Killaloe – The Best of Killaloe Awards were presented at a reception at the Lions Hall last Thursday with 21 people from the township being recognized in seven different categories for their involvement in community life in Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards Township.

The format took on that of an Emmy Awards night with the nominees in each category being announced alphabetically followed by the presenter opening the envelope and announcing the award recipients, beginning with bronze, then silver and gold.

Emcee Lynn Flokstra expressed her thanks to all nominees who make the community a great place to live, work and play.

“You are all here today because your efforts have not gone unnoticed,” she said. “Your community has chosen to recognize you, to say thank you, your service is greatly appreciated.”

She expressed her thanks to the community sponsors for their ongoing support in making the awards possible and also to the community itself for sharing their nominees for the Best of Killaloe.

“The response for the awards was terrific this year with more nominations than last year,” she said.

She also gave a big thanks to the Lions Club for its major sponsorship of the program and for hosting the reception.

Ms. Flokstra said all nominees are golden in their books.

“They are those individuals who rise to the top, who go out of their way for others, those whose actions contribute to making our community a place we are glad to call home,” she said. “This evening we acknowledge their valuable contributions toward making a difference in their neighbourhood, their community groups, their places of work, as volunteers, mentors, business leaders and community elders.”

The Awards

Outstanding Volunteer Award

This award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding volunteer contribution through their time, actions, talents and dedication towards improving the well-being of people in Killaloe and area. The award is sponsored by the municipality.

The Bronze Award went to Bruce Burnett who was nominated for his years of volunteer service at the Killaloe library, the Farmers Market and the Killaloe Lions Club, and others. Bruce works quietly behind the scenes and is a dedicated volunteer.

The Silver Award recipient was Donna Marie Cyblulskie nominated for her work with the Killaloe Foodbank and Killaloe Seniors Friendship Club where she is the Program Coordinator. Her programming has been phenomenal and features a broad range of exciting activities. From cooking classes to fishing trips, she’s been instrumental in bringing people together for friendship and fellowship.

The Gold Award went to Rachelle Clayton, one of the busiest volunteers in the community with active involvement in many local organizations and groups. One of her longest serving volunteer efforts is with the Killaloe Heritage and Ecology Society, and the Killaloe Farmers Market. She served several terms as president of the Killaloe Lions Club, and is on the board of the Killaloe Friendship Club. She also coordinates the Killaloe Soccer Club. She helps make a difference in Killaloe and area and she does it all with a smile and a friendly demeanour.

The Outstanding Volunteer awards were presented to Lynne Postill, representing husband Bruce Burnett, Bronze; Donna Marie Cybulskie, Silver, and Rachelle Clayton, Gold, by Mayor Dave Mayville.

Community Elder Award

This award recognizes a senior individual or group (60+) who has made an outstanding positive contribution to their community over a lifetime and in so doing improved the quality of life in Killaloe and area. The award is sponsored by CRC Senior Active Living Centre.

Bronze Award — Lillis Ashford. She has been an active community advocate for decades serving for over 40 years as a member and then president of the Killaloe Lionettes. She volunteered with Meals on Wheels for years and is a familiar face in the annual Killaloe Santa Claus parades.

Silver Award — Rose-Anne Boucher — for her volunteer efforts on several fronts. She is tenacious in her support of local causes and community projects and brings a great sense of humour to all she does.

Gold Award — Terry Walsh,  a cornerstone of Killaloe, an ever-present warm soul with an inimitable charm and connection with the past, shared through his entertaining style of storytelling and characters, often in his famous Valley accents. Terry has spent years entertaining with his harmonica and stories at seniors homes and invariably brings a smile to all their faces.  He’s quick to lend a hand when asked and has the energy of someone half his age. 

The Community Elder Awards were presented to Terry Walsh, Gold; Rose-Ann Boucher, Silver, and Lillis Ashford, Bronze, by Jen Bennett-Pond.

Youth Award

This award recognizes a youth individual or group (age 18 years and under) actively involved in their community, has made positive contributions towards improving the quality of life in Killaloe and area.

The award is sponsored by the Community Resource Centre.

Bronze: Nick Jahoor, a Grade 10 student at MVDHS, for his volunteer efforts with the Killaloe Farmers Market and Lions Club. An active Air Cadet, Nic plans to join the Air Force to help pay for his education in engineering. 

Silver: Hailey LeBlanc, a Grade 11 student at MVDHS, who has volunteered for years for the CRC Youth Programs. An active mentor at RISE Empowerment and Impact Youth Mentoring programs, she volunteers in the kitchen to ensure healthy snack are prepared and distributed fairly. She makes the cooking program more positive and fun by sharing her ideas, her hard work and sense of humour.

Gold: Ruby Kubisewsky, a Grade 9 student at MVDHS. She graduated from KPS last year as valedictorian and served as Student Council President. She is on Student Council at MVDHs and is on the Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards Student Shadow Council. She volunteers to help at Lions Club and Friendship Club events. Her positive community spirit helps make Killaloe a wonderful place to be.

