Five dedicated and long-time community volunteers were honoured recently for their devoted efforts towards making Sackville a better place.
Dave Wheaton, Paulette McNally and husband-and-wife team Wayne and Sandy Harper were honoured with Long-Term Service Awards, for more than 25 years of community volunteer service, and Ainsley Cunningham was the winner of the Titan Community Achievement Award, presented to a TRHS grad who has made contributions through community volunteer service throughout their school years.
The awards were presented at the fourth annual Volunteer Recognition Night, hosted by the town of Sackville on June 27.
Dave Wheaton started volunteering with Sackville Minor Hockey during the 1992-93 season and has continued to be involved ever since. He has coached Mites, Novice, Atom C, Midget C, Bantam A. He managed Atom A and Peewee A, winning the provincial championship as manager with Peewee A during the 2008-09 season.
Wheaton served as president of the Sackville Minor Hockey Club for six years and vice president on three different occasions. He also held the position of past president for two seasons and accepted the position again during an additional season when the position was vacant.
Wheaton was a referee for 17 seasons and held the position of referee-in-chief for 15 of those years. He also served as the tournament director for three seasons.
Wheaton’s contributions earned him the RBC Local Hockey Leader Award in 2006, an award decided on by a panel of experts including the Hockey Hall of Fame director, chair of the board for Hockey Canada and Olympic gold medalists for dedication, leadership, commitment and impact on hockey and hockey players in a community. This award resulted in a $10,000 donation to the SMHC.
Sackville Minor Hockey has also recognized Wheaton by naming the Competitive A Home Tournament in his name, now known as the Dave Wheaton Invitational.
Wheaton was also part of the volunteer board who fundraised and operated the Tantramar Veterans Memorial Civic Centre when it first opened.
Wheaton’s contributions to many generations of youth does not go unnoticed. He is a mentor and a role model who is committed to so many.
Paulette McNally first started volunteering when she worked for Dave Byers at the original Corner Drug Store back in the 1980s. She played a big role in their fundraising efforts for the Run for the Cure, the local food bank and helped with Marshlands Frolics.
Since starting her job at Moneris in 2003, McNally has continued to volunteer for a variety of causes. She has played a big part of the Moneris efforts to fundraise for the United Way, helping to organize luncheons, movies, mystery bags, pancake breakfasts and pay deductions. She participated in and helped organize the Moneris Big Bike Ride to support the Heart and Stroke Foundation. She even jumped on the bike with Royal Bank employees as they did not have enough participants.
McNally has been a member of the Curl for Cancer planning committee since 2003. She organizes Moneris teams and oversees fundraising efforts that include silent auctions, chili luncheon, hot dug luncheon, 50/50s, draws, cake auctions, car washes and yard sales.
She has also been part of the planning committee and participant in the Relay for Life for over 10 years.
After four years of being involved with the Amherst Run for the Cure, McNally was approached to host the event, so along with Tracy Moss she emceed and took over many of the event responsibilities.
Sandy Harper is presently a member of the Sackville Rotary Club and has been for 20 years, where she served as secretary from 2002 to 2006 and president from 2007 to 2008. Over the years, she has served on all the various Rotary committees.
Harper also served on the Sackville Swim Club board from 1983 to 1986, and served on the board of the Sackville Diabetes Association for four years and as president for one year in the 1990s.
To go along with her involvement with these various organizations, she also served two three-year terms on the board of Community Business Development Corporation in the 1990s and served a term as president of the Greater Sackville Chamber of Commerce in 2007-08.
Wayne has been a very active volunteer in Sackville since the 1980s, starting in 1983 when he, along with Gordon Finley, taught soccer skills for the town’s recreation department. He has been a member of the Sackville Rotary Club since 1986 and has been a board member of Block Investments and Property Holding Limited since 1987.
Harper was the Sackville Rotary Club president from 1996-1998 and was the founding president of the Greater Sackville Chamber of Commerce from 1991-1993. During the same time period, Harper was the vice chairman of the Southeast Hospital Corporation and continued to be a member of trustees until 1996. From 1989-1991, he was vice chairman of the Sackville Memorial Hospital, and was a member of their board of trustees from 1987-1991.
Harper continued his commitment to the hospital by serving as vice chairman and a member of the board of trustees for the Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation from 1989-1996.
Some of his other volunteer activities have included being treasurer of the Sackville Swim Club from 1983-1989, president of Block Investments and Property Holdings Limited in 1990, a member of directors for Renaissance Sackville in 1993, president of the Atlantic motion picture exhibitors association from 1999-2004, and a board member of the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada from 1996-2006.
In 2006, Harper was awarded the first of tw Paul Harris Fellows, Rotary’s highest honour, and he continues to volunteer today as part of the organizing committee for Curl for Cancer and the treasurer of the Sackville Farmer’s Market Board.
Ainsley Cunningham has been a very active volunteer in her school and her community. During the last four years, her commitment to volunteering is incontestable.
At Tantramar Regional High School, Cunningham has volunteered as a member of the student representative council, the grad council, the annual Dragon Boat fundraiser, the drama club, the annual spookwalk fundraiser, the youth in action committee, and the annual Terry Fox Run. Cunningham has written many articles for the Sackville Tribune and is willing to help out at any event offered at TRHS, including helping to organize activities like the TRHS annual craft sale.
This year, when a serious illness prevented her from participating in the regional badminton championships, she volunteered to act as the bilingual announcer throughout the event and was the official scorekeeper for the tournament.
Cunningham founded and co-chaired the mental health awareness committee at TRHS. Over the past couple of years, this student-led committee held its first Mental Health Symposium which has now become an annual event at the school, helping to raise awareness on mental health issues.
In the Sackville community, she volunteers twice a week with the Sackville Youth Soccer Association as an assistant coach with the five-and-under group.