Westwold, British Columbia
Farmer Joanne Beltrametti is committed to instilling animal husbandry skills and a love of farming in the next generation. Through the Pritchard 4-H Club, she helps youth gain self-confidence while teaching them to care for their own animals and raise quality livestock. She puts in long hours, both on the road travelling between farms, and behind the scenes, planning field training and preparing for judged events. She is also known in the broader community for her unflagging energy and her pride in a job well done.
Eleven years ago, Daniel Benlolo founded the Tamir Neshama Choir as a way for developmentally challenged adults of all faiths to express themselves through song and dance. Under his leadership, the choir has performed across Canada and in Israel. Mr. Benlolo is a cantor at the Beth Shalom synagogue, and shares his time and vocal talents with Jewish and interfaith communities in Ottawa.
At eight years of age, Justin Bessette became a spokesperson for Hema-Quebec. Living with an illness that requires frequent blood transfusions, he has raised public awareness of the importance of giving blood, inspiring numerous others to do the same. He has also helped to improve the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre waiting room through his fundraising efforts.
As a young man, Wain Birch taught in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Saskatchewan. When he returned to his home province after a career in banking, he applied his grassroots values to community service. As executive director of the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation for nearly 12 years, he has helped to build regional and national partnerships with the aim of mobilizing sustained support for local charities.
For over 30 years, Michel Cote has been volunteering in his community. He is a founding member of the Rockland Housing Corporation, which advocates for seniors and persons with a disability. He is also an active member of the Knights of Columbus, the Royal Canadian Legion and the Optimist Club, and he supports several community and sport activities in his region.
Ross Findlater has worked tirelessly in support of those affected by poverty, mental illness or homelessness. He has been a major force behind the creation of several charitable organizations in Yukon, notably the Whitehorse United Way, the Yukon Volunteer Bureau and the Whitehorse Community Gardens. On a personal level, he is known as someone people can turn to when they need help.
Kensington, Prince Edward Island
Carolyn Francis is committed to connecting her province with people in developing countries. As an educator, she has been closely involved in exchanges between Canada and Uganda that help girls stay in school, as well as a twinning program that links schools in Kenya with those in Prince Edward Island. She also served on the board of the Kensington Recreational Association and Camp Abegweit.
For 30 years, Vera Gara has spoken with students and adults about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor. She courageously retells her story to remind her audiences of the value of our civic and human rights. She was also instrumental in the establishment of the Raoul Wallenberg Park, in Ottawa, and has volunteered at the Ottawa Hospital for many years.
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