The Isleawards are aimed at recognizing the achievements of our friends and neighbours, those volunteers who do what they do not for accolades but to make the Island a better place to live.
It’s the first year for the awards, which, surprisingly, are the concept of a come-from-away, as we on Prince Edward Island like to call those not born here.
Alex Maine, a native of the U.K., is the man behind the Isleawards. He along with wife, an Islander, Natalie Maine (need Bernard), thought of the awards while living overseas and, last spring, the Isleawards were born.
The concept of the awards is to recognize Islanders who made a difference, from someone like Eva Gallant, a recipient this year and life-long volunteer; to Summerside’s Generation XX, which has been providing a safe place for local youth to hang out, learn new skills and to volunteer not only at the club but in their community.
The concept of the awards is one that is simple and one that surprisingly no one else had thought of.
While we as Islanders work alongside many great people who give of their time, who butter toast for youngsters at various school breakfast programs, who deliver meals to the shut-in or spend countless hours working in a hospital gift shop, it is unfortunate that we haven’t given thought to step back and recognize these works and these individuals.
A staggering 233 nominations for the Isleawards were received by the Maines, a clear indication that there are so many people out there doing great things in their respective communities.
The awards, kudos and congratulations will be doled on the winners at a special ceremony on April 27 at Summerside’s Loyalist Lakeview Resort. The winners are varied, from the young, like preteen Kamylle Bonenfant, to organizations like the Rotary Club of Summerside and the East Royalty Lions Club, which have been doing good work for decades.
But before the accolades are officially bestowed on these recipients in April, why not take the time out to thank that volunteer in your community, that person who is the first to sign up to help with that benefit dance or that church supper.
Let’s not wait for a special awards ceremony to thank those who deserve it.