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Annual Arthur newcomer and volunteer event welcomes hundreds

The event celebrated seven volunteers and senior of the year, in addition to its newcomer celebration

ARTHUR – Hundreds of people attended the Arthur Arena last night for an annual event celebrating local volunteers and community newcomers alike. 

Featuring a variety of local organization's booths, the annual Volunteer Celebration and Newcomer Welcome at the Arthur Arena and Community Centre hosted almost 200 people to recognize its dedicated volunteers while providing an opportunity for newcomers to connect with available resources. 

"You're a small group but there are a number of volunteers in our community," said Wellington North Mayor Andy Lennox, during the event. "We can't celebrate with everyone unfortunately... but we're really delighted (by who) could be with us to celebrate volunteer week and volunteers in our community." 

The event also recognized the senior of the year, Al Leach, and seven volunteers from across Wellington North. 

According to Lennox, Leach has been a Mount Forest Lions Club member for many years and been a driving force for the Saugeen Valley Children's Safety Village among many other initiatives. 

"Something that makes our community so special is our strong sense of unity and ... Wellington County and Wellington North embody the essence of a close-knit and supportive community," said Senator Rob Black, who attended the event. "One of the cornerstones of this close-knit community is dedication to our volunteers. Your selfless contributions form the very backbone of our society enriching the lives of residents and visitors alike."

When attendees entered the event, they were greeted by the contest submissions for the township's amalgamation celebration. Three finalists will be selected from the art contest to win $1,000 each and display their designs in prominent buildings within the municipality. 

This included work from several artists including Elizabeth L., whose art featured Wellington North as a puzzle and highlights several local landmarks like the old water tower, the Mennonite Community and the Copernicus Nature Reserve. 

The complete list of volunteer awards includes:

- Janice Benson who was "instrumental" in the launch of the Raw Carrot in 2017.

- Paula Coffey because "there isn't much in Arthur without Paula's fingerprints on it."

- Linda Hruska, a member of the Wellington North Cultural Roundtable since its conception and a "key member" of the Four Corners Quilter's Guild.

- Gabriella Kuhlman and Rebecca McDougall, two Wellington Heights students who have volunteered every Wednesday night at the Mount Forest Lions Club for the last three years.

- Jeff McKee for his work with the Arthur Historical Society and several other local organizations.

- Daphne Rappard for her involvement with the Mount Forest Green Team and other volunteer contributions.

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

About the Author: Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Isabel Buckmaster covers Wellington County under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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