Town honours top citizen, employees at dinner

  The Town of Fort Frances recognized its retirees and employees who have reached 25 years of service, as well as 2004 “Citizen of the Year” Joyce Gosselin, at its annual appreciation dinner Friday night at La Place Rendez-Vous.
“I appreciate Fort Frances very much. It is my town,” Gosselin beamed before the crowd of 140 people on hand for the dinner.
Gosselin thanked the Citizen of the Year selection committee for choosing her and everyone else who has supported her over the years, particularly Marlene Deschamps, one of the three people who nominated her (the other two were Vanessa Hebert of the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau and OPP S/Sgt. Hugh Dennis).
Gosselin stressed she’s taking her responsibilities as Citizen of the Year seriously, and looks forward to participating in events like the Santa Claus parade this Saturday.
“Whatever it is, I will be there on time. I’ll do everything I can for the town,” she remarked. “I’ll do my best. I’ll try to be a good citizen for the rest of my life.”
Bill Gushulak, the 2000 “Citizen of the Year” and a member of the selection committee, introduced Gosselin with a list of her good works, which include selling raffle tickets for the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, and biking and walking for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Terry Fox Run, and the Canadian Cancer Society,
She’s also rung bells for the Salvation Army kettle campaign at Christmas, volunteered at the local soup kitchen and at the community Christmas dinner, participated in the OPP Special Olympics Torch Run, and coached youth baseball.
That’s not to mention her achievements as an athlete. Back in February, Gosselin participated in the 2004 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, where she qualified for competition in snowshoeing at the world games in Nagano, Japan this coming February.
Gosselin noted she’ll try her best to represent the town she loves best at the world games.
And in October, she won the Female Athlete of the Year award from Special Olympics Ontario. She also was featured in a special broadcast on TSN.
Gosselin received a “Citizen of the Year” plaque, and her photo will hang in the Civic Centre along with all the previous honourees.
Meanwhile, the only retiree this year was Bruce Spottiswood, who retired last month after 17 years with the town.
Known most recently as the town’s Environmental and Facilities superintendent since Aug. 1, Spottiswood started with the town back in July, 1987 as Public Works manager—a role that then became Superintendent of Works (Facilities) when the town restructured its management in 1993.
Over the years, his job has entailed not only ensuring the water and sewage treatment plants were operating properly, but also looking after water distribution, waste management (including the landfill and recycling), and preventive building maintenance.
He also was involved in overseeing the operation of all town facilities, whether it was new flooring at the Sister Kennedy Centre or checking into an air quality concern at the Memorial Sports Centre.
Spottiswood noted the job hasn’t always been easy. It’s been said “every time you get a positive comment, you get 13 complaints,” but when one’s working for the town, the ratio was more like 22 to 1, he remarked.
But Spottiswood added he’s enjoyed his time on the job over the past 17 years, particularly due to the quality and character of other employees he’s gotten to work with.
He was given a plaque by Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig and Mayor Dan Onichuk.
The dinner also recognized three employees who have achieved 25 years of service with the town. This year’s honourees included Terry Martin and Dan Mattson, both of the Public Works department, and public utility clerk Patricia Roy.
Past retirees and employees who have in the past reached 25 years of service also were noted.
The program also included recognition of spouses of deceased employees, councillors, management, media, and the 30-plus town boards and committees, which include town staff and councillors as well as citizens among their membership.
And a moment of silence was taken to note the passing of Reginald Wreggitt and Hubert Searle, past employees who passed away in the last year.
Darryl Allan, the town’s manger of information technology, was emcee for the evening. He ended the program with a few jokes that had the room in stitches.
The dinner was organized by administrative assistant Loreen Holt.