Two Prescott-Russell women honoured at Warden’s Banquet
Marie-Claire Ivanski had trouble seeing anyone through the tears in her eyes, Saturday night at the Vankleek Hill Community Centre, when she stepped out in front of the audience to receive the J-P St-Pierre Award for exceptional community service.
“I wasn’t really prepared for this,” Ivanski said, as she tried and failed several times to stifle her sobs. “This is an award for (the memory of) a man who means a lot to all of us.”
Ivanski, a resident of Russell Township, and Louise Sproule, Vankleek journalist and publisher, were both named as this year’s recipients for the J-P St-Pierre Award. They are first dual recipients for the award since it was created in 2015.
The award is in memory of Jean-Paul StPierre, former mayor of Russell Township, who died in 2014, and who was well-known for his love and support of projects and programs that helped both the community at large and individuals in need of aid. The purpose of the J-P St-Pierre Award is to celebrate individuals who make “exceptional contributions” to communities of PrescottRussell.
Ivanski’s nomination for the award stems from her years of volunteer work, both for local projects and programs, and for national organizations like the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. During the past 15 years that Ivanski has been involved with the foundation, she has helped to raise more than $600,000 to assist with breast cancer research, treatment, and support.
Her other volunteer work includes presentations at local schools on health eating, encouraging students to be proactive in their own community, and other issues. Over the years Ivanski has received the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award and its Volunteer Community Service Award, the Ontario Senior of the Year Award, and is one of the Canadian recipients of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Master of ceremonies Stéphane Parisien described Louis Sproule as “a true ambassador for Prescott and Russell” during the presentation of the second J-P St-Pierre Award. “A tour guide, a source of inspiration, a proud resident, business owner, contributor and volunteer. If one were to spend five minutes speaking with this person, her passion would become your passion.”
Owner/publisher for the past 25 years of The Review newspaper, Sproule has also supported community arts, culture and heritage. She has been a mentor to students, local historian, and community volunteer. Outside of the office she has worked as member and president of the Vankleek Hill Business and Merchant Association to foster local economic development, developed the first Prescott-Russell tourism guide, and help create the Higginson Tower restoration project to save a local heritage landmark in the heart of Vankleek Hill, along with helping with the creation of the Vankleek Hill Museum.
The Warden’s Award is an honoured tradition during the annual banquet to recognize the dedicated work, outstanding contribution and professionalism of a municipal employee toward the community and their colleagues. This year’s Warden’s Award recipient is Justin Bromberg, UCPR chief of staff and communications coordinator. Louise Sproule, journaliste et éditrice locale (au centre), est l’une des deux récipiendaires de cette année du Prix commémoratif JP St-Pierre en hommage à son service communautaire exceptionnel. Elle est en compagnie de Jocelyne St-Pierre, veuve de M. St-Pierre, et Gary Barton, président des Comtés unis de Prescott et Russell. La présentation a eu lieu lors du Banquet du président, le 2 décembre, au Centre communautaire de Vankleek Hill. Marie-Claire Ivanski (au centre), d’Embrun, est une « bénévole accomplie » et l’une des deux récipiendaires de cette année du Prix commémoratif JP St-Pierre pour son service communautaire exceptionnel. Elle est ici en compagnie de Jocelyne St-Pierre, veuve de M. St-Pierre, et Gary Barton, président des Comtés unis de Prescott et Russell, La présentation a eu lieu lors du Banquet du président, le 2 décembre, au Centre communautaire de Vankleek Hill.—photo