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T. Roy Adams Humanitarian of the Year Award

T. Roy Adams was an eminent Niagaran, well known throughout the region, Canada, and abroad for serving his community, his country and his fellow citizens.

In memory of the late Councillor T. Roy Adams, Niagara Region initiated a memorial award in 2003 in his name to honour a resident of Niagara who best exemplifies Roy's values and dedication to community service; a person who sees volunteerism as an integral part of their life.

2021 Winner: Susan Venditti

Susan Venditti has been named the 2021 recipient of the T. Roy Adams Humanitarian Award. She's been an advocate for safety, a school volunteer, a school board trustee, a community service outreach operative and supporter of the homeless.

Susan looks below the surface of the issues at hand and finds the root of the problem. She delves deeper and has a way of reaching people, and has a knack of getting them to open up to her about the challenges they face.

Susan began her life of advocacy when she took on the responsibility of collecting data to support her request for crossing guards to ensure the safety of children crossing Lake Street on their way to and from school. She continued her activism as a volunteer at her children's school, which then evolved into serving the community as a school board trustee with the Lincoln County Catholic School.

After discovering the Out of the Cold program, which offered one night of shelter a week during the winter, Susan used her talent for coaxing the best of people to garner volunteers and to expand that program.

Susan treats those the program serves with dignity and respect. She learns their stories. She gathers the context of their respective circumstances and she uses that to inform her problem solving skills. From this, her pilot project, Start Me Up Niagara, was born.

As the recently retired CEO of Start Me Up Niagara, she's been an engineer of finding solutions to help those who are homeless and helping them find solutions to the underlying problems behind their homelessness, as well as helping those with mental health issues get the support they need.

2021 Winner: Susan Venditti

Susan Venditti smiling

Previous Winners

  • 2020: Douglas Rapelje
  • 2019: Dan Bouwman
  • 2018: James Rennie
  • 2017: Tom Rankin
  • 2016: Paul Turner
  • 2015: Sheila Frank
  • 2014: Mary Ann Edwards
  • 2013: Robert Mahoney
  • 2012: Jack McKiernan
  • 2011: Robbie Craine Davidson
  • 2010: Ken and Denise Taylor
  • 2009: William Craine
  • 2008: Jill and Gary Taylor
  • 2007: Catherine Mindorff
  • 2006: Dorothea Hayslip
  • 2005: Linda Crabtree
  • 2004: Margaret and Bob Ferguson
  • 2003: Jack O'Neil

Award information

  • Eligibility
    • Current resident of Niagara
    • Evidence that the spirit of volunteerism and community service plays an integral part of the individual's life
    • A person whose community service has involved the citizens of Niagara

    Elected officials (currently in office) and employees of Niagara Region are not eligible.

  • Nomination process

    A nominee for the T. Roy Adams Humanitarian Award:

    • May be sponsored by either an organization or two individuals (co-sponsors, not related to the nominee)
    • Is eligible for the year in which they are nominated
    • Cannot be considered posthumously
  • Selection process

    An award committee comprised of the Regional Chair, Regional Councillors, senior staff and one member of the community will review the nominations and select the recipient.

    The award will be presented at the Regional Council meeting in July. The recipient's name will also be engraved on the commemorative plaque which is displayed in the lobby of the Regional Headquarters building.

  • Evaluation criteria
    Evaluation Criteria Explanation Weight (%)
    Quality of the 'humanitarian' service Is it truly humanitarian? 20
    Scope of Humanitarian Impact Who does it affect? 16
    Personal commitment/ sacrifice (time, cost) What is the degree of sacrifice/commitment
    (e.g. time commitment)?
    16
    Need for the community service What is the community demand? 14
    New, unique initiative/idea Is it a common/ubiquitous community service? 12
    Niagara benefit Is it region-wide or strictly local? 10
    Extent of volunteer/professional capacity Is it an extension of the nominee's current job (remuneration)? 8
    References What is the relative quality and content of submission through additional support information? 4
    Total 100
  • T. Roy Adams biography
    T. Roy Adams

    Thomas 'Roy' Adams was born and raised in St. Catharines, the second eldest of 10 children (seven boys and three girls). Born to parents who encouraged their children to serve the Lord, Roy committed his life to service through the Salvation Army. He served as a leader of the youth (Sunday School Teacher, Young People's Sergeant Major, Young People's Band Leader, and Chairman of the Group Committee of the Boy Scouts) and through adult ministries (Songster Leader and Deputy Bandmaster). When not in active leadership, his steady participation in the music ministries exemplified the faithfulness of his purpose.

    Roy enlisted in the Lincoln and Welland Regiment in June 1940, served overseas and was honourably discharged in 1945. He remained a member of the Regimental Association, and was director for three years, and president until his death. He also was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, and enjoyed planning, organizing and arranging charter flights to Holland, as well as annual reunions for many years.

    Roy was employed by Foster Wheeler for more than 20 years in various capacities, including personnel supervisor. In 1972 he joined ARC Industries as workshop director and was then appointed executive director of the St. Catharines Association for the Mentally Retarded. He was elected mayor of the City of St. Catharines in 1976 and served in that capacity for nine years, and served on Regional Council from 1988 until 2002. During Roy's terms on Regional Council, he was a member of several standing committees, served as Chair of the Community and Health Services Committee for many years, and Chair of the Police Services Board.

    Roy was actively involved in many organizations including: the Association of Municipalities of Ontario; the St. Catharines General Hospital Board of Governors; the Niagara District Health Council, Executive Committee; the Niagara Rehabilitation Centre; the St. Catharines Hydro Electric Commission; the St. Catharines South Rotary Club; the Christian Business Men, St. Catharines; President, Canadian Bible Society, St. Catharines; President, Probus Club, St. Catharines and District; Christian Connections; the Lincoln and Welland Regiment Band; the Thorold Reed Band; the Niagara Falls Concert Band; the Port Colborne Band; the Clown Band/Hungry Seven; and the Bandmaster/Director of Holland's Glorie Band.

    Roy believed that "every person matters", and had a sincere interest in people, particularly those less fortunate, whether because of disability or misfortune. He was a man respected for his service and dedication to the people of St. Catharines, Niagara region, and the country.

Contact

For more information, email Kelly Lotimer or call 905-980-6000 ext. 3222.

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