National Volunteer Awards 2022 - Easter Seals Canada

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER AWARDS 2022

The annual Easter Seals National Volunteer Awards – announced during National Volunteer Week each year – honours and celebrates the contributions of Canadians from coast to coast who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to Easter Seals’ mission and vision through their volunteerism, time, passion and dedication to Easter Seals.

Easter Seals congratulates all the recipients of the National Volunteer Awards for 2022, and thanks each individual for their contributions to Easter Seals and in helping make Canada a more inclusive society for people of all abilities.

Easter Seals also thanks all of our other volunteers for their dedication, commitment, time and contributions to Easter Seals and their support in advancing Easter Seals mission and vision to enhance the quality of life, well-being and independence of Canadians who are living with disabilities/with diverse abilities.

“Volunteers are a critical part of Easter Seals. Their passion and contributions, in various capacities, to the mission and success of the organization helps ensure that we are able to provide programs and services that make a positive, transformative impact in the lives of many individuals and families across Canada who are living with disabilities… especially during the COVID19 pandemic. We are incredibly grateful and thankful to our many volunteers across the country for their incredible generosity and contributions to Easter Seals, and their their unwavering dedication to helping make Canada a truly accessible and inclusive society for all.”

Dave Starrett, President & CEO of Easter Seals Canada

2022 National Volunteer Award Recipients

Closeup photo of a middle-aged woman with shoulder length blond hair against a pink background
Cheryl Richmond

(Alberta)

Closeup image of an older woman with blond hair tied up in a bun on her head

Sharon Hansen

(British Columbia)

Closeup photo of an older man wearing glasses, and checkered blue and white shirt against a pink background

Erich Stumme

(Manitoba)

Closeup photo of a bespectacled young woman with long blond hair, against a pink background

Abigail Druken

(Newfoundland)

Closeup photo of a bespectacled middle-aged man with gray hair and beard, wearing a gray jacket and black shirt, set against a pink background.

Charlie Guitard

(New Brunswick)

Close up image of a smiling older woman with her hair combed to the back

Sheila Poulton

(Nova Scotia)

Closeup photo of a middle aged man with short dark hair, beard and goatee against a pink background. He is dressed in a suit.

Joe Persechini

(Ontario)

Closeup photo of a bespectacled older gentleman with white hair and dressed in a suit, against a pink background.

Bill Martin

(PEI)

Closeup photo of a bespectacled man, with dark gray hair and wearing a light blue shirt, against a pink background

Kenn Propp

(Saskatchewan)

Citations for Award Recipients

Read the citation for each of the award winners by clicking on the links below.

Closeup photo of a middle-aged woman with shoulder length blond hair against a pink background2022 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award Recipient

(Alberta): Cheryl Richmond 

We are delighted to present a 2022 National Volunteer Award to Cheryl Richmond.

When Cheryl offered to volunteer with Easter Seals in Alberta, we were eager to get her involved as she brought with her a wealth of experience. With all of the change in an unpredictable year, Cheryl was our rock that never waivered. She joined us in the office and always brought a can-do attitude. From stuffing tax receipts, to donor thank-you calls, event coordination and program support, she did it all. Her volunteerism helped raise critical funds to ensure persons and families living with disability had access to the resources they need.

“After experiencing two exceptional camps as a volunteer liaison for a group that attended Camp Horizon, I became interested in learning more about the other services offered to the community by Easter Seals. I was so impressed by the genuine concern for the needs of persons living with disabilities and the dedication of everyone to assist those needs. The staff at the (Easter Seals) Calgary office were so welcoming and appreciative of my offer to volunteer, that I knew I had found the right place to make a difference.”Cheryl Richmond

Help us celebrate Cheryl by sharing this incredible story!

2022 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award Recipient

(British Columbia): Sharon Hansen

We are delighted to present a 2022 National Volunteer Award to Sharon Hansen.

