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O’Neil earns Sackville's 2018 Crown of Winterfest

Sackville councillor and long-time volunteer Joyce O’Neil was honoured with this year’s Crown of Winterfest.
Sackville councillor and long-time volunteer Joyce O’Neil was honoured with this year’s Crown of Winterfest. - Katie Tower

Councillor, volunteer honoured for dedication to community, family

SACKVILLE, N.B. – A committed volunteer in the community, Sackville councillor Joyce O’Neil was honoured with the ‘Crown of Winterfest’ over the weekend during Sackville’s winter festival celebrations.

From serving on the hospital auxiliary to volunteering with the Saint John Ambulance to organizing the annual car shows in town, all while being a dedicated mom and grandmother throughout the years, O’Neil’s long list of contributions and achievements over the years have not gone unnoticed.

“Joyce has a very passionate heart and will do anything for anyone, no matter of the time or day,” said O’Neil’s granddaughter Jessica Novak in her nomination.

O’Neil was a dedicated mother of three, continuing to work at Atlantic Wholesalers while raising her children after her husband died at an early age. She also at the time volunteered with the Saint John Ambulance, which is now defunct.

As a Saint John Ambulance volunteer, O’Neil would never know when she would be called upon, and Novak said there would be nights where she wold be called out a number of times at three or four in the morning and have to make a rushed trip to Halifax.

“And she would still come back to her family, get her children off and ready to go to school and she would get changed and go to her job at Atlantic. How she did it nobody knows!”

O’Neil now has six grandchildren and six great grandchildren, and always makes time for them, writes Novak.

She has the same passion and dedication towards volunteering, having put in countless hours to bettering her community.

Every other Friday, O’Neil volunteers her time to do a drop-in ukulele class in the Bill Johnstone building at the park. Last fall, she volunteered her time at Salem Elementary School and taught the students there how to play the ukulele. She even donated two ukuleles to the school.

For the past few years, O’Neil has also volunteered and taken the time to organize the car show during the fall fair. She has spent numerous hours putting thoughts together on how to improve the next year’s event as well.

“She makes all the posters, takes the time to go and advertise these in business in town or even attends different car shows throughout the summer.”

O’Neil has been involved with the Sackville Memorial Hospital Ladies Auxiliary for 16 years and has received her lifetime membership pin. She plays a huge role on the organization’s fundraising committee, including organizing the annual Big Band Dance.

O’Neil has served on town council for 12 years, heading into her 13th and has taken on the deputy mayor position for much of that time.

“She sure has been a good asset to the town,” writes Novak. “She has volunteered many hours over the years supporting her hometown.”

During construction of the Tantramar civic centre, O’Neil volunteered her time to help with the brick campaign, which was a successful fundraiser. She also annually travels to Halifax to attend the SaltScape Expo where the town puts a booth in to advertise tourism in Sackville. She also participates in the Winterfest activities and has helped with the barbecue.

O’Neil has also volunteered her time at the Sackville Memorial Hospital to help judge their Halloween contest along with a Foundation member Shelia Parker.

O’Neil, a former Sackville Citizen of the Year and a recipient of a Paul Harris Award from the Sackville Rotary Club, is very active in the 50+ aerobics club, and still goes skating on occasion and loves to snowshoe and walk.

“Joyce is loving, caring, passionate, outgoing, adventurous, compassionate and ambitious, having a strong desire for success and achievement and has a wonderful personality and the list can go on and on.”

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