Alberton has named life-long resident George Ray Watson as the recipient of the township’s Senior of the Year Award for 2010.
Watson was honoured at last Wednesday night’s council meeting for his years of service to the community, which included six terms sitting on council and several years working on the rec committee.
“If it wasn’t for people like you, our recreation centre at the Millennium Park would not have progressed to the point it is today,” said Alberton Reeve Mike Hammond while presenting the award to Watson.
“As you now see it, it’s become quite a complex, with the ice rink, sliding hill, picnic area, kids’ play area,” he noted. “And this summer, the installation of exercise equipment for the adults to use while the children are playing.
“Ray, on behalf of the council, residents, and community, I present to you this award for the Senior of the Year for the Township of Alberton,” added Reeve Hammond as those on hand for the meeting gave Watson a hearty round of applause.
“[I was] very surprised and honoured,” Watson recalled upon learning he was this year’s recipient.
“I was quite surprised when it came out in the newsletter, it was quite an honour.
“I lived here all my life, and enjoyed the community. It’s a really good community,” he added, referring to why it’s been important for him to contribute to the community.
“I think I’m retired,” Watson laughed when asked about any future plans.
“I think it’s time for new blood, younger people to get in and get involved,” he remarked.
“We always pick someone who has served the community,” Reeve Hammond explained after the council meeting, citing Watson’s years of service on past councils and his involvement with the rec committee.
“If you’re on a council like this, there’s no money in it and it’s time-consuming—and then you get people yelling at you if you happen to be in a restaurant,” the reeve laughed.
“It’s not a thankful job [but] everybody does it for a reason.”
While Watson’s time spent on the rec committee occurred several years ago (before the community even had the ice rink), Reeve Hammond reasoned Watson’s involvement was one that eventually led to developing what facilities are now in place at the Millennium Park.
The park is coming along “really good” thanks to the government funding, the reeve noted, pointing to how the township has been able to take advantage of the infrastructure funding—such as the Build Canada Fund—that has been available over the past couple of years.
Accessing this government funding required projects that were “shovel ready,” he explained—something that was possible thanks to the rec committee’s ongoing work over the years.
“You just don’t start something today—it takes people from way back to keep it going to have it ready and have a wish list,” Reeve Hammond said, also praising other township residents like Beth Logue for their work on the committee.
“It takes people like that to keep it moving,” he stressed. “If nobody had done anything, [the facilities] wouldn’t be here today.”