Charlottetown Citizens Recognized with Awards
On Tuesday, August 2, 2022, Mayor Philip Brown and Charlottetown City Council announced the recipients of the 2022 Citizen Recognition Awards, the Forbes Kennedy Volunteer of the Year Award, the 25th annual David’ Eli’ MacEachern Bursary, and a new category added this year: the Heroes of the Pandemic Awards.
The event, part of the celebrations for Natal Day, the city’s 167th birthday, was held at the Beaconsfield Carriage House and honoured volunteers and community members who have devoted their time and efforts to making Charlottetown a better place to live, work, and enjoy.
“Natal Day is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and recognize the achievements, dedication, and accomplishments of the residents of Charlottetown,” said Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown. “Everyone receiving recognition tonight has contributed, in their unique way, to the betterment of our city and Charlottetown’s cultural identity.”
The Citizen Recognition Awards recognize extraordinary Charlottetown residents who go above and beyond to positively impact the people and community around them. This year, three residents of Charlottetown were recognized: Jack Arsenault, John W. Andrew, and Myrtle Jenkins-Smith.
The Forbes Kennedy Volunteer of the Year Award was established in 2019 in honour of Forbes Kennedy, a Canadian retired professional ice hockey player who approached his 30-year on-ice career with commitment and determination. The award goes to someone in the community who has made a positive impact and shows the same dedication and determination exemplified by “Forbie” himself. The 2021 Forbes Kennedy Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Howard Watts.
The City of Charlottetown David’ Eli’ MacEachern Bursary was established in recognition of Prince Edward Island’s first Olympic Gold Medalist, Charlottetown native David ‘Eli’ MacEachern. It is presented annually to a student graduating from Charlottetown Rural High School, Colonel Gray High School, or École François-Buote, who is dedicated to excellence in sports during their high school years. The 2021 recipient of the David Eli MacEachern Bursary is Ria Johnston, a Colonel Gray Senior High School student.
The Heroes of the Pandemic Awards is a new award given to Charlottetown residents who have contributed, enhanced, or positively impacted the city since the pandemic began. The recipients include Zachary Gould, Joshua Hood, Earl Ganga, Maria Ganga, and Mark Catane.
“We are fortunate to live in a City that has so many selfless people. This has never been more evident than during the pandemic,” said Member of Parliament for Charlottetown Sean Casey. “Unsung heroes merit recognition and should be celebrated. The Government of Canada understands the importance of community and proudly supports the City’s initiative to publicly thank those who make Charlottetown a truly special place.“
The event and the new awards category was made possible thanks to funding provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Celebration and Commemoration Program, Reopening Fund Component.
About the 2022 Recipients:
Citizen Recognition Awards:
Jack Arsenault has dedicated 46 years to the safety of our residents as a crossing Guard at St. Peter’s Road. Over the years, countless students have relied on him to get to school safely. No matter the weather, Jack is on St. Peter’s Road every school morning, helping students and teachers at Parkdale Elementary School, senior residents, or anyone else crossing the street.
John W. Andrew is a fourth-generation resident of East Royalty who has led a distinguished career as a medical physicist in both P.E.I. and Nova Scotia. In 2019, John and his wife Christine donated the 6.6-acre Andrew’s Pond North to the City of Charlottetown, the largest body of fresh water in Charlottetown. John Andrew is a strong advocate for protecting and improving the Wright’s Creek Watershed, an area with significant historic, scenic, and recreational benefits to Charlottetown citizens. Since then, John has worked tirelessly to complete several restoration and improvement projects that benefit this vital natural area.
Myrtle Jenkins-Smith has been a tireless volunteer in our community for decades. For 30 years, she volunteered and advocated for Islanders living with spinal cord injuries and related disabilities. Myrtle is the founder and race director of the P.E.I. Marathon, as well as a founding member and past president of the P.E.I. Fitness Council. She is the chair of the Charlottetown Area Terry Fox Run. She has also actively fundraised and been involved in various community boards, including Alzheimer’s P.E.I., Canadian Cancer Society, IODE, Canada Summer and Winter Games, the Upper Room Food Back, the Charlottetown Winter Carnival, and more.
Forbes Kennedy Volunteer of the Year Award:
Howard Watts has been actively involved in boxing for over 55 years. He has coached at the provincial and national levels and served as an assistant coach at the international level. Howard has also participated as an athlete and coach at the Canada Games level. Since establishing the KO-ED Boxing Club in Charlottetown more than 40 years ago, Howard has created a valuable space for youth to build community and receive mentorship. For decades, he has fostered an environment where youth can achieve personal goals, develop self-confidence, and turn the skills learned at boxing into life-long lessons.
David ‘Eli’ MacEachern Bursary:
Ria Johnston has been involved in various soccer teams, including the Prince Edward Island Football Club, where she trained for the Canadian Nationals, and the Canada Games development team for the upcoming 2022 summer games in Niagara, Ontario. She has also excelled in many other sports, including powerlifting, rugby, and more. Beyond her remarkable dedication to sports, Ria is also an exceptional musician and flutist, contributing to the success of Colonel Gray’s music department. The David ‘Eli’ MacEachern Bursary will go towards Ria’s studies in biology at UPEI, where she has committed to the UPEI Panthers Women’s soccer team.
Heroes of the Pandemic Awards:
Zachary Gould has gone above and beyond his call of duty as a Police Officer since joining the Charlottetown Police Services 8 years ago. Cst. Gould has been recognized for saving a life during a water rescue in April 2020 and saving two more lives from a burning building in 2021. Cst. Gould serves as the Indigenous Liaison Officer and is now the lead Officer with the Community Wellness Unit, working alongside the mobile Mental Health Team. He has responded to over 580 mental health calls since starting his role with the C.W.U.
Joshua Hood has given back to his community through music. He brought music to the City’s Christmas parades and has done virtual dance parties at Capital New Year and the Winter Lights Festival in partnership with the City of Charlottetown. Josh has brought smiles and fun to thousands of people at these activities alone. Josh was recognized with a Hero of the Pandemic award for his dedication to bringing people together through music during the pandemic.
Earl Ganga Earl works as a Resident Care Worker and has been a lifeline to residents in nursing homes. Long before the pandemic, older adults relied on people like Earl to keep them healthy and offer support. Since 2020, the roles of resident care workers have become even more critical. Earl has put in many overtime hours throughout the pandemic and continues to be there when needed despite staffing challenges.
Maria Ganga has gone above and beyond her regular duties as a nurse, working in Charlottetown nursing homes throughout the pandemic. She has worked long hours to assist residents sick with COVID in addition to her typical duties as a nurse. Maria was recognized with a Hero of the Pandemic Award for her work with vulnerable members of our community and for exhibiting patience and kindness.
Mark Catane has served his community during the pandemic while working as an airline worker. Mark stepped up in the early days of the pandemic to provide essential operational support at the airport when needed. Airline workers have, throughout the pandemic, faced elevated risk as they deal closely with many passengers travelling worldwide. Mark’s dedication to his work and conscientiousness while serving as an essential worker has helped move things and people where they need to go.