This year, two dedicated and hard-working community members won the Citizen of the Year award at the Kanata Chamber of Commerce 14th annual People’s Choice Business Awards.
“This year, we will do things a little differently,” said Greg Weatherdon, president of the chamber, before the awards were handed out. “When evaluating the contribution to our community from each of the nominees, it became clear that with such differing candidates, it would not be possible to bestow just one award.”
Kanata’s Kathleen Ellis, member and current treasurer of the Rotary Club of Ottawa Kanata Sunrise, and Carp’s Daniel Alfredsson, captain of the Ottawa Senators, shared the honour, which has been given to only one nominee in the past.
Ellis, who joined the rotary club in 1999, thanked her friends, family and rotary club members for their support along the way.
“I had a tremendous amount of help,” she said. “The motto is service above self … the community becomes what we put into the community (and) we live in the greatest community in the world.
“We live in a caring, loving community.”
Ellis, who has volunteered her time to a number of organizations and non-profits, was described as “exceptional, devoted and a thank-you angel,” said emcee and television broadcaster Kurt Stoodley of the testimonials received by the chamber in favour of Ellis.
“The dedication of Kathleen Ellis is extraordinary, and her variety of endeavours is incredible,” he said.
Ellis has volunteered for the following organizations:
* The Majorettes
* OPP community police office
* March Kanata Skating Club
* Heart and stroke, cancer, and kidney foundations
* United Way
* Rotary Club of Ottawa Kanata Sunrise
* Sens Foundation
* Rogers House
“In 2004, Kathleen founded Knit-wits,” said Stoodley. “Since then this dedicated group has knitted teddy bear sweaters for the Sens Foundation, toques for newborn babies at the QCH, and blankets and quilts for seniors at nursing residences, toques and mitts donated to CityKidz Foundation and the Mission, and blankets and baby clothes to the Salvation Army.”
Knit-wits also collects toys for Toy Mountain and non-perishables for the Kanata Food Cupboard.
“Kathleen’s dedication to helping others has touched the lives of many in our community,” said Stoodley. “Her personal belief is that ‘You always get back more than you give,’ and she has lived by that.”
The pride of the Ottawa Senators club, long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson, was named co-winner of the Citizen of the Year.
The franchise player couldn’t make the event to hear kind words from the presenters about giving his limited time “generously” to area causes as his team was busy beating the New York Rangers 3-2 in a shootout.
Alfredsson was called an “invaluable part of this community” and “so much more than number 11 for the Ottawa Senators.”
Club spokesman David Chadala shared a message from Alfredsson as he accepted the award on the hockey star’s behalf.
“It’s an honour to receive the Citizen of the Year award for our community,” he read.
Alfredsson has volunteered his time for numerous organizations, appearing in a video supporting You Can Play, a campaign dedicated to fighting homophobia in sports. He is also associated with You Know Who I Am, a Royal Ottawa Foundation campaign to dispel the stigma surrounding mental health, an issue that has touched his family.
Alfredsson has won an Olympic gold medal for Sweden; made the NHL all-rookie team in 1996; played in six all-star games; was named top penalty-killer in 2008; and took home the King Clancy Memorial Trophy last year.
“Daniel’s leadership role has earned him the respect of his team players and the admiration of his fans,” said Stoodley. “He is an outstanding role model and an invaluable part of our community.”
The Citizen of the Year award recognizes people who have made a significant contribution to their community in some exceptional manor, such as outstanding community service, charitable work or heroism.
The third Citizen of the Year finalist was John Curry, editor of the Kourier-Standard’s sister paper the Stittsville News. Curry, who won the award in 2009, was honoured with a plaque for his contributions to the Goulbourn community.
The gala, held at the Brookstreet Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 21, honoured the best and brightest businesses in Kanata, Goulbourn and West Carleton.
With files from Derek Dunn