Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Kendra Shot and Ron Shupe were chosen as the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) Volunteers of the Year for 2021.
The two were chosen out of nine nominees under the municipality's Ripple Effect Volunteer Recognition program by random draw at the RQM council meeting February 23.
Shot and Shupe will now represent RQM and receive an award at the Provincial Volunteer Awards ceremony that will be held virtually on April 26. About 70 volunteers are honoured each year at the provincial event.
RQM Mayor Darlene Norman lauded the significant contribution volunteers make to the area.
"Our volunteers are one of our greatest assets in Queens County, and recognition of their work, and how they contribute to life in Queens County, is important," she commented in a news release.
Shot has been a volunteer in Queens County for years and in a variety of capacities. A resident of Hunts Point, in the past she's co-chaired the Queens County Seafest in Brooklyn and Privateer Days in Liverpool.
In 2019, she initiated the Queens County Santa's for Seniors program. For the past two years, she has coordinated with the community to bring Christmas gifts to 551 seniors in the region.
She has also volunteered for music weeks and curling club events held in Liverpool.
"I am grateful. It's nice to be recognized, but on the other hand I'm not the type of person that needs a pat on the back," said Shot. "I'd rather do things incognito."
Shot's mother was an active volunteer. "So, I followed by example, I was always involved with her. I learned it's not what you give, it's what you give back," said Shot. "I also have my boys involved with the Santa's for Seniors program and it's taught them a lot."
Looking ahead to Christmas 2021, Shot said that the Santa's for Seniors program will be expanding more into the North Queens area. Forty seniors from the Caledonia area received Christmas gifts last year. A group from that area has stepped up to help with the program and a rising number of participants is expected.
Meanwhile, Shupe has offered his volunteer services with the Milton Community Association for the past 15 years, 12 of them as a member of the board of directors.
"I was actually quite surprised. I know there were a lot of really good volunteers that were part of the process," Shupe said upon receiving the news that he was the co-winner of the Volunteer of the Year award. "I was quite honoured."
Over the years, Shupe has been in charge of the association's bar and the bingo program. He also helps with suppers throughout the year, and volunteers as a floor hockey coach with the Special Olympics.