Eleanor George just thought she was attending the annual Seniors’ Advocacy Centre gala.
She listened as Mary-Ann Kirkby talked about what life is like for seniors in Hutterite Colonies. She watched as John Fryters and others gave updates about the Advocacy Centre’s work.
She listened intently as Fryters read out the name of this year’s winner of the 70+ and still going strong award.
Her jaw dropped. For a moment, George sat in her seat. Eventually she smiled, a big smile, and made her way to the stage, where Fryters, and Mayor Greg Dionne, were waiting.
“This makes me speechless,” she said. “I had no idea this was happening today. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.”
George is the latest winner of the award, which is given out annually to seniors over the age of 70 who are making a difference in the community. Last year’s winner was Bishop Albert Thevenot.
George is actively involved with the Community Services Centre, especially around the area of seniors’ transportation and the Two Miles for Mary campaign. She also volunteers at the Mont St. Joseph home and has served on the library board in the past.
Even when she wintered down south, George was always finding ways to get involved.
“It’s really fun to stay involved. I really recommend everybody to do what you can,” she said.
“You meet so many wonderful people in your travels, from the community services board to all the residents at Mont St. Joseph. They are all my friends. It’s a wonderful feeling you couldn’t buy if you tried.”
In addition to the award, George also received an Award of Merit from the city, presented by Dionne.
He thanked her for her help during his election campaign, but also spoke about the rest of her contributions to the community at large.
“As you can see, she’s very humble. The award was well-deserved. She’s very involved in the community,’” he said.
George wasn’t just surprised by the award. Organizers arranged for her family to be in attendance.
:It’s a great day for her and she deserves everything she got.”
The winner of the award is picked by a committee each year. Fryters explained why George was the perfect choice.
“When you go to seniors’ gatherings, she shows up. She’s a constant in the community,” he said.
‘We started looking at what she was doing, and she’s a very busy lady. That’s what it’s about.”
George said she was “shocked” when her name was called. She doesn’t get involved for the glory.
“I just go and do my daily thing, and don’t worry about awards and things. I just enjoy what I’m doing,” she said.
That’s why, Fryters said, it’s so important to recognize people like Eleanor George.
“I wish we could recognize everyone. Most people have worked all their lives. It’s very important to honour at least some of them.”
The award is for those over 70 still going strong. That definitely describes George.
“I’m 81 and there isn’t going to be anything that stops me until I can’t go anymore,” she said.