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LEO honours its volunteers

By John Phair

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey congratulates Bev and Jim Maitland at the LEO volunteer appreciation banquet. Maitland has volunteered for LEO’s Meals on Wheels program for more than 20 years. John Phair/Special to The Topic

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey congratulates Bev and Jim Maitland at the LEO volunteer appreciation banquet. Maitland has volunteered for LEO’s Meals on Wheels program for more than 20 years. John Phair/Special to The Topic

Lambton Elderly Outreach (LEO) honoured more than 100 dedicated volunteers at its annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet, held April 24 at the Wyoming Legion hall.

Founded in 1970, LEO provides community support services across Lambton County for seniors and adults with disabilities. These services include homecare support services, Meals on Wheels, transportation services, friendly visiting, dinner and grocery shopping programs.

“We can’t say how much we appreciate what our volunteers have done for this organization,” said LEO’s CEO Bill Yurchuk. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

He noted that the organization’s latest venture was to take over operation of the annual Seniors Cruise on the Duc D’ Orleans, which has been operated by various community groups for the past 39 years.

“In its 40th year it was going to be cancelled and as an organization we just couldn’t see that happen,” he said.

“We stepped up to accept that challenge and will continue to lead that event, which takes place this year on June 25.”

Bringing greetings from Sarnia city council were councilors Brian White and Anne Marie Gillis.

Speaking on behalf of Lambton County Warden Bill Weber were Deputy Warden and Petrolia Mayor John McCharles.

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of any community and without them there would be no community,” said McCharles.

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey brought greetings on behalf of the Ontario Legislature and noted that because of the efforts of LEO volunteers many seniors were able to remain in their own homes, which is a benefit to not only them but also to the Health Care system and the community.

Mayor Lonnie Napper welcomed everyone to Plympton-Wyoming and said he was honoured to recognize a number of LEO volunteers in his community this year by including them on the Mayor’s Honour Roll.

He noted that the criteria for inclusion on the honour roll was to make a difference in the community and in people’s lives.

“LEO’s volunteers have certainly done that, I see their services being used every day,” he said.

Among the nearly 120 volunteers recognized were several who had reached certain milestones.

Recognized for 20 years service were Dina Bongers and Lorne Johnson; recognized for 10 years service was Donna Cain, Elaine Coleman and Lawrence Coleman; five years service included Thomas Lethridge, Linda Parnham and Jessica White.

Among the many door prizes contributed was a $300 travel voucher from VIA Rail, won by volunteer transportation driver Mario Domingo of Watford.