Insurance Bureau of Canada Community Award in Memory of Mary Knowles
2014 Insurance Bureau of Canada Community Award
in Memory of Mary Knowles
Recipient Pamela Steel, Regional General Manager,
Metroland Muskoka Region
Pamela Steel epitomizes volunteerism. She is a familiar face within Muskoka, working as regional news editor for three newspapers; the Gravenhurst Banner, Bracebridge Examiner and Huntsville Forester. She frequently attends fundraisers and events throughout the district, and is constantly giving her time and effort to better the lives of others.
At the top of her volunteer contributions is the Community YWCA of Muskoka. Pamela serves as President of the organization and strongly believes in fostering positive change for women and girls. Her focus is on poverty, social isolation particularly for seniors and rural women, and violence against women. She encourages board participation, drives the strategic vision and spearheads numerous fundraising activities and events, including a Lake Muskoka Cruise. She recently participated on a panel during the YWCA of Canada Young Women's National Leadership Summit and spoke to 120 young women.
"She is a fun, engaging, passionate presenter who believes in the importance of providing young women with great mentors and inspiring them to use their voices to speak and write about issues important to them," said Hannah Lin, Executive Director of YWCA Muskoka.
Some of the additional contributions Pamela has made include seven years as Chair of the Utterson Community Club Soccer League and four years as board member of Muskoka Family Focus, a charitable organization supporting the needs of all families with young children. In addition she has helped raise money for the Kelly Shires Breast Cancer Snow Run Gala and participated in the Wasan Island Smart and Caring Community Symposium last year. She also recently joined students as a We Day chaperone and attended a conference for community leaders hosted by the Muskoka Community Foundation.
After learning about the financial struggles of the Gravenhurst Supper Club, an organization providing meals to those less fortunate, Pamela was quick to help. She rallied support of the community newspapers and managed to solicit enough contributions for the club to continue with its efforts.
"The secret to happiness, I believe, is gratitude and compassion," said Pamela. "Volunteering allows me to embrace both."
Pamela is an industry leader and community role model, which is why the Ontario Community Newspapers Foundation (OCNF) is proud to recognize her with the 2014 Insurance Bureau of Canada Community Award in Memory of Mary Knowles.
She will be invited to accept her award during the OCNA BNC Awards Gala on Friday, May 22 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.
The Award is coordinated by the OCNF, with generous support of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). Together, we are committed to recognizing dedicated newspaper employees who are constantly making a difference within their communities. Mary Knowles was a dedicated newspaper employee and active community member who died from breast cancer in 1996.
Congratulations to Pamela and all of the nominees for showing strong leadership and connections to your communities.
2013 Insurance Bureau of Canada Community Award
in Memory of Mary Knowles
Recipient Linda Plumridge, Comptroller, Fort Frances Times
Linda has spent nearly her entire life surrounded by newspapers. Her involvement with the Fort Frances Times began 50 years ago, after her brothers Don and Jim Cumming decided they wanted to take on the largest carrier route and signed up every home in a new subdivision. They later announced to Linda, who was seven at the time, that she would be the lucky one to deliver those papers. Without hesitation, she took on the role and spent three years as a carrier.
In 1970, with both parents employed at their family-owned newspaper, she began working the front counter after school. In 1976 she became a full-time employee with the Fort Frances Times as accountant and comptroller and has served the company since.
Despite her dedication to the newspaper and printing business, Linda manages to volunteer with various initiatives within her community. In fact, her contributions date back to 1976 and to this day she still dedicates her time to bettering the Rainy River District and Fort Frances community. The Cumming family instills a culture of volunteerism within their organization.
Since 1976 she has been a Beta Sigma Phi member, helping to coordinate the Daffodil Drive for the Canadian Cancer Society across the Rainy River District. She volunteers with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship as a member of the board of directors. She helped raise $750,000 to build a new public library and participated in a drive of the Riverside Foundation which raised $650,000 to install a new digital Mammography Unit in Fort Frances. She has been a member of the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition since 1994.
She is the current president of the Safe Communities Rainy River District and helped bring the World Health Organization Conference to the Rainy River in 2002, when the Rainy River District was recognized as a ‘World Health Safe Community'. In addition, she became the co-chair of the Diversity Committee and maintains that position today. Finally, Linda was as a member on the board of directors of OCNA from 2003 until 2009 and served as treasurer.
Linda is always prepared and willing to step forward, provide leadership, share ideas and go the extra mile to accomplish growth and success.
