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Community Builders applauded for 2016


Veteran politician Rick Bartolucci was inducted into the Community Builders Hall of Fame.

Rick Bartolucci

Rick Bartolucci

For the past 13 years, Northern Life has honoured outstanding citizens and organizations. It has been my pleasure to edit the Community Builders Awards souvenir program since 2004. In the process of interviewing the winners, I get to meet extraordinary people such as Christopher McCormick.

McCormick volunteers with St. John Ambulance, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Out of the Cold, and Vale concert series. He is social media director for the Sudbury Food Bank. Every week he and his brother, William, make sandwiches and muffins in their kitchen and deliver them to the Elgin Street Mission.

About a year ago, the McCormick brothers started an initiative called A Place to Call Their Home. They send school supplies – purchased with their own money and shipped at their expense – to students in developing countries.

McCormick is co-chair of the Chief of Police’s Youth Advisory Council. As a member of the council, he helped to organize a mental health conference for youth.

Did I mention McCormick is 17? This Young Leader is following the example of community service set by his parents, Kevin and Renee McCormick.

The 2016 Community Builders Awards Gala, hosted by the president of of Northern Life Michael Atkins and emceed by publisher Abbas Homayed, was held at the Caruso Club March 3. The winners’ names are kept a surprise until the dinner – although there are few secrets in this town.

Veteran politician Rick Bartolucci was inducted into the Community Builders Hall of Fame. He worked as a teacher and school principal for 30 years before he started his second career in provincial politics in 1991.

A new category was added to the awards this year. The first recepient of the Legacy Award is Fred W. Sheridan, He was a trustee on the English public school board for 34 years. At the post-secondary level, Sheridan was an active supporter of and contributor to Cambrian College and Laurentian University. Sheridan died in 1990 but he made a lasting mark on the community.

Just about every person under the age of 40 knows Denise Fraser. She was the Sudbury police service’s school liaison officer for 30 years before she retired in 2014. Fraser is the winner of the Community Builders Award for Education.

I was aware of her good work but I’d know she had a troubled childhood. She lived in a series of abusive foster homes and changed schools many times. She soon got a reputation as a troublemaker.

Her Grade 6 teacher told her she would be in jail or dead by the time she was 18. With the help of that teacher, Fraser turned her life around and became a good example for thousands of young people.

Wayne Hugli, another educator, won the Community Builders Award for Environment. A devoted gardener and a member of VETAC, the city’s Regreening Advisory Panel, he championed the idea of regreening schoolyards in Greater Sudbury.  To date, 39 schools have benefitted from the Ugliest School Yard program.

Gerry Fortin and his son, Christian, were applauded for their work with the Korean Martial Arts Centre (KMAC). Running KMAC-Sudbury, which is affiliated with Gymzone Gymnastics on Gemmell St., is a part-time vocation and a full-time passion. Gerry ran the school while working as a millwright and supervisor at Falconbridge Ltd. Gerry has retired, but still teaches an occasional class. Gerry`s son, Christian, has followed in his father`s footsteps and has taken over operating the Sudbury school. Christian is a professor and co-ordinator of the millwright program at Collège Boréal.

“It was never about money, never about business,” says Christian. “We do it for love of the sport.”

In the Economic Development category, Lopes Limited, a family business in Coniston, was honoured for its many contributions to the community. For 40 years, Lopes has been a model employer and community builder providing a blueprint for success, sustainability and social responsibility for others to follow. The company supports local initiatives with a particular focus on children, education, social welfare and health care. The list of recipients that have benefitted from the generosity of this company include the Northern Cancer Foundation, Science North, Dynamic Earth, the medical school, young athletes, arts organizations and schools.

Theatre du Nouvel Ontario was honoured in the Arts category for its production of darin and original plays. During the past 45 years, TNO has produced more than 60 original new works which have found audiences and earned acclaim across Canada. As well, the theatre hosts shows for adults, children and teens produced by visiting francophone companies. In 2014, it won the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2014.

St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Sudbury (SJHC) is the parent corporation of three health care facilities: St. Joseph’s Villa and St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre in Sudbury and Villa St. Gabriel Villa in Chelmsford and oversees 320 beds and 500 employees won in the Health category.



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