Joan Vincent wins 2020 Jim McGee Volunteer Award
Joan Vincent has been named recipient of the 2020 Jim McGee Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by the Belgrave Community Centre Board after a glowing recommendation from retired elementary school principal and fellow Belgrave-area volunteer Alice McDowell.
McDowell, who was principal of both Blyth Public School and Maitland River Elementary School before retiring, nominated Vincent for her “quiet, selfless behind the scenes” efforts for both her community and Huron County.
Vincent, according to McDowell, used her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees to benefit both her own family farm and advocate for fellow farmers throughout the province, eventually becoming part of the Huron Federation of Agriculture Executive.
“[Vincent] has used her extensive knowledge to help grow this organization and promote the importance of agriculture and agricultural issues throughout Ontario but most importantly in her own community,” McDowell’s submission said.
She went on to say that Vincent was a driving force behind the East Wawanosh 150th Reunion in 2017 as the reunion committee’s secretary-treasurer. McDowell credits Vincent with pursuing grant applications, keeping task lists organized for the committee and making sure the reunion was as successful as possible.
“Vincent was also instrumental in helping the Elementary School Fair to continue, rebrand and grow to the successful activity it is for the students of [northern Huron County],” McDowell said in her nomination of Vincent. “Each year since the consolidation of schools in [northern Huron County], Joan has assumed the responsibility for the advertising and sponsorship for our fair. This is not an easy task and Joan has been incredible in her efforts.”
McDowell said Vincent’s commitment to the fair and the students was exemplary, and that, alongside her efforts volunteering, Vincent also helps annually to pick up, judge and organize school work.
Vincent can often be found, McDowell said in her nomination submission, assisting the Belgrave Community Centre Board on weekends.
Vincent’s work with 4-H organizations was also noted by McDowell, who said that, while Vincent raised her own family, she tirelessly advocated for other families, including McDowell’s, to have their children take part in 4-H clubs.
“I believe it would be an absolute shame not to recognize one of the most amazing women in Belgrave and in fact Ontario, Joan Vincent,” McDowell said in her submission.
The Belgrave Community Centre Board, alongside members of the community and the family of the late Jim McGee presented Vincent the award on Sept. 29 during the committee’s annual general meeting at the Belgrave Community Centre.