Côte Saint-Luc honours volunteers during volunteer recognition evening

The City of Côte Saint-Luc gave awards to 15 volunteers on Saturday evening at the city’s Volunteer Recognition Evening held at the Côte Saint-Luc Gymnasium.

“We thank the hundreds of women, men, teens and kids who volunteers for Côte Saint-Luc 365 days a year,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “Volunteers touch the lives of so many residents, whether it’s our Emergency Medical Services first-responders, our library delivery service to shut-ins, our volunteer Citizens on Patrol, our sports coaches, our parents who travel with teams to outside events, or so many others.”

The list of winners and photos from the event is available at CSLVolunteers.ca. The event co-chairs were Councillors Ruth Kovac and Mitchell Brownstein.

Amos Sochaczevski was awarded the Ambassador of the Year Award, which honours the Côte Saint-Luc resident best portraying charitable qualities and serving the community at large. Sochaczevski has a longstanding history of involvement in community affairs. He was a member of the Côte Saint-Luc Community Leisure Council and volunteered with many sports programs. He bought The Suburban newspaper in 1986 and has used it to promote programs and activities in our community. He has served on the boards of many organizations including B'nai Brith Canada. But his pride in joy is the The Jewish Unity Partnership, an organization he established to coordinate the annual Israel Anniversary Rally which attracts up to 10,000 people each spring. He heads the committee and funds the event entirely. When the new Consul General for Israel, Ziv Nevo Kulman, arrived in town in September, Amos and his wife Judy had him stay at their home over Yom Kippur and brought him to their synagogue, Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation. Amos Sochaczevski is unquestionably a true ambassador for our city.

Victor Waisgrus was awarded the Edward J. Kirwan Award, which Honours the Volunteer of the Year for exceptional contribution to the community Parks and Recreation programs. Waisgrus has been an active member on the sports side of the community for more than a decade. Victor was on the executive of the baseball program. But he’s best known as being president of the Minor Hockey Association for more than a decade. Most people stop volunteering once their children have left a program. Not Victor. His commitment and dedication has been admirable and a true example of volunteerism at its best.

Jack Budovitch was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Budovitch is one of the founding members of the Côte Saint-Luc Men's Club and was president from 1993 to 1996. A veteran of the Second World War, he’s a member of the Royal Canadian Legion and very active in the poppy campaign. He also volunteers at Federation CJA, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Sun Youth, and MADA.

Irving Schok was awarded the William E. Kesler Memorial Trophy, which recognizes a volunteer for their exceptional contribution to the Côte Saint-Luc Parks and Recreation special events programs. Schok has volunteered at many special events over the past few years including Canada Day and the Mega Garage Sale. He's also a member of the volunteer citizens on Patrol. The Valentine Dance, however, been his passion. He was a founding committee member. In 2014, Schok personally sold more than a third of all tickets to the event.

Alexandra Cohen was awarded the Royal Canadian Legion Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 Award, which recognizes the Youth Volunteer of the Year and a leader of tomorrow for outstanding efforts in making a difference in Côte Saint-Luc. Cohen is an outstanding young leader. She produced a nationally recognized video about the Côte Saint-Luc Trap, Neuter, Release/Adopt Program for homeless cats. She takes this film to schools to teach about the humane treatment of animals and responsible pet ownership. She socializes abandoned kittens before adoption and helps coordinate and performs at the annual benefit concert in support of the Cats Committee. Cohen also volunteers at the MacKay Centre School and Free the Children. She created the Marianopolis “Singers for a Cause” volunteer group, where she directs vocal performances for various charitable causes. She’s a student ambassador at Marianopolis and has been awarded the Director General’s Student Life Scholarship because of her strong academic record, leadership skills and community service. 

Shayamera Navaratnam was awarded the Socio-Cultural Award, which recognizes a volunteer for their exceptional contribution to socio-cultural programs in Côte Saint-Luc. Navaratnam studies science at CEGEP but finds time to volunteer in Côte Saint-Luc. She helps with the Game Time programs, Fancy Nancy Tea Party, and the Cats Committee. Her biggest influence might be helping kids become confident readers at the Reading Buddy program. She’s patient, kind, and makes kids smile.

Sid Rath was awarded the Special Recognition Award. Rath wears many hats at the Côte Saint-Luc Tennis Club: promoter, organizer, fundraiser. He does it all and devotes countless hours. He helps recruit new members. He organizes tournaments. And last year he helped raise $12,000 for the Montreal Neurological Institute.

Lewis Cohen was awarded another Special Recognition Award. Cohen is always ready to respond at the drop of a hat, whether for an emergency call out with vCOP, at a major event, or simply to help keep our volunteer Citizens on Patrol program moving. A vCOP volunteer since the program's inception in 2006, Cohen serves as the Senior Supervisor and gives countless of hours of volunteer service to the community, both on patrol and behind the scenes.

Paula Shuster was awarded the Hazel Lipes Award, which recognizes a volunteer for their exceptional contribution to the Community Services Programs. Shuster runs the Good Food Box program. She delivers books to homebound library patrons. She volunteers at the Côte Saint-Luc Farmers Market. She’s a library ambassador, and is involved in one way or another with lots of library initiatives like the annual book sale, the launch of the demonstration garden and much more. She’s a retired teacher who continues to give back to her community.

Robert Rousseau was awarded the EMS Award for Excellence in Operations. Rousseau has demonstrated a strong level of commitment and dedication to EMS. In addition to volunteering many hours every week, he revamped the driver training program and oversees the scheduling of hundreds of volunteers working around the clock.

Jasmit Heera was awarded the EMS Award for Excellence in Training. Since taking over responsibility for the EMS recruiting program, Heera has overhauled the process to ensure that the best and the brightest join EMS. Heera is also involved in planning social events for the EMS volunteers throughout the year.

Elaine Meunier was awarded the vCOP Award. Every organization needs strong people behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. For vCOP, that person is Meunier. As the volunteer responsible for administration, she keeps other volunteers on their toes and makes sure that everyone completes their tasks. You can also find her patrolling in a vCOP van or scooter.

Ron Aberback was awarded the Sports Award, which recognizes a volunteer for exceptional contributions to the community sports programs. Aberback has volunteered for the Côte Saint-Luc Minor Hockey Association for many years. He dedicates hundreds of hours a year to the program even though his children are no longer playing. Aberback has served in different roles on the executive, most recently as vice president of hockey operations. Aberback’s involvement makes the program run as smooth as the ice surface after the Zamboni resurfaces it.

Alexandre Grant was awarded the Stewart Mankofsky Memorial Trophy, which is presented to the athlete and volunteer who best exemplifies the qualities of dedication, sportsmanship, and love of competition. A Beaconsfield native, Grant ranks among the top swimmers of his age in the province. Despite a rigorous training regimen during the 2013-2014 season, he managed to maintain top grades and found time to volunteer at the 2014 Quebec Games. He gave freely of his time to coach the Lac St-Louis Special Olympic athletes.

Laurence Orefice was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award for Aquatics Programs. Throughout the year Laurence has given freely of her time as an official at all five swimming events held during the 2013-2014 season. She has gone above and beyond what is expected of parents within our swim team. Since the ACC opened, she has not only been on hand at home meets, but has also represented the team at competitions held in other pools. She’s provided an exemplary image of the team and Côte Saint-Luc as a whole. 


Photos from the event are available at www.cslvolunteers.ca/volunteer-awards.html.

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