Fort Frances Times’ co-owner and office manager Linda Plumridge has been honoured by the Ontario Community Newspapers Association for her community work.
Plumridge was this year’s recipient of the prestigious Insurance Bureau of Canada Community Award in Memory of Mary Knowles, which recognizes the contributions of individuals and the connection community newspapers have with their communities.
It was presented Friday night during at the OCNA’s annual spring convention in Toronto.
“It’s very flattering,” Plumridge said.
“I don’t really think I do much more than so many other people,” she noted.
“You look around our community and our community is full of really great volunteers who give their time and their effort.”
Plumridge was nominated for the award, which was created by the Ontario Community Newspapers Foundation in memory of Mary Knowles—a dedicated newspaper employee and active community member who passed away from breast cancer in 1996.
“I didn’t know I was nominated so I hadn’t expected it at all,” said Plumridge, admitting she was shocked when she received the phone call last month.
Nominees were considered for their outstanding personal volunteer contributions in their communities, with the duration of service also considered.
Plumridge’s volunteer efforts began in 1976 when she became a full-time employee at the Fort Frances Times.
As a Beta Sigma Phi member, she helped co-ordinate the annual “Daffodil Drive” for the Canadian Cancer Society across Rainy River District.
She also was a longtime volunteer for the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship as a member of its board of directors.
As well, Plumridge helped raise $750,000 to build a new public library here and participated in the Riverside Foundation for Health Care’s campaign to raise $650,000 for a new digital mammography unit in Fort Frances.
Plumridge also has been a member of the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition since 1994, and currently is president of the Safe Communities Rainy River District.
She also serves as co-chair of the local Celebrating Diversity Committee.
As well, Plumridge was a member of the board of directors of OCNA from 2003-09, and served as treasurer.
“Linda is always prepared and willing to step forward, provide leadership, share ideas, and go the extra mile to accomplish growth and success,” the OCNA stated on its website.
It stated that Plumridge generally prefers to applaud the hard work of others and chooses not to receive any accolades for her efforts.
“However, everyone deserves recognition once in a while,” the OCNA noted.
“I feel very humble,” Plumridge said. “And I feel committed to those things that I help with.”
She noted that since Safe Communities was doing such great things, she wanted to help keep it going.
And in raising money through the “Daffodil Drive,” it made her feel good to be a part of it.
“Personally, I don’t think what I do is that unusual,” Plumridge chuckled. “I look around and I see such tremendous things that people put time into that I’m humbled by it.
“It is very nice to be recognized.”
Plumridge said her volunteer work always has been part of committees and groups.
“It’s been extremely rewarding and I’ve met so many terrific people,” she remarked.
“Our community is full of people who volunteer in so many different ways.
“When we volunteer, even the little things help,” she added. “I would encourage others to volunteer.
“People don’t think that what they do is important and it really is,” Plumridge stressed.
She also feels fortunate to be able to volunteer within the community.
“Being part of the family and part of the business, it’s really nice that I can take the time to do those things, to use the resources we have to promote things,” she explained.
“That’s something that people who work for a chain newspaper, they don’t have those same opportunities.”
Times’ co-owner and publisher Jim Community also received this award back in 1998, in addition to Times’ sale rep John Pierce in 2002.
“We’re very fortunate that we have had recognition in our community,” Plumridge said.
“It’s just one of those things we like to do.”