By Kathy McGrath

“Our tribute to you is long overdue.” Those words, spoken by CCRA President KathyRowe to volunteers at a recent appreciation event, sum up the sentiment of the association’s executive board.

About 80 CCRA volunteers, past and present, were honoured for their contributions as newspaper contributors, distributors, membership canvassers and event supporters. The occasion, held at the Port Union Community Centre on May 2, was part of the CCRA’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

“Because of your hard work, our newspaper continues to improve, our readership isgrowing, our membership is growing,” Kathy told the crowd. “You are the reason things are turning out so great and we could not have done it without your help.”

Jeff Forsyth, who sat on the executive board for 40 years and twice served as CCRApresident, told the gathering: “A strong neighbourhood association is what makes the fabric of the community and without your support it would not thrive as it does”.

Some in attendance began volunteering in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, including Royand Carolyn Ward who started delivering the newsletter in 1978. Ralph Jeffers, who joined the board, in 1971 was also in attendance with his wife, Anne.

Dignitaries included Ward 25 Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (a former CCRApresident), MPP Vijay Thanigasalam, and David Turnbull, constituency assistant to MP Gary Anandasangaree who was unavailable due to engagements in Ottawa. David presented a message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanking the volunteers and congratulating the CCRA on its milestone anniversary.

“I see so many happy faces and people who haven’t seen each other in many years,” “I found this evening to be energizing,” said long-time volunteer Marguerite Mosey. “Seniors often feel isolated in the suburbs, so it was nice to see so many of them out socializing tonight.”

With all the veteran volunteers in the room, it was nice to have new ones in attendance. Mark and Leone Foxwell started delivering newspapers on Centennial Road and Tesson Place just over a year ago. When they heard there was a need for carriers on Tilley Drive, they picked up that route as well. Leone said she feels it is a worthwhile activity because the newspaper keeps the community connected. “One of the reasons we moved here from Pickering is because this is such a nice, close-knit community. Everywhere we go, we seem to run into people we know.”