Diane and Bill Spielvogel --Acton
Acton residents Diane and Bill Spielvogel, longtime organizers of the Acton Santa Claus Parade, have been named the 2007 Acton Citizens of the Year. The couple have been organizing the annual grand entrance of the jolly old elf to Acton for more than 25 years.
The couple responsible for ensuring Santa Claus is ushered into Acton in style each November has been named the 2007 Acton Citizens of the Year. Bill and Diane Spielvogel, longtime organizers of the Acton Santa Claus Parade, were selected from seven different nominees earlier this week by three previous citizens of the year. "The three judges-- Janis Fread, Dr. George Elliot and Dale Hewitt-- felt that Bill and Diane stood out for their tireless work over the past 25 years to stage the annual Acton Santa Claus Parade," said Brian Robertson, of Acton Rotary Club, which runs the Citizen of the Year program. "Although the Acton Firefighters are the sponsors, it's Bill and Diane who are behind its success, Bill as the `Chief Elf' so to speak, and Diane riding right beside him." One nominator praised the couple for all their hard work. "It is one thing to be involved in the community but a substantial step-up to be as committed as Bill and Diane have for so many years. The payoff for such dedicated workwell, is just like Christmas Day itself, the parade is a sight to behold." Parade chairman Bill said they were "surprised and pleased" to be named Acton's top citizens. He became chairman in 1986 when he was a volunteer Acton firefighter and continued on in the role when he retired from the department in 1989. "They just asked me to keep doing it, well, I said sure," said Bill.
Diane's been helping with the organization of the popular parade since her husband became involved. "I'm kind of the secretary, his back-up person," said Diane. She and Bill have been married for 50 years and have three children. She said Bill actually starts organizing the next year's parade during the current parade. That's when he starts lining up the bands for next year. "Bill has such a system going now," she said. Throughout the year they send out a mailing to businesses requesting financial support for the parade and closer to the big day they line up the many floats that will appear. "You couldn't do it without the support of the firefighters, the community and Santa Claus," said Diane. "We couldn't be more pleased with the support we're getting from the town," said Bill. He stressed there are many, many people who help out with the event, making it a success. He said the Acton firefighters "are all out there working real hard" on parade day. Both Bill and Diane love organizing the parade. "To us it's not a job, it's not a chore. We do it for kids of all ages," said Diane. Bill said he will continue on as parade chairman "as long as I can, or else I'm fired." The couple will be recognized at a dinner organized by the Rotary Club in their honour to be held likely sometime in May.
Louise Brown --Georgetown
Georgetown Citizen of the Year for 2006, Louise Brown lends a hand to cancer survivor Janet Tellier, helping her into the car, as Brown has helped countless cancer patients, when she drives them to Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment. Brown will be recognized April 24 at an awards banquet in her honour, hosted by the Lions Club of Georgetown.
A local woman who volunteers more than 2,000 hours of her time each year has earned the distinction of being named Georgetown's Citizen of the Year for 2006. Louise Brown will be recognized April 24 at an awards banquet in her honour, hosted by the Lions Club of Georgetown, which runs the Citizen of the Year program. "It was quite a shock, very humbling," said Brown of her reaction when she was told she was Georgetown's top citizen. Brown, who has lived in the area for 39 years with her husband Paul, is a retired nurse. While raising their four children she worked for more than 25 years as a volunteer with local schools including Holy Cross, St. Brigid and St. Catherine of Alexandria. She is also a longtime parishioner of Holy Cross Church. But it is her volunteer work with cancer patients that Lions Club member Doug Penrice says is where she has had the most impact. Brown originally volunteered with the Canadian Cancer Society and then with Cancer Assistance Services of Halton Hills (CAS-HH) where she is currently Director of Patient Services, co-ordinating the services and providing much-needed equipment to local cancer patients. On top of that, Brown also still continues to drive cancer patients three to four times each week for treatment in Toronto, Kitchener, Mississauga or Hamilton, sometimes waiting up to 14 hours so she can bring the patients home again. "In an average month Louise will visit 155 patients providing support, delivering equipment and supplies to those at their most vulnerable time in their lives. Her generous spirit extends to her fellow volunteers when she brings homemade treats and gifts to the cancer office," said Penrice. Brown, a breast cancer survivor whose parents both died of cancer, thrives on her volunteer work. "I enjoy it. It's very rewarding to know that you have helped someone else," said Brown. "We've had so many wonderful volunteers here at the (CAS-HH) office." She said she's been fortunate in that her husband is very understanding of her commitment to volunteering. In addition to her volunteering at CAS-HH, Brown, a grandmother of three, also traveled to Hamilton each week for five years to help her niece with her three small children. "We do not understand what Louise runs on by always offering to help anyone," said Anu Goel, volunteer Treasurer of CAS-HH in her nomination letter for Brown. "This dynamite package of neighbourly love comes with a quiet zeal and sincere desire to help others." She said Brown's "selflessness" is so evident in all aspects of her life. "She did not feel sorry for herself years ago when diagnosed with cancer when her children were very young. She won her battle and was determined to not waste life and has been a real inspiration to all who have been touched by her kindness." Tickets for the Citizen of the Year awards dinner in Brown's honour at Lions Hall are available through Penrice at 905-873-8469 and also at the Carpet Barn.