On December 19, 2017 Mayor Drew Dilkens recognized 27 groups and individuals by presenting them with Celebrating 2017 Mayor’s Awards.

Mayor’s Accessibility Award – Autism Services Inc. of Windsor & Essex County

ASI supports and advocates for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders to enable them to reach their maximum potential within their community. ASI has been helping local families and individuals since 1984 when Bruce Awad first created a specialized Summer Program for children and adolescents with autism. This program, named for its founder, has benefitted not only those enrolled, but also their families and caregivers by providing a safe, fun and educational place to go in the summer months.

The Bruce Awad Summer Program has helped change the lives of countless families over the past three decades. In addition to running their one of a kind camp, Autism Services Inc has grown to be one of the most recognized service groups supporting families with their community partnerships, Resource Lending Library, Workshops and Services.

As one nominator declared, “the roar of this passionate group of people is making a lifelong impact on our community.”

Mayor’s Athletics & Recreation Award – Austin Roth

Austin is a former University of Windsor track and field athlete, and human kinetics student. His many nominations tell us that he has been valued as a team player, mentor, coach and friend.

While at the University Austin was very involved in supporting the upcoming Lancer Sport and Recreation Centre. Austin worked tirelessly to ensure the project would be approved in order to create a facility that would leave a lasting impact on the community.

Austin has also worked locally as a track and field coach, both at the university and at local high schools. He has affectionately been called the Track and Field Santa Claus because of his generosity. When he noticed that a student didn’t have proper track and field attire, he took it upon himself to collect new and gently used items for them.

Austin’s passion for athletics, but also his dedication to coaching others and making sports accessible to everyone, has earned him the Athletics & Recreation Award.

Mayor’s Arts Award (individual) – Jolie Inthavong
Jolie has been active in the local arts community for over 14 years.

She has volunteered with many of Windsor’s arts organizations including Artcite Inc., The Visual Arts Society at the University of Windsor, and the Media City Film Festival just to name a few. Jolie is currently a member of Orientation, a group of women of Asian heritage who address issues of cultural identity through their art practices.

Jolie is involved with the Comic Book Syndicate, a TV show & web series about comic books and has helped build the Comic Book Syndicon, which saw over 1,000 participants at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts this year.  She also serves as the president of Arts Council Windsor & Region where her staff tell us she has helped to build a solid foundation for them –  to think creatively and build on their successes.

Jolie Inthavong is a wonderful representative for those that make art a priority for this community.

Mayor’s Arts Award (group) – Windsor Light Music Theatre

‘Windsor Light’ as it is known was founded in 1948 as Windsor Light Opera by Dr. John Watson with the goal of presenting musical theatre to the Windsor-Essex area.

For the past 69 years, Windsor Light has executed high quality Broadway-style performances such as Titanic, The Wizard of Oz and most recently, Mama Mia.

‘Windsor Light’ has been run entirely by volunteers with a strong love for theatre. In addition to their two full-scale performances each year, they host a summer youth camp and youth theatre programs. Windsor Light has shared their art with our community for nearly seven decades. Shows that have made us laugh, cry, sing and create memorable theatre experiences for multiple generations.

Every show has a ripple effect on Windsor in such a positive way from cast, crew, promoters, and audience members to aspiring performers and more. Knowing the impact of nearly 70 years is difficult to measure but it is certainly deserving of recognition.

Mayor’s Champion of the Environment Award – Anne Widholm

The recipient of this award has silently served our community for years, protecting our environment as part of her daily routine. Her name is Anne Widholm and her devotion only came to light when she was the victim of an attack just a few months ago.

Every morning Anne has walked the Ganatchio Trail visiting with friends, greeting neighbours and collecting litter along the way. Anne was attacked during her daily walk, clearing the trail she loves so much. What happened to Anne shook our community to its core. Hundreds attended a rally at the Ganatchio Trail to share stories about Anne and show support for her, and her family.

It wasn’t until that moment that everyone realized the impact one person can make on the environment and the community around them.  While most didn’t know Anne by name, some had never seen or met her, but they knew the trail was always clean – and now they know why.

