Three Warden's Community Service Awards presented to local residents and organizations

PEM Warden Award

The County of Renfrew has presented the 2023 Warden's Community Service Awards, honouring two individuals and a not-for-profit organization, at the November 29th, 2023 session of the County Council. Presenters explain that these awards are a meaningful way to recognize and thank the recipients for their numerous community contributions. 

The recipients of the individual awards were Wanda Hilts of Laurentian Valley, nominated by Kathy Frederick and Clair Cox of Laurentian Hills, nominated by Bruce Boucher and the Whitewater Sno-Goers Snowmobile Club, nominated by Derek Chapman, was recognized in the not-for-profit category.

For the past four decades, Ms. Hilts has made substantial contributions through the Alice and Fraser Recreation Centre. They say she was instrumental in the revival of the Laurentian Valley Alice in Winterland Carnival and assisted with the creation of the Laurentian Valley Fall Flavours Festival.

Her most recent endeavour was the creation of the Laurentian Valley 50+ Fit and Feisty group. This program offers daily low-cost or free physical activity opportunities for Renfrew County residents aged 50-plus. In its first year, the group already has 315 members. This latest initiative addresses a gap in the rural area for organized physical activities for people over 50. The group's aim is to offer physical activity, travel culture, and entertainment and offer activities to build social connections, such as the coffee connect with guest speakers on a wide range of topics.

While the other recipient, Mr. Cox has dedicated nearly 50 years to volunteering in his community, including nearly four decades with the North Renfrew Snowmobile Association. Over the years he held many positions within the club, but most notably the grooming coordinator. In this role, he has calmly led a group of 17 volunteer groomer operators. They say the consummate community-orientated volunteer, Clair not only promotes volunteerism within the group through coordination, training and scheduling but also by simply providing a stellar example for the rest of the organization to emulate. 

Finally, Whitewater Sno-Goers Snowmobile Club, which was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in July 1990, maintains nearly 250 kilometres of trails across four townships, including Whitewater Region, Horton, Admaston/Bromley and McNab/Braeside. The Club operates two groomers with an average volunteer commitment of 770 hours annually, which assists the growth of local winter tourism.

In 2022, a volunteer began focusing on grant applications and was able to secure funding to build a trail-side warmup shack and a new paved ramp in Renfrew for snowmobiles/groomer to drive across O'Brien Road and not damage the millennium walking trail. The club also secured funding for a second warmup shack in Beachburg. 

Following the presentation of the awards, Renfrew County Warden Peter Emon congratulated the recipients and thanked them for their numerous contributions and dedication to improving and strengthening the quality of life we all enjoy within the County of Renfrew. 

"We are appreciative to the nominators for bringing these individuals and organizations to our attention," he said. "The recipients have donated countless hours to the benefit of others in the community and they are very deserving of this recognition. We are very fortunate to have them working with us and for us on different initiatives across Renfrew County," he said. 

With files by CFRA's Connor Ray