For over 20 years, Sharon has made an incredible impact and been a passionate advocate for children and adults with disabilities. Always gravitating to helping people, her first involvement with Easter Seals in BC happened when the youth group she was coaching was approached to perform at one of our Timmy’s Telethons, and it’s there where her interest in charity and community involvement began. Later on, she was instrumental in starting the North Vancouver Deep Cove Lions Club in 1999. Through this endeavour she was invited to an open house at Camp Squamish where she saw firsthand children with disabilities enjoying the camp. She was then invited to tour Easter Seals House, and after noticing the repairs and work that needed to be done on the House at the time, she hoped her club could help make a difference.

Her volunteer activities are as varied as her skills, and they include such things as hosting Easter Seals fundraisers like the most recently popular paper shredding events, personally selling paper eggs for the Easter Seals Month campaign, and establishing the Camp Improvement Committee for Camp Squamish.

Sharon has worked tirelessly not only as a volunteer through her Lions Club and a chairperson for her Lions district, but also now as an Easter Seals Board Member where her work on the Lions Committee has played a key role in re-establishing a partnership and awareness of Easter Seals with Lions Clubs across British Columbia.

Sharon is an absolute pleasure to work with and we know she is very deserving of the National Volunteer Award.

“It is an honour to be considered for this award.

It seems I was destined for volunteering and helping my community, and my role as a volunteer, as a Lion, and as an ambassador for kids and underserved communities has come full circle. My passion for kids has defined who I am.

I remember very well seeing the yellow Easter Seals buses running throughout Vancouver, I love sharing our best kept secrets like donating funds for the helipad at Vancouver General Hospital, and I am extremely proud of the Vancouver East Lions Club for having the initial vision that began our legacy.

One of my favourite memories is seeing the kids at camp playing outside and having so much fun. They are in a place where no one sees their disability and they are all equal, and that is just so heartwarming.

I look forward to celebrating the 75th anniversary of Easter Seals BC/Yukon this year, and am honoured to be a part of their history.”Sharon Hansen

Help us celebrate Sharon by sharing this incredible story!

Closeup photo of an older man wearing glasses, and checkered blue and white shirt against a pink background2022 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award Recipient

(Manitoba): Erich Stumme

We are delighted to present a 2022 National Volunteer Award to Erich Stumme.

Erich Stumme has been a dedicated Manitoba Possible/Easter Seals Manitoba volunteer for over six years, providing vital and timely repair services for people who use wheelchairs in the Westman Region of Manitoba. Based out of Brandon, Erich travels to the homes of Manitoba Possible wheelchair clients as well as to personal care homes/ residences and hospitals in the region, to assess the wheelchairs, determine repairs required and make the repairs on the spot. This is no mean feat given that the Westman region of Manitoba covers some 12,000 square miles!

Erich’s volunteer involvement with Manitoba Possible/ Easter Seals Manitoba started with a favour – he was asked if he could repair the brakes on a wheelchair – and he quickly and capably did so. More requests for assistance came following this, and Erich responded to each of them. As he carried out these repairs he came to recognize the acute need for this service in the region, so he dedicated more of his time to this important role. He has become widely known to wheelchair users in the region, as well as to Occupational Therapists, hospitals and care homes/ residences –who all have him on speed dial!

The vast majority of the repairs Erich makes take place on-site, so the individual using the wheelchair does not have to lose their mobility and independence. This entails a fair bit of travel across the region. Very occasionally, a more complicated repair requires him to take a part or wheelchair home to work on in his garage or in the shop of a friend that graciously allows him to use his space. Erich carries out an average of twenty repairs each week. He receives lots of support from the Manitoba Possible Wheelchair Technician team based in Winnipeg – they are there for him to answer any questions, share their expertise, send parts and every now and then take on a complex repair that he is not able to do himself.

Erich finds the volunteer work very rewarding – especially the people he meets through the course of making the repairs. He enjoys the conversations he has with those whom he serves, the messages of thanks and the holiday cards he receives from appreciative wheelchair users, OTs and hospital/ care home staff.

Erich has really taken ownership of the volunteer wheelchair repair role, and has more than once headed out the door of an evening to respond to a last minute urgent call from someone experiencing a wheelchair break down, sometimes stranded in an outdoor environment. Without Erich’s efforts, many individuals in Westman would be left with limited mobility for a few days while their wheelchair was sent to Winnipeg for required repairs.

