Keddie honoured at town dinner

FORT FRANCES—The Town of Fort Frances saluted 2006 “Citizen of the Year” June Keddie, as well as retirees and employees who have reached 25 years of service, at its annual appreciation dinner Friday night at La Place Rendez-Vous.
As she was greeted on stage by 1994 “Citizen of the Year” Mark Kowalchuk and 2000 honouree Bill Gushulak, Keddie clearly was humbled over being recognized for her years of volunteer work here.
“It’s so rewarding being a volunteer,” Keddie said as she gave a brief history of the work she’s done over the years—beginning in her youth in England volunteering to be a pen pal to the son of a soldier in World War II.
She later worked at a war hospital there before coming to Canada in 1957 and continuing to give her time to others.
Keddie eventually arrived in Fort Frances in 1964, when she got involved with the Fort Frances Retarded Association.
She and her husband, Jim, then moved to Thunder Bay in 1966, where she volunteered at Port Arthur General Hospital.
When the Keddie returned here in 1988, she began volunteering at the day hospital and joined groups like the St. John’s Anglican Church Guild.
Keddie’s volunteer work broadened its focus when she learned she had breast cancer in 1995. She was “devastated” at first by the ordeal, but persevered and went on to use her experience to help others.
She joined the local Canadian Cancer Society, started volunteering at the chemotherapy unit here, and also got involved with the Rainy River District Breast Health Network, “Relay for Life,” “Spirit of Christmas,” and other cancer-related groups and events.
Keddie, 77, stressed all women should be aware of the breast cancer early detection program at Riverside and be screened on a regular basis.
She thanked the people who nominated her, the “Citizen of the Year” selection committee, her husband, and all her friends, as well as her fellow volunteers in all the groups she’s involved with.
Keddie received a “Citizen of the Year” plaque, and her photo will hang in the Civic Centre along with all the previous honourees.
< *c>Other honourees
Also at Friday night’s dinner, tax collector Ed Katona and local firefighter Hugh McKinnon were recognized as retirees and thanked for their years of service to the town (McKinnon actually retired in 2005, but could not attend last year’s dinner).
As well, the dinner recognized those employees who reached 25 years of service with the town. They included Darryl Crowe, Tim Grynol, Nicholas Hnatiuk, Dorian Lindholm, Brian Lee, and Milt Strachan Jr.
Past retirees and employees who previously had reached 25 years of service also were noted Friday night.
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.
A moment of silence was held to note the deaths of past town employees William “Toolie” Kawulia, Arvie Soderholm, and Tom (Tuck) Yuill, and former councillor Gus Lindberg, all of whom passed away in the past year, as well as Reg Wreggitt, who passed away in 2005.
Town CAO Mark McCaig was emcee for the evening. Mayor-elect Roy Avis and Couns. John Albanese, Tannis Drysdale, and Rick Wiedenhoeft also participated in the program.
(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)