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And the Bradford West Gwillimbury citizens of the year are...

Awards were presented for a variety of topics, including citizen of the year and athlete of the year

The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury recognizes the achievements of its seniors, youth, young athletes and volunteers on Canada Day, with the presentation of Civic Awards.

A piper and Bradford’s Royal Canada Legion Colour Party led dignitaries York-Simcoe MP Peter Van Loan and MPP Caroline Mulroney, Mayor Rob Keffer and council to the stage at the Bradford & District Memorial Community Centre for the Canada Day ceremony and awards presentation.

This year’s awards shone a light on some of the municipality’s more amazing residents.

Youth of the Year Award: Presented to Edie Wise, a five-year-old Chris Hadfield Public School student and a Hospital for Sick Children patient ambassador.

“She visits other kids to give them hope and happiness,” said Coun. Raj Sandhu, as he presented the award.

Volunteer Service Award: Awarded to Francine Grenon, who was recognized for her support of community organizations such as the Helping Hand Food Bank and Coats for Kids, but also for her annual campaign to recognize and thank veterans, making dozens of Thank You, Veterans signs that are displayed in store windows for Remembrance Day.

“She genuinely wants to make a difference,” said presenter Coun. Gary Lamb. “This is long overdue.”

Senior of the Year Award: Presented to Larry Weir, a long-time member of the Bond Head-Bradford Garden Club, and a good neighbour, who assists others in his community.

Weir, celebrating his 81st birthday on Canada Day, was presented with a card signed by all of council, and a gift, by Coun. Peter Dykie Jr.

Athlete of the Year Award: Presented to 10-year-old Luca Venditti, a young player with Juventus Academy Toronto chosen to compete in the under-11/under-12 soccer championships in Italy this year.

Luca, who started his soccer career in Bradford, joined 1,000 young athletes from 32 academies from around the world.

Sports Team of the Year Award: Awarded to the girls rugby team at Bradford District High School, and coach Debbie Kilfoyle, who brought back girls’ rugby after a hiatus of several years.

Organization of the Year: Given to the BWG Diversity Action Group, which has worked “since 2015 to bring awareness of the different voices in Bradford West Gwillimbury,” said Mayor Rob Keffer.

Through initiatives highlighting the LGBTQ community, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Black History Month, Holocaust Education Week, and an interactive map and Peace Tree, the group has worked to ensure that the town “is inclusive and informed of the variety of backgrounds, faiths, histories and individuals.”

Cultural Awareness Award: This new award was presented to Adriana McNeill Salinas, founder of The Latin Group (TLG).

Since 2016, TLG has organized community events and fundraisers, entered a multicultural float in the Sesquicentennial Parade last year, and has supported numerous flag raisings.

“Fellow members of our community are inspired by her commitment,” said presenter, Coun. Ron Orr.

Outstanding Achievement Award: Presented to Mike Giovanetti, president of the Bradford branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, for his initiative and leadership in the Veteran Banner Program, which saw 28 banners sponsored and displayed; and the organization of a new Orville Hand 37 Air Cadet Squadron, which is expected to be launched later this year.

“It is a pleasure to be here today to accept this award,” said Giovanetti, crediting fellow legion members with helping him achieving success.

Citizen of the Year Award: Presented jointly to Bob and Liz Pegg, owners of the Bradford Pet Valu for the past 21 years, and “key partners in our community,” said Deputy Mayor James Leduc.

The Peggs are members of the Bradford Lions Club, and have supported local humane societies and shelters, the Helping Hand Food Bank, the Lions and Dog Guides, among many other causes.

Little Edie Wise summed up the ceremony, as she took the mic after receiving her award: “Happy Canada Day!”

Miriam King

About the Author: Miriam King

Miriam King is a journalist and photographer with Bradford Today, covering news and events in Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil.
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