Erich recognizes the need in the community and continues to broaden the scope of the services he is able to provide in order to reach more people. He has been known to say “the answer to disability is mobility”, and he works daily to make this happen. Manitoba Possible/ Easter Seals Manitoba is indeed fortunate to have a such a committed and talented volunteer serving western Manitoba.

“Exactly six years ago I was asked if I would be able to change the brakes on a manual wheelchair here in Brandon. Some time later I was asked again to do anther small repair and from there the asks became more and more. Doing these “favors,” I noticed that there are more people with wheelchairs in the Brandon/Westman area than I ever thought and that I could help to improve the service for them. That was the time when I decided to volunteer on a regular basis. It is a very rewarding job because I meet a lot of great people.Erich Stumme

Help us celebrate Erich by sharing this incredible story!

Closeup photo of a bespectacled young woman with long blond hair, against a pink background2022 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award Recipient

(Newfoundland & Labrador): Abigail Druken

We are delighted to present a 2022 National Volunteer Award to Abigail Druken.

Abigail has been a volunteer with Easter Seals Newfoundland & Labardor for the last four years. During this time, Abigail has volunteered with our Wheelchair Basketball , Dansability, and Boccia programs. She has been a lead volunteer who helps organize and facilitate our Youth and Family Events and Let’s Get Active program and she has been a Lead Camp Counsellor with our Summer Day Camp. No matter the role Abigail is put in, she always ensures everyone (staff, volunteers, and participants) is having the best possible time and everything is running smoothly.

Even when not scheduled, Abigail can always be counted on to help when needed and gives 110% each time. When you meet Abigail, you can tell she is there for the love she has for volunteering with our population. Her passion shines bright. We thank her for all her hard work and the dedication she puts into our organization.

“Volunteering with Easter Seals Newfoundland & Labrador (ESNL) over the last 4 years has been a life changing and eye-opening experience. I began volunteering with Easter Seals in my first year of university as a way to give back to my community. However, this organization quickly became a staple part of my week once I came to realize just how large of an impact volunteering was having on my life.

It is impossible to leave the Easter Seals House without a smile on your face after spending time with the participants. Being able to help participants grow and watch them succeed over the last few years has brought immense joy to my life. I am very lucky to be able to spend as much time as I do working with such incredible children and youth.

I feel extremely honoured to have been considered for this award. I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to volunteer with ESNL, and hope to continue volunteering for many more years.” – Abigail Druken

Help us celebrate Abigail by sharing this incredible story!

Closeup photo of a bespectacled middle-aged man with gray hair and beard, wearing a gray jacket and black shirt, set against a pink background.2022 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award Recipient

(New Brunswick): Charlie Guitard

We are delighted to present a 2022 National Volunteer Award to Charlie Guitard.

Charlie Guitard is a local business man and owner of the Canadian Tire store. He first became involved with Camp Rotary in 2010. He visited the camp to make a generous donation. We think he was hooked from that initial day because he has gone above and beyond ever since. Charlie continue to make financial donations the camp. However, he also started to talk to Rotary clubs, friends, family and other businesses about the camp and how they could help. A major renovation was started by the Rotary and lead by Charlie. Since 2014 Charlie is the first person out at the camp in the spring. Facing muddy roads and flooding from the St John River. He had his store manager lead the work on the renovations and got materials donated from many businesses in Fredericton. They started at one end of the camp and sided all 17 buildings to cut down on the maintenance for each. They replaced and repaired roofs and fixed window sills, old ramps were replaced making sure they were up to code and treated so they would last. They jacked and leveled buildings and painted, put flooring down and made the camp a place to be proud of.

One of the biggest projects was the dinning Hall. The building had to be leveled, electrical work done, a heat pump added for the comfort of campers and staff, new flooring, walls paneled and painted and other details too numerous to mention. Charlie did so much work in here that we re-named it “Charlie’s Diner”
Charlie not only donated to the camp, but got building materials donated and trucked or arranged trucking to the camp site and supervised the work. It was not unusual to come to the camp and see Charlie on the mower, mowing the grass as he wanted it nice for the campers.

