steady flow of people carrying boxes and bags helped bring the food in for at least 20 minutes.

The Grade 7 classes alone brought in over 2,000 items, she stated.

“Our school is really caring,” said Lamarche. “We focus on kindness. It’s one of the big initiatives at our school. It’s something we work hard on every day.”

Anderdon Public School does many other fundraisers during the year, she added, with the can drive being one of their major events.

“We’re very lucky,” said Lamarche. “We have wonderful kids.”

Students from Anderdon Public School were busy unloading canned goods and non-perishable food items at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission Dec. 15.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister said it was a surprise to see so many canned goods and food items.

“It’s overwhelming to see the number of cans,” said McAllister. “It’s beyond my imagination. I can’t believe it.”

McAllister said Anderdon’s staff, students and parents went “all out” for the can drive and it was something the mission greatly appreciates.

“They blessed us so we can bless others,” he said. “I’m grateful.”

Seasons donates 100 turkeys to Mission in time for Christmas

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

At each of their properties across Canada, Seasons donated 100 turkeys to food banks and missions in their respective communities.

“This is a great day for the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission,” said Tim McAllister, president. “We are so very blessed that Seasons has chosen to donate 100 turkeys to us this holiday season. Their generous support has allowed us to continue serving our community and those in need. You have blessed us, and now we can share that blessing with others.”

Initially there was discussion about all the area Seasons donating their turkeys to the Windsor Essex County Food bank, but dining services manager at Seasons Amherstburg Beau Veldhuis explained each of the area Seasons wanted the opportunity to keep their donation in their respective communities.

“We try to help out whenever we can, if we’ve got things that we can bring over and help out, that’s what we try to do,” said Veldhuis. “There are plenty of needy families right here in Amherstburg, so we are all going to our individual missions and food banks to donate our turkeys.”

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister (left) and vice president Shirley Hitchcock (right) accepted a truck load of 100 turkeys from Beau Veldhuis (centre) on behalf Seasons, which launched a company-wide program to give back to their communities.

Shirley Hitchcock, vice president at the Mission said some of the turkeys will be cooked for the annual Christmas dinner, while others will be given to those who go to the Mission to receive assistance regularly. Those people, she said, know who they are.

“Everybody here knows. People that don’t need it in this area don’t ask for it and people that do need help that’s why we’re here so if they come and they need a turkey they’re having a turkey,” said Hitchcock. “When people have a number of children it’s easier for them to cook the turkeys at home and just get the trimmings to go with it.”

Seasons dropped off 100 turkeys to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission last Thursday afternoon as part of their company-wide program to give back to their communities.

Veldhuis, explained they worked with their grocery partner, Sysco Canada to work out a deal with them to be able to provide 100 turkeys to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission. All of the turkeys across all of the Seasons properties were donated to the area food banks and missions Dec. 14.

“It’s great to be able to help,” said Veldhuis. “I know it’s not me personally but it’s Seasons as a company that’s helping and it’s a great initiative so I hope we continue to do it because we sure can do it. I think we lose track of how many people are out there that need the help.”

Novice Majors donate pile of canned goods to Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission

 

By Jolene Perron

 

A group of Amherstburg Stars Novice Major travel team players took to the streets, knocked on doors and collected donations for the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission.

This is the first year the coaches came up with the fundraiser “Fill the Pantry.” Along with parent volunteers, the children canvassed the community for three hours in the morning Dec. 16. Head coach Jean-Marc Mongeau said they split the kids up into groups and sent them out to Boblo, Golfview, Kingsbridge and the Monopoly areas. They chose those areas because of how dense they were, so they had the ability to come back with more in a shorter period of time.

The Amherstburg Stars novice jajor travel team players spent three hours in the Amherstburg community Dec. 16 collected donations for the Amherstburg Food Bank.

“They were very, very welcoming, a lot of gifts were given, even clothes were donated and money as well so they were very welcoming to the kids,” said Mongeau. “One of the boys said it’s just so great to give back to the community, so the fact that at 8-years-old, they’re feeling that way is pretty neat.”

After the cans were collected, the children were treated to pizza at the Libro Centre, which was donated by Capri.

“We are very grateful for what happened today, with the coaches and the team putting together this food drive, it’s teaching the kids about people who are less fortunate than them and I am very grateful,” said Tim McAllister, president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission. “ When youteach the kids to give back and to help other people, that makes me happy and it’s what the mission is about – people helping people.”