Brandon Coderre's appreciation for the community service hours program has definitely changed.
As a Grade 9 student, he felt the requirement was 'kind of dumb,' tantamount in a way to 'slave labour.'
But as a 19-year-old student at the University of Algoma, St. Thomas campus, seeking a future in sociology or psychology, Coderre has done a 180-degree about face. Not only did Coderre complete his 40 hours of service at the Eden & Area Community Centre, he stayed on through until his departure for university, and hopes to help out when he can, when back home.
"It broadened my mind, I made new friends, met new people - it's always nice to be part of your community."
Coderre's 'above and beyond' approach to volunteerism in his community earned the respect of the Eden & Area Community Centre Board and its successful nomination for the Municipality of Bayham 2103 Community Volunteer and Youth Volunteer Recognition Awards Thursday evening at the Vienna Community Centre. Coderre's nomination included the endorsement: 'Brandon was a joy, he was able to see something needed doing and he did it, dishes, serving food, cooking. He was up for anything, no questions asked. He has been outstanding.'
The award was 'not necessary,' said Coderre, although appreciated.
"You volunteer to help and I don't expect recognition - but it is always nice."
His sentiments were echoed by Cindy Stewart, nominated for long-standing service to the Straffordville Public School Parent Council and as a SAC Serve Group member. A member of the parent council since its origin several years ago, Stewart has stuck with it, acting as treasurer for the past six years.
Her nomination included appreciation for her service as her children and other family members attended the school, as well as an expressed willingness to continue to benefit the community and its youth as long as she is needed.
'Cindy may never leave the group as she is always needed,' stated her nomination papers. 'Thank you Cindy for your time and volunteering help for so many years and many more to come.'
A former student of SPS, Stewart likes to be involved, not so much as an 'up front person, but as one who wants, rather then feels she has to help out.
"I've lived in the community my entire life and just want things to be the best they can be," she said.
Dorothea Bentley and Marion Paterson were recognized in tandem for shared efforts with Spay And Neuter Your Animals (SANYA) in support of homeless or feral animals, volunteerism which also saved taxpayers 'substantial sums.
'They have selflessly and pro-bono with their own money and meagre resources, for decades served this community and deserve recognition,' states their nomination papers.
"I was certainly taken by surprise," said Paterson, who although shy and preferring to remain in the background, was admittedly 'thrilled.
"It felt very nice, very good and it was a pleasant experience."
The fifth 2013 award recipient was Joyce Taylor, recognized as a long-time member of the Straffordville Community Committee, which is responsible for Watermelon Fest. Her nomination papers recognized the fact she looked after the group's finances.
'Her efforts are very much appreciated,' stated her nomination papers.