Anne Widholm is a true champion of our environment and a beloved member of our community. We still pray that Anne will return to the trail she’s cared for.

Mayor’s Civic Booster Award – Gale Carter

Gale’s friends describe her as an energizer bunny- and when you hear the list of organizations, committees and groups she’s involved with, it’s hard to disagree.

They include: Northstar Cultural Community Centre, All Saints Church, Canterbury College, the Downtown Residents Association, Downtown Windsor Community Collaborative, Great Adventures Tours, Chimzuk Museum, Open Streets, Windsor Regional Hospital, and so many more.

Gale very literally dedicates her time to making Windsor a great place to live. She makes it her business to preserve the culture of the region and share her knowledge of the people, places and history of our community.

If you attend a community event, you’ll see Gale. If you’re out walking, you’ll see Gale. She somehow manages to have her hand in everything and is always eager to contribute. Not just now – but always. In fact, she’s been at it for so long, that we honestly can’t remember a time when she wasn’t.

Mayor’s Civic Booster Youth Award – Olivia Lefaive

The recipient of the Youth Civic Booster Award is Olivia Lefaive. Olivia loves her community so much that she sang ‘happy birthday’ to Windsor on the local news. She has also helped fill water balloons for an event at the Ronald McDonald House, and she has served food at Street Help Homeless Shelter.

At her school, Olivia challenged her principal to raise more money than her for the Terry Fox Walk.  No surprise – Olivia won. The surprise was that when she received her reward – an iPad – she immediately gifted to another student, since she already had one at home.

Olivia has undoubtedly already made a positive impact on Windsor and still has so much to offer our city. Why is that you ask? Because she’s only six years old.

Mayor’s Diversity Award – Heather Mantle

Heather Mantle served as the executive director of Matthew House Windsor, a refugee welcome centre, for almost a decade.  She helped provide housing, access to settlement services, and acted as a voice for refugee claimants new to Windsor.

She advocated for every family’s health care and often accompanied them to doctor’s appointments. Heather organized furniture drives to ensure each family had the basics for their homes as they started their lives in Windsor. Sofas, beds, appliances – the simple things each of us takes for granted. But for a family arriving with nothing more than a small suitcase, these items are luxuries.

Heather’s perseverance in collecting furniture for our new families led to the creation of the Windsor Furniture Bank which now serves many families on an ongoing basis. Heather recently retired but continues to volunteer by making welcome baskets for families and helping to host a Christmas dinner for refugees at Grace Baptist Church.

Helping people have a successful start in Windsor is clearly a life’s mission for Heather. She has been the smiling first face for people that arrive in Windsor hoping for a new and better life.

Mayor’s Education Award – Philip Laurie
Philip has been a volunteer with Junior Achievement, the largest youth business education organization in Canada, for the past four years.

Junior Achievement works in partnership with school boards, educators, volunteers and businesses to educate students about financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Phil has given his personal time to educating local youth in an after school program where local business owners mentor high school students on how to run their own business.

He teaches his students with enthusiasm, and is quick to offer additional assistance. We’re told his passion for educating is contagious as he continually finds new ways to inspire the participating youth.

In addition to mentoring once a week, he also sits on the advisory council, helping to ensure the Windsor area gets the best Junior Achievement program possible. For young people aspiring to own businesses, this one on one with an adult is so valuable. Having someone validate a young person’s goals and mentor them for their future is something that cannot be taught in a classroom.

Were it not for volunteers like Philip – these students would never receive this kind of acknowledgement and encouragement.  Philip’s time and dedication builds confidence in young people and contributes immensely to the next generation of Windsor business owners.

Mayor’s Good Neighbour Award and – Patricia Carter

For 22 years, Patricia Carter has been the backbone of Charlevoix street, and as some describe, the neighbourhood ‘mom’.

She has taken it upon herself to keep a watchful eye on the younger children at play, making sure they are safe and out of harm’s way. She’s also the voice of reason for the older children reminding them to respect their community and the people that live in it. Patricia organizes the annual neighbourhood party, plans mulching days to help beautify the street, and watches neighbours’ pets when they travel.

