News Local

Mayor’s awards honour outstanding citizens

By Melissa Schilz, Postmedia Network

Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper released a list of 13 groups, families and individuals who are to be recognized at his annual Mayor’s Awards. (File photo)

Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper released a list of 13 groups, families and individuals who are to be recognized at his annual Mayor’s Awards. (File photo)

Thirteen groups, families and individuals will be formally honoured by Plympton Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper in February, following his annual release of extraordinary citizens who he believes deserve public recognition.

Napper said the luncheon is his way of providing recognizing those individuals and groups who may not be receiving the limelight they deserve.

Napper said the idea came to him five years ago when he realized there was so much good in area that wasn’t being acknowledged – he wanted to change that.

“We never honoured a lot of people,” he said. “There’s so many acts of kindness and people doing amazing things… I just want to give back and say thank you to some of these people.”

Napper said the list grows throughout the year, and he’s always making note of who should be included in the next round of awards. He said he always keeps his eyes open for good news stories that inspire him.

“They really help build a community and I think we’re very fortunate,” he said. “I always keep a running list.”

The task of selecting award winners is strictly done by Napper and his wife. He also picks up the cost for the event, with cost of admission being a donation to a selected group; this year it’s to the South Plympton School Closing Ceremony. He said it’s been his own personal project for Plympton-Wyoming, separate from council.

Among those on the list are Donanne Avery, a well-known woman who Napper said has “an infectious smile and a heart of gold; the Egg and Chicken Farmers of Lambton County, for their annual donations to the Inn of the Good Shepherd; and Alison Feniak, a teacher at Errol Village who was named Energy Educator of the Year in 2017.

“Donanne is just a super lady… so upbeat,” he said. “She makes a difference in the world, she really lifts people up.”

A local firefighter is also being recognized for his actions in saving an 84-year-old woman’s life at the Camlachie Community Centre. After suffering from a heart attack, Tony Uzonyi used his lifesaving skills, performing CPR and reviving the woman before she was taken to hospital. The woman died a few days later, but Napper said her family was grateful to have that extra time with her.

Napper said there a number of great things being done, and while people don’t do it for the awards, he enjoys sharing the positive stories that has made Plympton-Wyoming what it is.

“That’s what makes it so great out here in small town Ontario,” he said. “I don’t think we say thank you enough, so that’s why I do it.”

He hopes the tradition continues, even after he leaves office. He said he’s already started a list for next year’s award winners.

“Depending on the election, this could be the last [awards ceremony],” he said. “If I’m back, I’ll do it again… it’s a good day and I think people enjoy it.”



WHEN: Feb. 3 at 12 noon.

WHERE: Camlachie Community Centre

COST: A donation to the South Plympton School Closing Ceremony. Tickets available by calling 519-845-3939.



• Bruce Roane – In recognition of 56 years as a school bus driver and 36 years as a custodian at South Plympton School.

• Forest Silver Stick Committee – Earle Trevail Silver Stick Tournament – For 50 years of first class tournaments, prestigious events and dedications from countless volunteers and hockey players from the community.

• Donanne Avery – In recognition of her inspirations and work to make a difference in the community, and her tireless efforts to bring a smile and encouragement to everyone, most notably those going through rough times.

• Lambton Elderly Outreach Volunteers – For making a difference in the lives of the elderly through visits, rides and a number of other enriching programs.

• Egg Farmers of Lambton County – Chicken Farmers of Lambton County – for the yearly donations of 1250 dozen eggs and $6000 in chicken products to the Inn of the Good Shepherd.

• Hendra Family – Ian and Mandy Wright, Darryl and Karen Hendra – In honour of Don Hendra, his children organized a Horse Ball Tournament that raised $7,000 for St. Joseph’s Hospice.

• Tracey and Sean Cameron – Jen and Mike Vandervelde – For organizing a motorcycle run that raised money for a family member that required specialized surgery.

• Lady Luck Motorcycle Club – In honour of 65 years of service to the community, through annual toys for kids ride while promoting motorcycle safety.

• Errol Village School Council – In honour of a special fundraiser that raised dollars to replace a playground, naming it in honour of former student Corporal Brent Poland who died in Afghanistan. And for fulfilling dreams of late principal Nancy Swanstrom and creating a learning commons in her name for all students to enjoy.

• Alison Feniak – A teacher at Errol Village who was named Energy Educator of the Year in 2017 for her work in environmental education. This award led to $1,000 being given to the school which is to be used for an outdoor classroom.

• The Judith and Norman Alix Foundation – To recognize a generous donation made towards the Camlachie baseball diamond, as well as their willingness to give back to their community.

• Wyoming Lions Club – For being honoured with the Canada Sesquicentennial Award.

• Tony Uzonyi – For his heroic actions in saving a woman’s life on April 27, 2017. A Wyoming Station firefighter, Tony was at the Camlachie Community Centre when an 84-year-old woman began having a heart attack – he performed CPR on the woman, reviving her, and she was then taken to Bluewater Health in Sarnia. She died on May 5.