Charlie is a man of action and we are very happy he is. The work that Charlie lead at the camp will ensure that campers will be able to enjoy the facilities for years to come. The lower maintenance will enable Easter Seals to look at more amenities at the camp for campers, and create a barrier free environment. The campers love the new look and we appreciate all of Charlies contributions.

“I always saw a need to step up to keep this wonderful organization for what they provide at the Rotary Camp on Grand Lake. I’ve seen so many happy faces from the clients who spend some summertime holidays there. What started as a spring clean up ended as a major remodeling for buildings. We will complete the last 2 buildings this spring and be ready. I will continue to support this as long as I can. Thank you for letting me be part of your success.” – Charlie Guitard

Help us celebrate Charlie by sharing this incredible story!

2022 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award Recipient

(Nova Scotia): Sheila Poulton

We are delighted to present a 2022 National Volunteer Award to Sheila Poulton.

Sheila has been the coach of Easter Seals Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Sledge program for the last few years. During her time as a volunteer with us, she has taken over the logistics of our program which is above and beyond her role as coach. She reaches out to families prior to each season to continuously get them involved, handles our registration, and she transports athletes who would otherwise be unable to participate.

She has managed all the restrictions put in place over the pandemic with grace and did her best to keep the program going strong. This year, she would like to reach out to more children with disabilities and get schools involved in our program. Sheila continues to be a great volunteer with Easter Seals Nova Scotia and we appreciate the time and effort she has spent on our sledge hockey program.

“I volunteer with Learn to Sledge because it feeds my soul. We spend an hour together laughing and playing. All cares and woes are left behind on the ice.” – Sheila Poulton

Help us celebrate Sheila by sharing this incredible story!

Closeup photo of a middle aged man with short dark hair, beard and goatee against a pink background. He is dressed in a suit.2022 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award Recipient

(Ontario): Joe Persechini

We are delighted to present a 2022 National Volunteer Award to Joe Persechini.

Joe is one of Easter Seals’ longest-serving volunteer in Ontario. He originally came to Canada when he was 12 years old, moving from Italy to Toronto. He battled through the language barriers and just being an immigrant from another country. He would eventually move to Newmarket where he started his fitness business. With the support of the local community that Joe appreciated, he decided it was important to give back. Meeting Whipper Billy Watson and witnessing the work he was doing for kids with physical disabilities, Joe was very impressed and it touched his heart. He wanted to be part of that – making a difference because he understood how difficult it is when you have a disability – that people treat you differently.

In 1976, Joe Persechini started a Run/Walk event in Newmarket – one of Easter Seals Ontario’s oldest fundraisign event – that is still in existence today. We are not sure if Joe planned on the run being a legacy in Newmarket or such a big part of the community and Easter Seals history, but it is. The amount of awareness and the stories about our Easter Seals – our funding program, summer camps that have been shared throughout York Region is priceless. Many of our Ambassadors (Timmy’s and Tammy’s) have stood on one of the biggest community stages and told their story.

Joe created some of the best media stories like walking down the main street with a Bear or having Glass Tiger performing. Joe was the driving force with no agenda except to raise money for Easter Seal Kids. The run has seen over 1,000 participants in one day and has raised over $3.5 million during its existence. We have heard stories of volunteers and Joe working side by side through the night, in the pouring rain putting up road barriers, hanging signs, putting up tents to host the food for volunteers and participates.

Joe would start to work the day after each event, focusing on next years event. Joe had one agenda and only one and that was to help kids and their families. It truly is that simple and he did. Joe has been volunteering raising funds and creating awareness for almost half of our 100 years. Looking into the next 45 years of fundraising and creating awareness in that community, Joe has laid such a strong foundation for success within York Region.

Joe reflects on his years, looking back it makes him feel great to help the kids – allowing them the opportunity to gang confidence and independence, to help change and make it better for them. He is so proud to be part of the lives of many kids with a physical disability….and to have helped to give some of these families the support they need, to give back to his community. Thank you, Joe, for looking after our Next generation of Easter Seals kids and families.

“It’s been an honour and I hope that I continue on…. with many years to come.” – Joe Persechini

Help us celebrate Joe by sharing this incredible story!

