The Gleaner

Volunteer awards spotlight those who give back to their communities

The eighth edition of the annual awards ceremony highlighting the dedicated work of volunteers in the Haut-Saint-Laurent took place at the recreation centre in Saint-Antoine-Abbé on April 12.

Timed to take place just before the start of National Volunteer week, the theme for the evening was “Every Moment Matters,” which served to underline the significance of every volunteer and the important contributions that they make within our communities.

The event was co-hosted by Rémi Pelletier, the director of the CDC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, and Marlene Harvey, the coordinator of Melissa’s Sunshine Camp, and featured a presentation by comedian Chantal Fleury.

Salaberry-Suroît MP Claude DeBellefeuille was in attendance, as well as a representative for Huntingdon MNA Carole Mallette. Both deputies helped sponsor the evening’s awards, as did the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, the CDC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, Gosselin Courtiers, d’Assurances, Maison Russet, and the Caisse Desjardins du Haut-Saint-Laurent.


The nominees for the 2024 Haut Saint Laurent Volunteer Awards were honoured during a special ceremony that took place April 12 in Saint Antoine Abbé PHOTO Sarah Rennie


At least 50 individuals and two local businesses were nominated for awards in several categories including individual volunteering, family or group volunteering, and corporate volunteering.

Before announcing the names of this year’s honourees, jury member Pauline Wiedow, who is the executive director of the Montérégie West Community Network, noted how impressed the panel of judges was by the diversity and extent of the volunteer action taking place across in the region.

“As a result, difficult choices had to be made,” said Wiedow, while noting the judges were “keen to highlight practices that promote volunteerism, as well as actions carried out directly with individuals.”

The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Alain Castagner, the former mayor of Saint-Anicet and long-time volunteer with the S.A.B.E.C. organization. Castagner was also selected as the winner in the individual category for volunteers involved with a community-based organization or association. The award was presented by the evening’s honourary president Marie Myre, who was named the Haut-Saint-Laurent’s volunteer of the year for 2023.


Alain Castagner was presented with the Volunteer of the Year award by last years winner Marie Myre as well as Salaberry Suroît MP Claude DeBellefeuille PHOTO Sarah Rennie


Other winners included Ann Ednie, who was recognized for her work with the Franklin first responders in the category dedicated to volunteers involved with their municipality, and Shirley Stark, who was honoured for her 35 years of dedicated service to the Tender Loving Care musical therapy program at the Huntingdon Residential and Long-term Care Centre (CHSLD).

The award honouring those who volunteer as a family or group was presented to Colette Schinck and the tenants of Manoir St-Paul, while the winner of the award for business or corporate volunteering went to Huntingdon’s Maison Russet.

Finally, the jury presented two honourable mention awards to Monique Quesnel and Robert Legris, who were both nominated in the individual category for volunteers involved with a community-based organization or association.

A third special mention was presented to Amélia Rose Hutton and Josiane Riendeau for their work volunteering as a family or group.

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