Top citizen honoured at town dinner

Duane Hicks

Fire chief
set to retire
“Citizen of the Year” Joyce Cunningham was honoured Friday night at the town’s annual appreciation dinner at La Place Rendez-Vous.
Cunningham was not be able to attend because she was in Sudbury for a meeting of the Ontario Library Service North board, which she chairs, so fellow library board member Mark Kowalchuk delivered her speech on her behalf.
Cunningham was recognized mainly for her leadership in making the new Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre a reality, but in her speech, she noted: “I see this award not as recognition of my efforts alone, but also for all of those who worked so tirelessly for so many years.”
“I think that this project has shown that even though we are a small and somewhat isolated community, in working with our partners, using our assets and skills, and having the courage to take some risks, we have been paid amazing dividends,” she stated.
Meanwhile, the town will be looking for a new fire chief in 2011 as Gerry Armstrong is retiring from the Fort Frances Fire Department at the end of the year.
Armstrong, 57, who was among four retirees recognized at Friday’s appreciation dinner, has worked for the town twice over the years.
He began his first tenure in 1975 as a bus driver, became a firefighter here in 1976, and then left in 1986 when he took a job with Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office.
He retired in 2005, but a year later the town asked him to take on the role of fire chief after Steve Richardson left the position.
Armstrong said he will enjoy the retired life, but it is possible he may work for one or more district municipalities in a fire advisory role down the road.
Also recognized at Friday’s dinner were retirees Audrey Tyrvainen (Fort Frances Children’s Complex), Phyllis Kellar (Fort Frances Children’s Complex), and George Supinski (Public Works).
Employees who were recognized for achieving 25 years of service to the Town of Fort Frances included Troy Calder (Fort Frances Power Corp.), Diane Krawchuk (Fort Frances Children’s Complex), and Doug Herr (Operations and Facilities division).
Employees who already have achieved 25 years of service also were recognized.
A moment of silence was observed for former town employees who passed away in the last year, including John Demianiw and Julian Spear, and spouses of deceased employees also were recognized.
The dinner also was an occasion for the town to recognize local media, members of council, the management group, and the volunteers sitting on all of the town’s various boards and committees.