The former Junior Citizen of the Year for the Town of Fort Frances, Ray Calder Jr. Jr., is going to Western University in London to study engineering.
Calder was nominated for his community involvement during the pandemic when he organized a COVID delivery service. This service is a free grocery delivery service that was offered to residents who could not leave their homes to get their food.
The delivery group also received donations from the Rainy River Future Development Corporation that they used for gas. They donated the rest of the Go Local cards to the Salvation Army.
“It was just a small idea that I ran past my parents talking about organizing the group to deliver groceries,” Calder said. “It just snowballed from there and we had 30 volunteers in the end and over 100 deliveries done. They were all just volunteers that were using their own time out of their day to help these people.”
The delivery service ran for a limited time until June 2020. After that, Fort Frances Mayor June Caul called Calder about his Junior Citizen of the Year nomination.
“That was really humbling,” Calder said. “I was so surprised by that. It was really amazing. Anyone who got a delivery was always very grateful. Community involvement is the most selfless thing someone can do without getting anything back. It’s opened up a lot of different doors for me and even gotten recognized by the town.”
Calder said the pandemic has forced him to come out of his comfort zone because he has always been very quiet and focused on his schoolwork. Calder added that he encourages everyone to volunteer their time and energy to helping others without any gains.
“I made new connections. From there I was voted as valedictorian, which I initially did not want. I’m not the best public speaker,” Calder said.
“I had just three days to prepare and ended up doing very well. My biggest role models are honestly both my parents.”
Calder added that he is excited for the next chapter in his life, but is also looking forward to the next summer when he can spend time with his family and friends in town.
As for post graduation goals, Calder said he has no solid view of what is yet to come in terms of long term plans to move back to town.
“That’s something that I do ponder often. I love Fort Frances and I love spending time at the cabin,” Calder said.
“I love the atmosphere of this town. If I do end up doing civil engineering, I know there are a lot of jobs around here. Maybe when I’m older, I would like to move back here. There’s something about just being able to go up the lake and how calm the town is. And everybody’s so polite here and kind.”