Town honours employees, volunteers

The Town of Fort Frances took time out to say “thanks” to its employees and volunteers during its annual appreciation dinner Friday night at the Red Dog Inn.
Mayor Glenn Witherspoon noted about 25-30 percent of the population of Fort Frances and the surrounding area volunteer their time to make the town a “better place to work, live, and play.”
“It certainly makes my job easier as mayor,” he noted.
“The town would not be as great as it is without the volunteers in the community,” echoed Coun. Dave Bourgeault. “I take my hat off to all of you.”
CAO Bill Naturkach said the town’s volunteers–along with Civic Centre staff and council–have had a landmark year, accomplishing many tasks together.
He noted the recent delegation from Namibia, Africa had a chance to see two examples of volunteer events. The first was the annual dinner/dance held by “Friends of the Library,” with the second being a meeting of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship committee.
“One of their closing remarks to me was Fort Frances benefits from its volunteers,” Naturkach said.
Times publisher Jim Cumming also was formally honoured Friday night as the town’s 1999 Citizen of the Year.
“I don’t deserve this,” Cumming said. “I have been fortunate in my life in Fort Frances to work with some terrific people. It’s the people I worked with that have really made the difference.
“That’s what I want you to think about,” he stressed.
The town also recognized its long-term and retiring employees. Nancy Lockman leaves with 32 years of service while John DeFrancesco retires after 22 years.
Retiring from the Fort Frances Fire Department were Capt. Lyle Fleming after 30 years, and Capt. Garth Lockman, who also served 30 years with the town.
Lorne Whalen, and Micaela Jensen were honoured for 25 years of service with the town.
There was a moment of silence for former employees Wileena Runkowski and Gerry Tetu, who both passed away earlier this year.
“Not only to the volunteers, but to these people, we owe thanks for a lifetime of work,” Mayor Witherspoon said. “We say thank you to the volunteers, we say thank you to the employees that are still with us and have retired.”