Oyster Festival presents community awards

Eric McCarthy
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TYNE VALLEY -- A past-president of the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival, and two of the driving forces on the festival’s current organizing committee were among the recipients as the festival handed out its community awards on Sunday. Former president Gary MacKay was named citizen of the year while cousins Jeff Noye and Crystal MacKendrick were co-winners of the volunteer of the year award.

Special community awards were presented to Tyne Valley and area residents during the concluding program of the 50th annual Tyne Valley Oyster Festival on Sunday. Award winners are, seated from left, Mary Milligan, Women’s Institute member of the year; Gary MacKay, citizen of the year; Jenna Smith, youth of the year and Jeff Noye and Crystal MacKendrick, volunteers of the year. 

Other community awards presented Sunday went to Jenna Smith for youth of the year and Mary Milligan for Women’s Institute’s member of the year.

Volunteers of the Year

MacKendrick and Noye, both school teachers by profession, have long been active volunteers in their community and were recognized for dedicating countless hours to make things happen, right from their teenage years onward.

MacKendrick assists with Relay for Life, Remembrance Day service and Safe Grad and Prom activities at Westisle and is a school mentor. She also volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside.

Noye has been active in coaching, fundraisers, trivia and as an actor with the Tyne Valley Players. As a legion member maintains a close connection with veterans.

Both recipients are recognized as ambassadors for the Oyster Festival and for hands-on involvement in planning, hosting, promoting and fundraising for the festival and for helping to coordinate and arrange volunteers.

Citizen of the Year

A summer visitor for many years, MacKay retired to Birch Hill in 2003 and has become a dedicated and hardworking member of the community. He was vice-president of Green Park Development Corporation, assisted with expansion of Tyne Valley Downs and the set-up of a new cider plant. He chaired the oyster festival for eight years and developed a seven-year business plan for the festival.

Youth of the Year

Jenna Smith is described as a rink rat, always there to cheer on youngsters and family members in their sporting endeavours, but the community cheers loudly for her, too. She recently returned from the Special Olympics in Vancouver with two gold medals and a silver medal. She’s a dedicated patron of all the local festivals and community fundraisers, and is known for her community spirit, family and church involvement and for sharing baked treats with her friends. She’s also part of a trivia team named in her honour.

W.I. Member of the Year

Mary Milligan has been an Institute member for 70 years and has held every office. She is currently vice-president of the Poplar Grove-MacNeills Mills WI. She works tirelessly for the WI and is also an active member of the Victoria West United Church.

Since her marriage in 1949 she was a full-time homemaker for her husband and their six children.  She also cared for her aging parents and, later, for her husband when his health began to fail. Following his death the Grammy of nine helped provide care for elderly individuals in their homes. She’s also a go-to person for anyone who requires a history lesson on an event from years ago. She’s kept a daily diary since she was a little girl. She knits, crochets, quilts and spends time with her grandchildren and continues to check regularly on individuals in her community who live alone or who are ill.

Organizations: Boys and Girls Club of Summerside, Tyne Valley Players, Green Park Development Special Olympics Victoria West United Church

Geographic location: Vancouver

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