Sarvarinder Singh Dohil - Guru Nanak Mission Society of London
Through his volunteer work with Guru Nanak Mission Society, where he currently serves as President, Sarvarinder has shown amazing leadership in helping his fellow Londoners.
He believes that no one should sleep hungry, and has worked to build partnerships with organizations across the City to serve meals to people in need, enlisting volunteers to help serve more than 500 meals in a single day at shelters around our community. He has also brought together London businesses to sponsor free pizza drives and other free meal drives in our community. Despite COVID-19 lockdowns, Sarvarinder continued to lead a strong team of volunteers to ensure they could keep providing hot meals for those in need.
Sarvarinder has also organized blood donation drives, tree planting, and more. He serves as an outstanding example for everyone who would like to make a difference in their community.
Jenn Gilbert - London Cycle Link.
In 2021, teacher Jenn Gilbert spearheaded Ride to Thrive, a cycling education period for grade 5 and 6 students. In that first year, Jenn was a hands-on volunteer every step of the way, to develop the idea, train instructors, and run early cycling camps, and now she supports staff and volunteers to keep the program running smoothly to provide equitable cycling education and promote active transportation.
As a champion for inclusivity in London, Jenn has also worked to build relationships with community groups to help share the benefits of cycling with everyone. That includes forming a strong partnership with the N’Amerind Frienship Centre, and taking steps toward reconciliation through her passion for cycling.
Jenn is an exceptional role model for the students and young people she works with, and for everyone who aspires to make a positive impact in our community.
Rick Gillespie - Oakridge Acres Optimist Club
Rick has a truly extraordinary record of service to our community through his work with the Optimist Club, where he has been a tireless volunteer for over 25 years. Rick has played a key role in the planning and execution of countless Optimist outreach programs, community events, and fundraising initiatives. He has a passion for golf and was instrumental in organizing the Oakridge Acres Charity Golf Tournament to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Southwestern Ontario, where he also helps to prepare and serve meals for families staying in our community to be with their children receiving treatment.
In addition to his work in Oakridge, Rick is a Lieutenant Governor for the district and leads initiatives that serve the entire city, including major sporting events held in London, such as the CP Open, the Canadian University/College golf championship, and Special Olympics.
Rick is a true friend to youth, and he has made London West a better place.
Margaret Hopkins - Old South Community Organization
Margaret is an environmental hero in Old South. Through many years of dedicated service to her community, she has shared her commitment to both social and environmental sustainability through numerous community events and projects.
As an active member of the Old South Community Organization, Margaret has been a key part of beloved events like Christmas in the Village, Gathering on the Green, and the Chili Cook-off. She also helped to build a more sustainable community through her participation in other activities, like planting a public herb garden, administering the local Buy Nothing / Sell Nothing group, offering a Little Free Library, coordinating an event for the National Day of Unplugging, and volunteering at the Coves.
Margaret is also recognized as a steadfast source of support for other community members, who are constantly inspired by her passion and commitment.
Wayne Howie - Byron Community Organization
Wayne is an active, committed and humble member of the Byron community. If you drive by his business, Byron Automotive, which has been in operation for 29 years, you’ll often see his sign board promoting local community activities and events.
Or he could be hosting a student-led fundraising car wash, offering free service packages to help young people learn how to maintain their own vehicles, or providing free tires and installation for a community member in need. Or perhaps you would notice his bicycle repair station, complete with common bike tools, an air pump and stand, set up for all to use, free of charge.
Wayne is often praised by members of his community as an outstanding example of compassion and positivity in action, and Byron is a better place because of his dedication and service.
Neil is a truly selfless member of our community. His family, like so many across Southwestern Ontario, has relied on the high quality health care services provided by the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre – with the tragic loss of their son Jacob in 2014, a year later when their six-day-old daughter Hadley was admitted to the pediatric critical care unit, and when their daughter Eleni needed emergency dental care.
Neil was motivated by his own family’s difficult times to give back and help more children and families access the same services that helped them. In 2017, he ran 132 km in 24 hours and raised over eight thousand dollars for the Children’s Health Foundation. In 2021, he set out to run 160 km in 30 hours through Neil’s Race for Kids, and raised another $11,000.
Neil’s dedication is bringing comfort and support to countless families dealing with the heartbreak of a gravely ill child.
Mary Morrice - London Cross Cultural Learner Centre
Since 2018, Mary has contributed over 250 volunteer hours to the CCLC’s Conversation Circles program since 2018. She designs engaging and informative weekly programs that invite newcomers to practice their English while meeting others. And she is always ready to offer help and support outside of the circle, too.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started and forced essentially every aspect of our lives online, Mary faced this challenge head-on: she embraced a new virtual format, continuing to lead two conversation circles each week, despite the chaos and uncertainty that COVID brought to our community.
