Landon Warder is the winner of the inaugural “Founders Award” for volunteer of the year at the Cornwall Curling Club. The selection was announced at the club’s recent annual meeting. The Founders Award was created this spring by the board of directors as a salute to the original organizers of the club over 40 years ago.
The award was officially unveiled during the club’s closing Red and Blue bonspiel and 40th anniversary celebrations in late March. The original founders had cited the enormous work from volunteers to launch the club and keep it operating, and the current board believed the award is a fitting tribute to both founders and volunteers who have served the club so well.
The board made a public request for nominations and set up a committee of volunteer chair Sue Pollard, club manager Travis Jones and founder Roy Coffin to select the winner. Warder’s nomination was put forward by board of directors Chris MacDougall and Bill McGuire. “I can’t think of someone more deserving. He’s not there because he has kids in the programs or was a board member and definitely not for recognition or control,” said MacDougall, a former club president. “ It will be a big loss for the club when he goes back to Ontario this fall for work.”
Warder is a PhD candidate in epidemiology at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown. The Ontario native graduated from the University of Guelph with a BSc in biomedical sciences and is expected to graduate from the AVC in September before returning home to work for the federal government. “I am quite humbled to receive this award,“ said Warder, adding that he was honoured to be even nominated. He said that volunteers are the reason for the success of any curling club and he applauded the Cornwall board for creating an award to recognize their contributions.
McGuire said he echoes MacDougall’s comments and noted that he had agreed to return as development chair for a second season on the board of directors, largely because Warder had agreed to again help out with various development programs. “He was a major help the season before in my first year on the board.”
Warder has been a member of the club the past four seasons.
Following are excerpts from information contained in Warder’s nomination written by development chair Bill McGuire:
“Once again this past season, Landon volunteered with me every Sunday at noon, beginning in late October until late March, to help run the ParaSport program for blind and wheelchair athletes, those with restricted mobility issues from stroke, and children with autism. Landon came out each Sunday to help our ParaSport athletes. Without Landon’s help, the ParaSport program would not have operated, and the club would have missed out on a $2,500 government grant to help with ParaSport programs.
It’s not well known that Landon bought and built with own money, a wheelchair support form so our ParaSport curlers could safely anchor their wheelchair in front of the hack when delivering a rock.
Landon also came out to help coach during our learn to curl clinics in late October, that ran over three consecutive nights. It was Landon who convinced me that the club should offer a full Adult Learn To Curl program this season. He said the club should offer this Curl Canada project every year to sustain its membership base. I took the idea to the board in the fall where it was eagerly supported. We started the program in mid-January and it ran for eight weeks, ending in mid-March. It was a huge success with 39 people registering.
Landon developed the weekly work-plan for each clinic, coordinated with curlers before we went on the ice, coached for the hour or more on the ice, and held wrap-up sessions afterwards. He was the reason why the program ran so smoothly. Landon’s work plan and some general comments for our adult learn to curlers were emailed each week on Thursdays to keep them informed of what to expect that Sunday at 2 p.m. That same update was also provided to our coaches.
In addition, Landon would occasionally help with the Little Rockers and Novice programs at 1 p.m. on Sundays with our junior co-ordinator Sarah Doak, if she was shorthanded that day, so it made for a long commitment each Sunday for Landon.
As Development Chair, I helped co-ordinate several special bonspiels: IRSA (Immigrant and Refugees Support), Under 13 Funspiel, our annual ParaSport funspiel, and others. Each time, Landon was there to help and coach and offer his curling expertise.
Not only is he a good coach and organizer, but also a very good curler. He curled among the top juniors in Ontario, and curled competitively in Cornwall each Tuesday and Thursday night this season. (Our team won the final Thursday night round with Landon skipping.)
Again, all this was done while carrying a full workload with his busy PhD program at the Atlantic Veterinary College. Despite being very busy with his schoolwork, he always found the time to volunteer and help out at the curling club.
He also skipped the men’s finalist team in the club championship event this season which he felt he should support, and skipped a team in the Red and Blue 40th anniversary wrap-up event.
Landon’s dedication to volunteerism and curling reflects exactly what the founders displayed more than 40 years ago when they started the Cornwall Curling Club, and why this award was created. The club thrives because of volunteers like Landon.
He epitomizes the reason why this award was created, and I can’t think of a more worthy first recipient.”