Both her current volunteer work with the Diversity Committee and the Safety Coalition occupy a minimum of 1.5 days a week. However, with her hard work and effort, playgrounds are safer in that they are inspected monthly. Curb eases have been installed on all corners where curbs exist. The number of recorded incidences of falls with seniors has declined. In addition, a methadone treatment facility has been created in Fort France to deal with drug abuse.
Generally, Linda prefers to applaud the hard work of others and chooses not to receive any accolades for her efforts. However, everyone deserves recognition once in a while, which is why OCNA is proud to recognize Linda with the 2013 Insurance Bureau of Canada Community Award in Memory of Mary Knowles.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada Community Award in Memory of Mary Knowles is coordinated by the Ontario Community Newspapers Foundation. It wishes to recognize those in the community newspaper business who contribute their own time to the betterment of their communities. The award also recognizes the intimate connection community newspapers have with their communities.
Mary Knowles was a dedicated newspaper employee and active community member who died from breast cancer in 1996.
Congratulations to Linda and all of this year's nominees for showing such leadership and dedication to your communities.
IBC and OCNA Team Up to Support Community Service
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) announced the Insurance Bureau of Canada Community Award in Memory of Mary Knowles.
"IBC and its members have a proud history of working locally to make a difference, and partnering with OCNA is a great way to support those individuals who make outstanding contributions to better their communities," says Ralph Palumbo, Vice President, Ontario, IBC.
The Mary Knowles Award was created in memory of Mary Knowles, a dedicated newspaper employee and active community member who died from breast cancer in 1996. This award recognizes both the contributions of individual newspaper employees and the intimate connection community newspapers have with their communities.
"We are pleased IBC is committed to recognizing local heroes with this important community service award," said Anne Lannan, OCNA's Executive Director. "Community newspapers create strong communities across this province because of their intimate connection with local groups, businesses and government. Dedicated newspaper employees make it happen."
2012 Mary Knowles Award Winner
Gerry Harvieux, Editor, Tilbury Times
Work for a cause - not for applause. Live life to express - not to impress. Don't strive to make your presence noticed - just make your absence felt. These are the words written on a sign that hangs above Gerry Harvieux's desk. Not only are they the words he lives by; they are also perfect words to represent who Gerry is as a person.
Gerry is currently the editor of the Tilbury Times, a position he has held on and off for a combined total of 14 years. His career with the newspaper industry, however, began in 1985 when he was hired for his first reporter position at the Wallaceburg Courier Press. Later he was hired with the Tilbury Times and has served as editor three times, under four different owners. His name has become synonymous with the newspaper in the community.
It's evident that Gerry is as passionate for the newspaper as he is for his community, a place he has called home for more than 40 years.
Gerry has been an active volunteer in his community for roughly 30 years. He has chaired various projects, lends a hand to others when necessary and is always willing to do whatever he can to make Tilbury the best it can be.
One of Gerry's most notable involvements includes the Tilbury Family Funfest. In 2009, when he first hopped on board, the long-standing event was dying. Over the years, Gerry has helped the event's sponsorship grow from $5,000 to an amazing $40,000. An event that once drew 1,000 guests, now welcomes more than 5,000 over the course of three days.
In 2011, while covering a Tilbury Chamber of Commerce meeting, Gerry was upset when he learned the group had no financial support to continue the annual Santa Claus Parade. It was then that Gerry stepped forward and offered his time to organize the parade, promising he would find the funds to continue. Since then this event has grown and with the help of his constant promotion in the newspaper, groups who had not been involved for more than a decade, have begun to participate again.
Despite all other commitments, Gerry is an active member of the Tilbury Rotary Club and works to promote their image and projects in the community. He helps provide poster and billboard designs and marketing advice to the Tilbury Drug Awareness Team. In the past he has served as a member of the Tilbury Optimist Club, the Tilbury Minor Hockey Association's Executive Board and has volunteered with the Tilbury Youth Centre.
Gerry has served as a volunteer judge for the OCNA Better Newspaper Competition and the OCNA Junior Citizen of the Year Awards.
Gerry is always willing to help those in need. He is not one to turn the spotlight on himself. Instead, he prefers to downplay his efforts and focus the attention on those who helped him accomplish the various projects.
The Mary Knowles Award is coordinated by the Ontario Community Newspapers Foundation. It wishes to recognize those in the community newspaper business who contribute their own time to the betterment of their communities. The award also recognizes the intimate connection community newspapers have with their communities.
Congratulations to Gerry and all of this year's nominees for showing such leadership and dedication to your communities.