Alnwick-Haldimand Township Celebrates Canada Day with Parade and Special Awards

In Editor Choice, Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
The highlight of Sunday’s Alnwick-Haldimand Township Canada Day Celebration was the announcement of Gary Mossman as Citizen of the Year and Oliver Stanford as Junior Citizen of the Year.

Mossman’s contribution was visible at one of the display tables in the Haldimand Community Memorial Arena – “drafting, polishing, and editing and publishing Building A Township,” Town Crier Liam Cragg announced.

Released on Dec. 3, it is considered the definitive book on the township’s history, and the work behind it included research from Alderville First Nation and historical documents from across the country. This painstaking effort was made possible through Mossman’s talent and dedication.

Mossman accepted his award on behalf of the Heritage Alnwick-Haldimand Township Committee and acknowledged that June is Aboriginal History Month.

“All human history begins with Aboriginal history,” he declared.

Oliver was recognized as an exceptionally talented young artist whose Christmas project was also honoured at a ceremony at a township council meeting.

His talent came to the attention of an anonymous Grafton resident, who commissioned him to design five Christmas cards for a special project. The client digitized and copied the cards from the originals, and had Oliver sign and number them. Then this unnamed benefactor acted as a Secret Santa, distributing the cards at night to homes where they had taken the time to decorate for the holidays.

Four other citizens got “Outstanding” awards in different areas.

Outstanding Community Service – Lass & Ladle owner Terry Carruthers came through to make a solid difference to the community when it faced the challenge not only of a catastrophic Christmas snowstorm but a train derailment in Grafton as well. Her doors stayed open (when many other businesses understandably closed) just to ensure everyone from stranded travellers to busy Hydro One and CN workers were warm, sheltered and fed. She oversaw the effort, even reaching out on social media for help from community members. Her leadership in a time of need was noteworthy.
“Thank you to our entire community because, without everybody here coming together, we couldn’t have done what we did,” Carruthers said.

She listed the volunteers who came in to help in the kitchen, the community members who came through with extra pillows, blankets and bedding, the people who could make their way to grocery stores to purchase supplies.

“To all those people, to all this community, thank you – we did what we should do,” she said.

“It does take a village.”

Outstanding Community Spirit – Laura MacDonald is a fixture everywhere in the Grafton community, always offering a friendly welcome or a smile and a wave at a community lunch of at a local business. It shows her support for those who serve the community, while making everyone feel they hold an important place in it. She has also been recognized for her 25-year commitment to the St. Mary School Council.

Outstanding Achievement in the Arts – Grafton mosaic artist Anja Hertle has always been involved in the arts, from her background in interior design to her work in acrylics. But discovering mosaics was like an awakening. She has commissions from well beyond Grafton’s borders, and a favourite offering is recreating a family’s home in a mosaic from broken china, pottery, forks, buttons and bottle caps. Her studio on County Road 2 had become both a place where members of the community can drop off broken dishes and pottery as well as a studio where they learn more this special art for themselves. The studio is also the site of the annual Art Salad garden art show since 2018, attracting unique artisans (and visitors from near and far).

Outstanding Athletic Achievement – Gord Prentice has volunteered for decades with minor hockey, helping out whenever and wherever his children’s, grandchildren’s and other teams needed him. In this way, his own active lifestyle has played a big role in helping others in the community be more active through his coaching. And of course, his love of the game is another gift he has shared with younger generations.

Though Prentice was not present for his award, Mayor John Logel will make sure he receives it – along with the plaque he displayed for his 44 years of work for the township. Recently retired from the public-works department, Logel said, he is best known for his work behind a snowplow keeping township roads clean.

The final presentations were to outstanding contributions to the annual parade. A nine-year-old young lady named Charis was recognized for her stuffed animals, and a younger fellow named Gus got the nod for best-decorated bike.

As for best float, Grafton Green Thumbs took the honours.

Dignitaries in attendance for the celebration included Northumberland Warden Mandy Martin, with music by Michael Arthur Tremblay and a moment of thanksgiving from Rev. Helena Houldcroft (who wore an orange heart on her lapel to acknowledge the tragedies that have put us on the path to truth and reconciliation).

Looking ahead to 2024, Cragg said, “If you think someone has done something to make our community a better place, then you have a chance to let the selection committee know about it.”

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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