Special year for Order of Orillia
PATRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES A 2016 Order of Orillia recipient, Roy Menagh, being presented his medal by Mayor Steve Clarke and Betsy Gross, chair of city's commemorative awards committee, at an April ceremony.
One of Orillia's most prestigious awards could get a little more special this year.
The city's commemorative awards committee is seeking nominations for the 2017 Order of Orillia in a year that coincides with Orillia's and Canada's sesquicentennial.
“This year is going to be a little different because we knew the 150th was coming up and we wanted to make sure we were part of the activities,” committee chair Betsy Gross said, noting the final details are still being ironed out to determine how the award can be best represented as part of the ongoing anniversary celebrations.
“The actual program has not been finalized because there are so many events.”
Established in 2000, the Order of Orillia recognizes individuals and groups who dedicate their time and effort to bettering the community through volunteerism. The award is reserved for residents who have enriched the lives of others and who stand as shining examples in the community.
“One of the criteria is you must be active for 10 years or more as a volunteer," Gross said, pointing out anybody who lives in the city realizes how strong the volunteer spirit is, making it all the more impressive to be recognized.
“Orillia is one of the most caring communities I have ever seen, and people deserve our thanks and gratitude.”
The committee welcomes nominations in three categories (individual, group and youth), but Gross said the three winners don't necessarily have to come from each category.
“There's no distinction,” she added. “We don't have to have one from each category.”
Unlike the city's Hall of Fame awards, which can feature breaks between inductions, the Order of Orillia is handed out annually.
“The Order of Orillia is very significant and the people who have received it are excited to receive it,” Gross said, noting the five-person selection committee assesses nominations each year, then forwards its shortlist to city council.
“It's a way of saying 'thank you' to the many, many volunteers in Orillia.”
Since its inception, the honour has been presented to community members such as Kate Palmer, Betty Nosworthy, Ken Lee and Scouts Canada. Last year, Jim Campbell, Ken Forbes and Roy Menagh were honoured for their work in the community.
The nomination period for this year's award closes Feb. 3.
The honours will again be officially presented at a council meeting.
“We present them there because it's televised on Rogers,” she said. “We're looking forward to making it a little bit special because it's the 150th and we hope people will get their nominations in before the deadline.”