The neighbourhood was once home to Thelma Gerrard. Thelma moved onto the street in 1964 so her neighbourhood was more than just a place to live, it was her family. As Thelma got older, Patricia began looking out for her, making sure her driveway was cleared of snow and her lawn was cut. Patricia helped with errands and provided extra care when Thelma was ill. When Thelma moved into assisted living, Patricia would organize group walks to Huron Lodge. She wanted Thelma to feel like she was still part of the neighbourhood.

We’re told Patricia doesn’t think she’s doing anything special, but going that extra mile for our neighbours helps to create connection, and connections lead to a rich, caring, and strong community.

Mayor’s Healthy Community Award – Dr. Sarah Woodruff Atkinson
Sarah is a professor of human kinetics at the University of Windsor.

She is one of the leading researchers with the Physical Activity and Cardio respiratory Lab and has conducted and published research on the nutritional status, body composition and eating behaviours of children and adolescents.

She has been involved with various health organizations including Go For Health, WEC Sport Council, the Campus Community Garden Project, the Heart & Stroke Community Mission Team, Leadership Advancement for Women and Sport and Girls in Motion. Girls in Motion is a one day event for grade 10 girls across Windsor-Essex County. They’re taught to stay active, eat nutritiously and the importance of caring for their mental health.

Sarah is also the current president of the board of directors of the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association. Through her work and volunteerism, Sarah has promoted community health and wellness. She has dedicated her time to improving and enhancing the overall health of people living in our community.

Her nominator called her an “ambassador” for health and ger resume of work in educating our citizens on healthy living is incredibly impressive.  She truly cares about the health of our community which is incredibly valued and appreciated.

Dr. Sarah Woodruff Atkinson is a wonderful example of how each of us can contribute to our community in a positive way.

Mayor’s Heritage Award (small) – Hour-a-Day Study Club

In 1934 a group of women met to organize a Mother’s Club for Black Women. The club’s main purpose was to mould the character of their children into the best possible citizens; an ‘hour a day’ for growth and development of the mind.

It became known as the Hour-a-Day Study Club and 83 years later a small group of women have continued to promote community involvement and higher education for its members.

The Hour-a-Day Study Club is one of the oldest black women’s groups in Canada and as a non-profit organization, helps to provide scholarships and bursaries to descendants of the Underground Railroad, right here in Windsor.

Without any contributions from government organizations or private sponsors, the women of the club work hard to raise funds to financially support their students. Through wars, depression, difficult times in our city’s history and good times in our city’s history, this group of women have made preserving culture and educating young people a mission.

What they didn’t realize was that by creating generations of good citizens, they themselves became part of our history. In teaching heritage, they became an important part of ours.

Mayor’s Heritage Award (large) – University of Windsor.

The University of Windsor has been a part of our community since 1857 when the first students arrived to study at Assumption College. In the past 160 years the university has continued to grow and expand, bringing great talent and learning opportunities to our city.

In 2011 they announced plans to expand their campus into the downtown core by moving into three historic buildings: the Armouries, the former Greyhound bus depot, and the former Windsor Star building. These buildings are all important pieces of our city’s history – and the university is not only bringing them back to life, but they are providing an opportunity to fill our downtown with lively students, professors and staff.

By repurposing these buildings rather than tearing them down and building something new, Windsor is able to preserve significant parts of our history and heritage, while still advancing and moving forward.

The University is a great leader in taking bold steps to preserve culture and respect our city’s past. They recently opened the new Turtle Island Walk, a pedestrian thoroughfare on campus named in recognition of the First Nations history of the land that the campus sits on.

The University’s work in preserving the heritage of our city will benefit many for years to come over the years. Future generations of students and citizens will look back on this time and remember the decisions made that protected historic buildings and contributed to the beauty and development of our downtown core.

Mayor’s Innovation Award – Dr. Siyaram Pandey

Dr. Pandey is a chemistry professor at the University of Windsor. He was president of the Natural Healthy Product Research society of Canada and is currently the Founder director and Chief Scientific Officer of Windsor Botanical Therapeutics Inc.

