THUNDER BAY – Donna Brown has been recognized for her volunteer work in Thunder Bay.
Brown was one of 16 recipients from across Ontario to receive the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism in Toronto on Dec. 5.
The honour, which is named after the late author and journalist, is presented annually for contributions made to the recipient’s community and the province.
It also recognizes the leadership, innovation and contributions of individuals who have stepped up to help others.
“It is very humbling,” Brown said. “I just enjoy what I do and I like to give back.
“This definitely came as a surprise to me though … I didn’t expect this.”
Brown received her award during a ceremony at the Ontario Heritage Trust Building from Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism Michael Ford.
“To top the evening off, we were brought upstairs in an ancient crank elevator to have our portrait taken in a room that is a replica of the Oval Office in the White House and is often used for filming movies,” Brown said.
“It was a regal affair and an unforgettable experience that I will always cherish.”
Brown started volunteering at the age of 10 when she helped her father Leo LeClair run the food canteen at the Volunteer Pool.
She later helped him run sporting events for kids and later helped out at weekly bingo fundraisers.
“I think about my father whenever I volunteer because he gave me my inspiration to start doing that as a youngster,” Brown said.
“I know he’s smiling down on me now and would be so proud of this accomplishment.”
Brown has a busy schedule in terms of her volunteer work this year.
She’s involved with the United Commercial Travelers Group, which helps raise money for Thunder Bay’s non-profit charities and the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise.
Brown is also going to be fundraising for the Buddies of the Brill Trolley Buses and will be assisting the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists with the bird count tabulation.
“I like giving back to the community and I just find it very fulfilling,” Brown said.
“To receive an award like this is sort of humbling in a way.”