© John DeCoste
Kingston resident Muriel West presents Wayne Fowler with Kingston’s Volunteer of the Year award during the village’s annual meeting May 29. Fowler headed up the “wildly successful” Kingston for Kraft Hockeyville 2014 bid. - John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
The Village of Kingston has recognized Wayne Fowler as its volunteer of the year.
Fowler, an active community volunteer, was the "point man" for the Kingston Kraft Hockeyville 2014 bid. The campaign saw the Credit Union Centre arena, the focus of the bid, finish as the national runner-up in the competition and receive $100,000 for arena improvements.
Kingston resident Muriel West described Fowler as “a dynamic young man, a husband, a father and a serving member at 14 Wing Greenwood” who still finds time to be a willing volunteer.
Volunteering, West said as she presented the award, “is generally considered a selfless activity, and is intended to promote goodness or improve the quality of life.” It is also known to promote “skill development, socialization and fun.”
Fowler became involved with the Kingston Arena, and “was able to see an opportunity for our community, rather than an insurmountable challenge,” West said.
“He has worked hard for our arena over the years, from grunt work on site to forging relationships with businesses like the Greenwood Credit Union to raising awareness of the challenges the arena faced that culminated in our successful bid to become Hockeyville,” West said.
“We may not hold that title, but we were wildly successful thanks to Wayne’s ability to galvanize the community and have us all, young and old, working together to achieve the goal of improving our arena.”
It’s not just about hockey, she added.
“It’s about community, and the arena is a meeting place in our community, whether it’s New Year’s, the Steer Barbecue or Santa Comes to Town, to name just a few,” she said.
“I have lived here for nearly 40 years and I’ve never seen this community so enthused about a single project. I admire you, Wayne, and I want to thank you for showing us how strong we can be when we work together.”
Fowler said he was “humbled” by the recognition. He added he planned “to stay here and be a Kingston resident for a long time to come.”
He described Hockeyville as “something that was important to me. I’m a huge advocate of our arena being there, and staying there, both as a meeting place and a greeting place.”
Work on the arena improvements is currently underway.
“It won’t be ready for this year’s barbecue, but we’re working hard to have it ready for next year’s,” he said.
He also praised the rest of his committee and for the many citizens of Kingston and area who worked together on the Hockeyville bid.
“Just because one voice may have led it, doesn’t mean one voice created it,” he said.