He is known for leading the cutting-edge discovery of the revolutionary dandelion root natural cancer treatment program which is in clinical trial for blood born cancers like leukemia. Dandelion root has already killed cancer cells in lab tests. The possibilities are inspiring.

Dr. Pandey has been quoted as hoping to make Windsor “a hub for natural disease fighting remedies”. If anyone can make this dream a reality, it’s Dr. Pandey.

The ground breaking research being conducted by Dr. Pandey and his team has already brought recognition to Windsor and we are excited to see what comes next.

Mayor’s Inspiration Award – Charlotte Watkins

At 84 years young Charlotte has been, and continues to be, a source of inspiration to everyone around her.

First though, a bit of amazing history: Charlotte is the great-great-granddaughter of Carolyn Quarreles, the first runaway slave to arrive in the area through the Underground Railroad. Carolyn arrived in Windsor in 1840 and married Arthur Watkins, after whom Watkins Street in Sandwich Towne is named. Charlotte Watkins lives in the same house she was born in, on the same property, on Watkins Street.

A talented singer and musician, Charlotte had the opportunity to train at the Julliard School of Music. Instead, she returned to her home in Windsor to raise a family. She also went on to perform on radio and television, and in local productions with Windsor Light Opera.

She opened a music school in Windsor and has taught countless numbers of students throughout the years, often times without pay when the families couldn’t afford lessons. Her love for sharing music was always more important than making money.

Over the years, Charlotte has purchased books, school clothes, coats and boots for children in need. She was also the first to offer money for gas or groceries if she felt a family was in need. Charlotte has not only inspired generations of musicians and students, she is a selfless member of our community.

It’s difficult to imagine how many lives she has impacted, and how many owe their confidence, success and compassion to a wonderful lady that lived on Watkins Street in Windsor.

Mayor’s Mentorship Award – Mike Lepine

Mike is a beloved and trusted member of our local military community – the guy everyone turns to and everyone needs.

Through the Windsor Veterans Memorial Service Committee Mike supports Windsor Essex County community veterans, military families, and the Canadian Armed Forces. He has taken a leadership role in mentoring Windsor’s youth on the importance of our veterans and peacekeepers.

Mike has made it his life’s work to educate youth on the value of our Canadian democracy and the importance of remembrance. His devotion to teaching another generation respect for all of those that serve, has been his greatest gift to our community.

If mentoring our youth wasn’t enough, Mike is also the first person troubled veterans are referred to for help. Mike is always willing to assist a veteran in need. He cares for each with compassion, often finding ways to raise funds for those going through a difficult time. He mentors these soldiers and assists them in their transition back to civilian life.

His kindness and quiet devotion to mentoring local youth and guiding veterans is incredibly inspiring. He has made a difference in many lives – a contribution that deserves to be recognized.

Mayor’s Outstanding Fundraising Award – Liz Nehme

In 2014 Liz Nehme started an event called ‘the Superhero Takeover’ as a way to show her children the importance of community service. The event raised $12,000, which Liz’s family donated to Cystic Fibrosis after determining there was a lack of funds being donated to this local organization.

The event has continued to grow over the past four years, selling out of tickets and raising $23,000 in 2017. Liz’s attention to detail and care for each and every person who attends, is the reason her events are such a success.

Over the past two years, Liz and her family have struggled as her son Joey began to have seizures at night.  With many sleepless nights and constant worry for her son, Liz could have made the choice to put the event on hold to focus on her family.

Instead, decided to continue with the Superhero Takeover with a new mission ahead: her 2018 event funds will benefit local families dealing with epilepsy. Funds will support transportation to London for care, as well as for the purchase of anti-suffocation pillows and monitors for epileptic children while sleeping.

If it was Liz’s intent to show her children the importance of service, she couldn’t be a better role model. Liz works full time, cares for her family, yet always makes fundraising for this community a priority and a part of her life.

Mayor’s Outstanding Youth 13 and Under Award – Alison Stamatiadis & Grace Bornais

While most 13 year olds spent last summer in the pool or downloading Apps, Alison Stamatiadis and Grace Bornais spent their school break collecting items for a garage sale.

