The Yorkton-Melville Volunteer Recognition Awards were created by MP Cathay Wagantall as part of the Canada 150 celebrations, with certificates and medallions presented at the first ceremony in October 2017.
“To date, I have been honoured to recognize more than 40 very special people in Yorkton-Melville with the Volunteer Recognition Awards. The recipients of the commemorative medals and certificates were nominated by their communities, peers, friends and families, for their time and talents dedicated to fundraising projects, service organizations and special causes,” said Wagantall.
“While 2020 didn’t allow me to hold a public ceremony, this year’s recipients deserve no less recognition. Knowing how vital our volunteers are, I’m so pleased to again be able to honour those that have been so committed to bettering our communities.”
Wagantall traveled throughout the local area, personally delivering awards to local recipients.
On August 11, Wagantall, accompanied by her husband Marty, traveled to Endeavour to honour Ron and Jeannette Jaques who were nominated by Mayor Brad Romanchuk. Wagantall recited what each recipient’s nominator wrote about each award winner.
“Jeannette Jaques of is 79 years old, although you would never know it,” said Romanchuk in his nomination. “She is always willing to help out with fundraising projects and has no limit volunteering for any and all worthwhile events. Jeannette is an active member of the Endeavour School Hall Committee, serving as treasurer and as the ‘go-to’ person for organizing fundraisers and suppers, and along with her husband Ron, Jeannette is the caretaker of the facility. In addition, Jeannette has held executive positions for the Endeavour Lioness Club, she is a member of the Endeavour and District Community Club, the Endeavour Rec Board, she volunteered for the Parkland Music Festival, and even volunteered in Preeceville with the Mushers Rendezvous, Preeceville Cultural Days and at the Preeceville Long Term Care Home. She is also an active member of her church and choir, Trinity United. Jeannette is a charismatic person who has a smile for everyone. The Village of Endeavour truly appreciates all that Jeannette has contributed to the Village community.”
“Like his wife Jeannette, Ronald’s volunteer service is vital and greatly appreciated by his community. Ronald was a charter member of the Endeavour Lions Club and is still a member of the Endeavour Eagles Service Club. He is a member of the Endeavour School Hall Committee and serves as caretaker along with Jeannette. He was a member of the local school board, the Home and School Committee, he volunteered for Stoney Acres 4H Club, Yorkton 4H Dairy Club, Preeceville Mushers Rendezvous, Parkland Music Festival, Preeceville Long Term Care Home, was a member of the Endeavour Curling Club and is an active member of Trinity United Church and choir.
“At 80 years old, Ronald is still like the energizer bunny,” said Romanchuk. "He just keeps going and going. He has a beaming personality, and is a very likable guy. His contribution to the community is exceptional. If we could somehow share his commitment to volunteerism and community spirit with upcoming generations, our village would greatly benefit. He is well deserving of this award.”
On August 12, Wagantall and her husband travelled to Sturgis to honour Jean Babiuk of Sturgis with a volunteer recognition award. The presentation was made at Jean's daughter’s residence, Kristen and Conrad Peterson. Babiuk accepted the award surrounded by family and close friends, including Lillian Smith who nominated her for the award.
“For almost 50 years, Jean has given her time and talents to help provide opportunities for everyone connected to the community of Sturgis," said Smith in her nomination letter. "She is connected to almost every activity in the community. Jean has served 30 years with the Sturgis Housing Authority; has been secretary of the Sturgis Community Bingo and Grace United Church UCW; was on the fundraising committee of the Sturgis and District Community Hall; she has been a member of the Sturgis Horticultural Society and Ducks Unlimited; she has been an active supporter of the Sturgis Curling Club, volunteering her time in the kitchen and supplying baked goods; and she volunteers for the School Breakfast Program.
In 2019, Babiuk was also recognized for her volunteer work with Sturgis Trojan Lacrosse.
“Jean is 79 years of age and she supports her grandchildren in all their activities especially hockey, lacrosse and figure skating by attending 99 per cent of their games and being a taxi when parents have other commitments. She is very family and community oriented, born here and returning in 1963 after employment in Regina. She has been my friend and fellow volunteer since we first met in 1963, and I feel she is a worthy recipient for recognition,” said Smith.
Also on August 12, Wagantall traveled to Stenen to honour Harry Prekaski and Victor Wasylenchuk of Stenen. They were both nominated by Councillor Adeline Watson, on behalf of the Village of Stenen.
Harry Prekaski, is 74 years old and has been a councilor off and on for the last 20 years. He has also served as the mayor of the Village of Stenen.
Victor Wasylenchuk is 81 and is the current mayor.
“Both these gentlemen have continuously done maintenance on all the Village’s equipment, water and sewer plants, trying to maintain the roads both in the summer and winter, cutting grass and maintaining the cemetery and the lagoon,” stated Watson in he nomination letter.
“The Village cannot afford a full-time maintenance person, so there we have Harry and Víctor working all hours, day and night, to fix water breaks, the sewer pump, you name it they have done it. Harry and Victor have done all this by volunteering their time for the community that they love and where they grew up.
“Stenen is a community of approximately 90 residents and if you ask anyone of them who deserves to be recognized, they would say Harry and Victor.”
The celebration concluded with a wiener roast with salads and desserts at the Stenen Centennial Park.
Other receptions were, Courtney Hart of Wadena, Dave Spelay of Yorkton, Larry Ukrainetz of Tuffnell, James (Jim) McCallum of Saltcoats, Shirley Payne of Kelvington, and Vern Schick of Good Spirit.