Whether she is leading a circle, recruiting and training new volunteers, designing resources, or reaching out to clients, Mary exemplifies the dedication and passion that makes CCLC programs possible. Her welcoming spirit makes a positive difference for people building their lives here in London.
Kelli Norton - Girl Guides of Canada
Kelli is a dedicated member of the Girl Guides of Canada. She volunteers with several local Sparks, Brownies, Guides, and Pathfinder units. For several years, she has been the Contact Guider with the 120th London Brownie Unit, taking on the primary role in engaging members and their families throughout the year.
Despite the difficulties of COVID-19, Kelli has continued to find ways to connect with parents and girls to share her positivity and involve them in continued community outreach. She is always thinking of those in need in our community, and finding ways to give, from distributing warm socks and personal hygiene items to people facing homelessness, to rounding up new coats for those without, to sending a care note to someone who could use it.
Kelli is known for her selflessness and dedication, and she is an outstanding role model for her Girl Guides and all youth in our community.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Abe has been committed to using his expertise in community health to provide our community with reliable, trusted information, including participating in one of my telephone townhalls.
Abe is recognized for his work to end homelessness in our community. In 2020, Abe set out to complete 30 triathlons in 30 days to raise money for Atlohsa Family Healing Services, which provides emergency shelter, transition housing, and short-term resting spaces for people in our community. Every day for thirty days, Abe got up each morning to be at the YMCA pool by 6am, where he would complete a 750 metre swim, followed by a 20 kilometre bike ride, and finished with a 5 kilometre run. He was able to raise more than $16,000 to support Atlohsa.
Abe is deeply admired for his passion and dedication as an advocate for housing solutions in our community. Unfortunately, he was not able to join us this evening, but I look forward to presenting him with his award in person soon.
Tom has lived in London West for many years, and has been generous with his time throughout his entire life. He has made meaningful contributions to our community through his involvement with a range of local organizations, including the Rotary Club, Royal Canadian Legion, Barber Shoppers, the Westmount Presbyterian Church, and the Society for Learning in Retirement.
Among his many outstanding accomplishments, Thomas has made trips to Africa and India to support polio eradication efforts. As a teacher and principal for the Forest City Program, he helped develop special education programs in Ontario’s public school system.
Tom retired in 1992 and dedicates much of his time to volunteerism, remaining very active in both the London community and the global community. He has a passion for helping and is recognized by others as a friend to everyone. We are so fortunate to have him here in London West.
Megan Vandekerckhove - Coves Community Association
Although she is one of the newer members of the Coves Community Association, Megan has already made a big mark on the organization and her neighbourhood.
She is a committed organizer who is keen to involve local residents in fun and engaging activities to help build the strong sense of community that makes so many people love the Coves. For example, just last month, Megan led a Hot Chocolate and Cookies Pop Up event, bringing neighbours together to enjoy a free treat at East Coves Pond. She worked with local suppliers and sponsors, and collected donations to support the Friends of the Coves Subwatershed, and then donated extra hot cholate to the doctors and nurses at the Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.
Megan also donates a portion of the proceeds from her own business, Flamingo Bingo, to the Children’s Hospital through Extra Life United. She is known for always having a friendly hello for her neighbours while out walking her dog in the Coves.
Jane Walker - Old South Community Organization
Jane is described by OSCO as pillar of the Old South community. Her record of service to her community, and her constant willingness to lend a hand, is truly inspirational.
Jane has been a volunteer at the much-loved Gathering on the Green since its very first year, and continues to be involved as it enters its fortieth year. She has volunteered at the Home County festival for over thirty years. She is an ally in Circles London, a collaborative program that works to end poverty in our community, where she provides mentorship and genuine friendship to people who have been marginalized or overlooked in our community. And Jane is also an active volunteer at Wesley Knox Church where she has mentored many young Londoners through their youth program, and as a lead organizer for family-friendly outings to explore the outdoors.
Jane has truly been an invaluable volunteer in our community and touched many lives.
West London Minor Hockey Association
Many families in our community have benefitted from being a part of the West London Hawks, and an incredible amount of volunteer work goes into making each season happen. That was especially true during the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid ever-changing guidelines and restrictions, this board put in hundreds of hours to keep hockey a safe and fun reality for almost a thousand children and young adults in West London. For many board members, this turned into a full time volunteer effort, and without them, the hockey season could not have happened.
The board’s dedication to maintaining an enjoyable and inclusive atmosphere that has promoted both physical and mental wellbeing during the pandemic has made all the difference for the young people.
Board Members: Mike Anderson, Mark Annett, Lisa Boyce, Jeff Collins, Mark Flick, Chris Golem, Bruce Hayward, Jason Higgins, Sean Joiner, Chris Latour, John MacDougall, Brady Parr, Shawn Phibbs, Trisha Phibbs, Kendra Ramer, Mike Rivard, Kristie Roff