When they were done, they held an inspiring garage sale. Together they set up books, clothes, DVDs, household items and more on their driveway and prepared for a crowd. They asked shoppers to make donations, rather than pricing items individually. The garage sale made $302.10.

Here’s the inspiring part: they had a plan for their profits. They weren’t looking to buy new clothes, makeup or a new phone; not these young ladies. Alison and Grace brought their garage sale earnings to the Downtown Mission. Then, filled two vans with the unsold items and delivered them to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. They truly are outstanding youth.

Outstanding Youth 14 to18 Award – Karl Zhu

At only 16, Karl has already volunteered with many leadership organizations such as Me to We, Rotary Youth Leadership, leadership camp for grade 7s, HOBY’s Community Leadership Workshop and more. Karl is also a Warrant Officer with the 2861 army cadet corps.

In the last two years Karl has accumulated over 900 community service hours at events such as FINA Diving, Fiesta Latina, Carrousel by the River, and the 2017 Memorial Cup. That’s nearly 40 full days of volunteerism at important community events.

If Karl’s life wasn’t busy enough, he also devotes time to tutoring students and helping to guide new Chinese students arriving in the city. Karl’s generosity of time and talent, his leadership, and his compassion is what have made him a recipient of a Celebrating 2017 Mayor’s Outstanding Youth Award.

Outstanding Youth Award 19-24 – Anshika Jain

Anshika is currently studying behaviour, cognition and neuroscience at the University of Windsor. It is a difficult program with high academic demands, but she still finds time to volunteer with various organizations in the community.

She recently helped launch a new Toastmasters Club at Vincent Massey High school in order to help many of the students, whose parents are not originally from Canada, overcome any language barriers and improve their skills.

She has been a youth mentor through Enactus at the university, a program that helps young students explore the potentials of entrepreneurship. Anshika also volunteers with a group called Let’s Talk Science, where she works to generate interested among young students in STEM field jobs.

Anshika’s commitment to mentoring and volunteering in her community speak volumes about who she is as a person, and about the impact young people can have in our community.

Team Excellence Youth –Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society Youth Advisory Committee

The Youth Advisory Committee at The Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society is incredibly committed to advocating for youth in foster care, from foster care and youth in general. They know the importance of their work, because they happen to be kids in and from foster care.

Together they are working to create change within the foster care system and to be the voices of children in Windsor-Essex who often feel stigmatized and stereotyped because of their circumstances.

This group of young people work hard to break these stereotypes by sharing their stories and engaging in the community so that we all know what a foster child looks like. If this wasn’t special enough work – this group also spends time hosting fundraisers and raising money for international projects including a Me to We program to help children attend school in Kenya.

This is a passionate group of young inspiring citizens get up early on PA days, stay after school, and give up time on their weekends, all to better the lives of their peers. Their work as a team, their volunteerism, their community spirit, and the time they dedicated to making our city and the world better is what makes them the recipients of the Youth Team Excellence Award.

Mayor’s Safety Award – Windsor Police Auxiliary
The Windsor Police Auxiliary is an indispensible, but often unseen, group in our city. It is made up of 85 men and women who volunteer their time to keeping Windsor safe.

Originally created in 1946 and known as The Frontiersmen, they have evolved as our city has grown and continue to support the Windsor Police Service and our community as a whole.

The auxiliary serve as our security at public events, patrol our parks, ride along with officers during the winter and so much more. These men and women volunteer their time to help keep us safe.

Mayor’s Senior Award – Madelene Chase
Madelene has been volunteering with the Windsor Goodfellows for over 15 years, coming in to the office every day to help with the many programs the Goodfellows provide for our community – every day.

Madelene also serves as a Board Member for the Windsor Goodfellows helping to make the decisions on the programs and services provided in Windsor. She is described by her friends at the Goodfellows as a tireless volunteer doing whatever is needed to serve the greatest number of Windsorites.

She is part of a close knit Goodfellows family and is one of the most valued members of the team. Whether the organization is providing meals, gifts, clothing or running a paper drive, Madelene is there to help make sure things run smoothly.

Mayor’s Senior Award – Susanne Lengyel
Susanne was the first donor and volunteer for the local organization Transition to Betterness. She volunteers every Tuesday with the T2B Comfort Cart at Windsor Regional Hospital delivering drinks, sandwiches and sweets to patients in care.