The Youth Awards were presented to Ruby Kubisewsky, Gold; Hailey Leblanc, Silver, and Nick Jahoor by Bil Smith.

Community Group/Organization Award

This award celebrates a community organization (non-profit, charity, service group) that has made an outstanding contribution toward making Killaloe and area a better and more accessible place for people of all ages and abilities. The award is sponsored by Summers Brothers Ford.

Bronze: Killaloe BIA for hosting and organizing some fun and exciting new events and activities in the community, that helped make downtown more vibrant.

Silver: Killaloe Seniors Friendship Club for their efforts on behalf of Killaloe and area seniors. This has been an exciting year for the club with many new programs, events and activities, bringing seniors together in fun and friendship. 
Gold: Staff of the Community Resource Centre for years of service to the community. They are so welcoming. From the minute you go through the door you are made to feel welcome. They do an amazing job bringing all manner of programs to the community including pregnant and new mothers, babies, toddlers and youth programs and active living programming for seniors to name just a few. 

The Community Group/Organization Awards were presented to Jeanette Stoppa, CRC; Anne Pohl, Killaloe Friendship Club, Silver and Chris Neff, Killaloe BIA by Jim Homer.

Business of the Year

This award celebrates the positive contribution a local business has made to the community through job creation and their business leadership that strengthens the Killaloe and area business community and leaves a lasting legacy.  The award is sponsored by the Killaloe BIA.  

Bronze: Eva’s Café – Schoolhouse Inn — for their diversity of business in one location, bringing a much-needed restaurant and accommodations to the area. Eva also generously donated baked goods for the CRC’s food drive.

Silver: Engine House Cafe — for their vision and efforts in rejuvenating their building and opening a new café that has created several new jobs as the newest eatery and coffee shop in the village

Gold: Garth’s Kitchen for their tremendous efforts in keeping local community events alive. The annual Christmas Dinner of Good Cheer and the IWD celebration. Garth’s Kitchen created several jobs for Ukrainian refugees at their café to help them integrate into the community.

The Business of the Year Awards were presented to Sandor and Eva Kiss of Eva’s Café Schoolhouse Inn, Bronze; Mellissa and Brook Tremback, Engine House Cafe, Silver, and Naomi Bilstrom and Garth Waterson, Garth’s Café, Gold, by Chris Neff.

Best Neighbour Award

It recognizes individuals or families who go out of their way to strengthen a sense of community through their acts of kindness in their neighbourhood. The award is sponsored by McCarthy’s Fuels and Propane.

Bronze: Stasia Cybulskie for her years being a very caring and generous neighbour. People may know Stasia for her great cooking, having prepared and served the food for 50 to 60 percent of Killaloe and area weddings over the years, but she also bakes and donates to several local groups as well as her very grateful neighbours. At 90, she is still going strong, delivering home baked treats to her neighbours homes and meals for families in need. Stasia is treasured by her neighbourhood.

Silver: Sandra McCue Borutski who was nominated for her efforts in helping her neighbours and her community. She started the Give & Take Round Lake where people who need it can get furniture and household items. She is noted in her neighbourhood as a great community spirit.

Gold: Garth Watterson and Naomi Billstrom who have sponsored two Ukrainian refugee couples to come to Killaloe and assisting with their integration into the community. They provided, shelter, food and jobs to help them get on their feet and get settled. Garth and Naomi regularly give to and mentor people in need without judgement and with a spirit of friendship and generosity.

The Best Neighbour Awards were presented to Garth Waterson and Naomi Bilstrom, Gold; Sandra McCue Borutski, Silver, and Stasia Cybulskie, Bronze, by Jim Homer.

Peter Benner Community Spirit

The award recognizes a person with special qualities who has made a difference in the community; through leadership, dedication, innovation, creativity and care, concern and regard for the natural environment; has made a positive impact and lasting imprint on our community. The award is sponsored by the Killaloe Lions Club in memory of Peter Benner, and active community volunteer and Lions Member who passed away unexpectedly in 2021.

Bronze: Lyall Davis for his unwavering dedication the CHCR Radio station. In Peter’s absence, Lyall has stepped up and is steadfast in his determination to keep the radio station on the air. He devotes his skills, time and energy to CHCR on a daily basis as a volunteer.

Silver: Bryce Selleck for his community spirit and willingness to lend a hand with odd jobs around the village. His warm smile and engaging authenticity endears him to everyone he meets.

Gold: Donna Marie Cybulskie for her positive outlook and her commitment to her community, especially seniors. She worked with youth for most of her adult life and decided to change it up and dedicate her time to seniors’ issues. We are grateful for her hours and hours of dedicated work organizing activities, meals, workshops and events for seniors. She also volunteers her time at the Killaloe Foodbank.

The Peter Benner Community Spirit Awards were presented to Donna Marie Cybulskie, Gold; Bryce Selleck, Silver and Lyle Davis, Bronze, by Jim Homer