Closeup photo of a bespectacled older gentleman with white hair and dressed in a suit, against a pink background.2022 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award Recipient

(Prince Edward Island): Bill Martin

We are delighted to present a 2022 National Volunteer Award to Bill Martin.

There is a well-known quote by the famous Dr. Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Dr. Seuss just may have been thinking of Bill Martin when he spoke this quote. Bill is the “someone who cares a whole awful lot” and makes the world a better place.

Bill is a dedicated community volunteer. As a business owner, Water Street Bakery, he finds countless ways to help his community. As a Rotarian with the Summerside Rotary Club he chairs the “Community Service Committee”, which alone speaks to his caring for others.

As chair of the PEI Easter Seals Campaign, he dedicates countless hours to ensuring that the campaign will realize the funds needed to help the many Islanders who live each day with disabilities. Because of his caring many children with disabilities enjoy, therapeutic horseback riding, going to camp for weekends and summers, their school days with special programs that only they can participate in, and so many more memorable experiences that made possible.

These volunteer works are just a few of the many ways that Bill finds to make things better for so very many people. We cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of this Easter Seals 2022 Volunteer Award. He really is “the someone who cares a whole awful lot, and makes our world a better place”.

“To be involved with a charity that spans all of PEI and is dedicated to helping people with disabilities is a wonderful use of my volunteer time as I see it.” It is also totally consistent with Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self”” – Bill Martin

Help us celebrate Bill by sharing this incredible story!

Closeup photo of a bespectacled man, with dark gray hair and wearing a light blue shirt, against a pink background2022 Easter Seals National Volunteer Award Recipient

(Saskatchewan): Kenn Propp

We are delighted to present a 2022 National Volunteer Award to Kenn Propp.

For over 30 years, Kenn has given countless hours of his time, raised, and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Easter Seals Saskatchewan.

As a local business owner in Yorkton Saskatchewan, he is a Corporate Sponsor of Easter Seals Snowarama. He also participates in the event, volunteers with the local snowmobile club to ensure the trails are event ready and raises thousands of dollars in pledges! Kenn dedicates his time and network to spread awareness about the event and the cause by speaking with media, donors, and fellow snowmobilers. He utilizes his network to recruit participants to raise pledges and ride in Snowarama, all while positively promoting the Easter Seals programs.

Kenn’s decades of support have been crucial to the long-term success and growth of Snowarama. His passion for supporting Easter Seals and individuals experiencing disability is unwavering, as regardless of snow and weather conditions, pandemic regulations, and any other possible hurdle, he continues to participate in Snowarama, and give his time and resources to our cause.

Kenn’s incredible involvement has created interest from several media outlets. He has been featured in videos, media interviews, and in 2021, a national documentary on Snowarama! He uses these opportunities to promote Snowarama with hopes to increase event participation, corporate sponsors, and funds raised for Easter Seals programs.

As we have navigated changes over the years, Kenn has been invaluable with his calm demeanour and well thought out ideas and answers regarding Snowarama.The Board of Directors and staff members at SaskAbilities are proud to support Kenn’s nomination for the Easter Seals National Volunteer Award. Kenn has earned the respect of all of us, and we are honoured to nominate him!

Thank you, Kenn for all you do to support children and adults experiencing disability. We are forever grateful and deeply humbled by your contributions to Easter Seals Saskatchewan and SaskAbilities.

I have been a supporter of the initiatives of the Camp Easter Seal for over 30 years. I come from a very large family, with numerous relatives and unfortunately experienced firsthand the difficulties that both the families and the children had to face. Fifty years ago the resources were very few and the needs were over whelming.

This personal perspective is what has driven me to contribute, as best I could, to help with some of the financial burdens of operating Camp Easter Seal. The services they provide to the entire family units, is unique, and invaluable to their clients. Its my belief that without the support of the Easter Seals programs and their dedicated staff, they would be forgotten members of our society. That is why I try to do what I can.” Kenn Propp

Help us celebrate Kenn by sharing this incredible story!

Help us honour and celebrate the contributions of these outstanding volunteers and their commitment to supporting Easter Seals, and individuals and families living with disabilities by making a donation to your local Easter Seals

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