She greets patients with a smile, learning names and making friends with those she greets on a regular basis.  Susanne also volunteers at each of the holiday meals, often bringing homemade meals to distribute to the patients.

Susanne rarely says ‘no’ when asked to support a project or event sponsored by the organization. She’s always willing to help. Her love and compassion for those she serves is obvious in all she does.  She believes patients deserve the best – what she doesn’t realize is that she IS the best. Her care and kindness has been described as ‘perfection’. And at 93 years young Susanne reminds us that we can always contribute to the betterment of our community.

Mayor’s Social Media Award – WEtech Alliance

WEtech Alliance was a standout nominee as an organization that not only promotes their members, but the community as a whole. They use their social media channels to congratulate others, publicize events, and share information on local businesses, people and places.

If it happens in Windsor, WEtech tweets, shares or posts about it. WEtech Alliance also founded the Social Media Superheroes group, and hosts the Social Media Day in Windsor.

It is for this reason that they are receiving the hashtag Mayor’s Award for hashtag social media for promoting hashtag Windsor.

Mayor’s Sports Award – Kevin Stubbington

Kevin was involved with the Windsor Minor Hockey association as a coach, director of referees and board member. He coached every level of minor hockey, as well as the University of Windsor women’s team.

Kevin wanted to reduce injuries on the ice, particularly hits from behind.  In1995, he created the Safety Towards Other Players hockey program, referred to as  ‘STOP’.

This program, which involves putting a small stop sign patch on jerseys, has been implemented worldwide. It has significantly decreased the number of hits from behind in minor hockey. Not just in Windsor, or Canada, but around the world.

Kevin died suddenly last year, but is deserving of recognition not only as a pioneer in sport safety, but as a Windsorite who brought innovation and pride to our city.

Mayor’s Team Excellence Award – Friends of Fontainebleau
The Friends of Fontainebleau group have been working together since 2000. This group of volunteers and friends dedicate their free time to making their neighbourhood a better place to live.  They work closely with the Windsor Public Library and local area schools, getting youth involved in planning neighbourhood improvements.

They engage local youth in gardening and cleaning which has instilled pride in the neighbourhood and reduced vandalism and graffiti in the park. In the past 17 years the group has raised over $215,000 towards the building of the Fontainebleau Public Library. They lead area schools in the City of Windsor’s annual Clean Sweep Program. They host an annual community Christmas party, collect canned goods for food banks, and much more.

They are a small group of volunteers who are dedicated to making big improvements in their community. The Friends of Fontainebleu are hands-on volunteers dedicating hours of their time to a neighbourhood many have lived in for decades. Their work as a team has had an incredible impact on their neighbourhood which is why they are most deserving of this Award.

Spirit of Windsor Award – Dave Woodall
Dave Woodall is a name familiar to most in Windsor. As the head of a successful family business, Dave has led Woodall Construction to be one of the most well respected companies in the area, passing through three generations of the family.

Dave is a devoted Windsor resident, volunteering for many local organizations including the Windsor Residence for Young Men, the Salvation Army board of directors, the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association Windsor, the Windsor Construction Association, Junior Achievement – just to name a few.

He has been a strong supporter of the Essex and Kent Scottish with a great deal of love and respect for the men and women who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces. He joined the Delta Company of the Essex and Kent Scottish, a civilian wing that promotes the welfare and support of soldiers in our community. Dave was instrumental in creating the matching Dieppe memorials here in Windsor and in Dieppe, France, fundraising to raise over $400,000 to ensure their completion.

Dave was also a key player in the Great Canadian Flag project that now graces our waterfront at the foot of Ouellette Avenue. The installation of the flag was a tremendous moment for Windsor as we celebrated our 125th and Canada’s 150th.

Dave is a humble, generous, kind gentleman. It would take too long to describe, in detail, all that he has done for this city – quietly, never looking for recognition.

This Award is titled the Spirit of Windsor Award and the hope to find a recipient who embodies the true Windsor spirit – the best in all of us. That person is most definitely Dave Woodall.