Hello Everyone, Vivienne Edwards here to share with you the honour of being invited to the United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick’s Annual Fundraising Campaign Kick-Off Luncheon with our PEDVAC Executive Director, Val MacDermid. Normally, Val would have been accompanied by Cathy Consentino, President of PEDVAC, but she happens to be out of town. Board members were asked if one of us would like to attend in Cathy’s place. How fortunate for me that I happened to be free and was the first to respond to Val’s invitation.
As a result of generous funding from the United Way to PEDVAC, we have been able to increase our staff and hours to do more as a social agency to provide for the needs of the underprivileged with enhancements to our many programs and services, including running the local food bank (see Programs and Services link at the top of this page). United Way Director of Community Development, Micha Fardy was somewhat persistent with her email invitations to the luncheon and when Val and I arrived, we were introduced for the first time, she kept repeating my full name. I kept nodding while thinking she must have trouble hearing me over the roar of the arrivals in the lobby for the luncheon check-in. We were seated at table number 16 (I like that number for personal reasons), which happened to almost be front and centre. Very impressive!
Val said she should have realized something was up when our lunch companions were the leader of the opposition, Brian Gallant, his ED, Kevin Lavigne, MLA for Memramcook/Lakeville/Dieppe, Bernard LeBlanc, MLA for Dieppe, Roger Melanson. In addition to the government officials we were also seated with Camp Centennial Director, John Savage and camp counselors, Regan Haley and Sarah Martell.
The luncheon began with awards while we were invited to begin eating and enjoy the meal. After the second award, Executive Director, Debbie McInnis and Micha were at the mic both wearing PEDVAC mittens they had asked Val to bring to purchase for volunteers and we realized they were talking about PEDVAC programs (see the Programs and Services link at the top of this page). Before we knew it they were calling Val to come up on stage. I quickly pulled my cell phone out to capture the “kodak moment” and realized they were then calling my name too. Thank goodness for the kind Kevin Lavigne, sitting to my right who offered to take the photo of us both. We were summoned to the stage to receive the 2013 Agent of Change Award on behalf of PEDVAC and to say it was an honour for me is a huge understatement. It is a beautiful plaque and we will hang it on the wall with our other awards.
Congratulations to everyone for your hard work. The plaque says Pedvac, Val MacDermid, Staff and Board. My camera screen burned out and so all I had was my cell phone which, as luck would have it, I actually remembered to charge before leaving the house. Forgive the quality of the photos, but the moment was captured, thanks to Kevin who was a charming companion. Val gave a really good speech thanking all the staff and volunteers of PEDVAC in spite of being caught by surprise. Well done, Val!
Settling back into our seats after all the excitement, we heard them talking over the microphone about Camp Centennial. John Savage began nudging Regan and Haley, saying, “They’re calling you up there”. Well, how exciting for them to be representing all the counselors at Camp Centennial in receiving the Kim Halliday Asset Builder Award for their dedication to the campers! The caption on their Facebook page said, “Maybe you won’t recognize us without our hoodies and T-shirts but you best believe, that’s three Camp Centennial folks with Liberal MLA Brian Gallant at the United Way kick off Luncheon! Congratulations to all the Camp Centennial Counselors”. May I say how inspiring it is to be in the presence of young people who personify generosity and foster hope in us all for a better world.
Everyone who was not an MLA at table number 16 had now received an award so Brian Gallant joked that Kevin Lavigne should receive one. I say we vote him most supportive and accommodating luncheon companion for taking photos for us and providing me with all the names and titles of the esteemed guests of the United Way and Delta Beausejour Hotel in Moncton. Thank you so much Kevin. It was our pleasure to have met you, all the MLAs and the great young folks of Camp Centennial.
After the luncheon, Val and I had a minute to chat to Debbie McInnis and for me to make her acquaintance. It turns out we’ve met at PEDVAC when she was there measuring for shelves. What a small world and what a pleasure to have met both Debbie and Micah.
On behalf of Val, myself, all the board members, staff and volunteers of PEDVAC, thank you to the United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick for this honour.
Congratulations to PEDVAC on a well deserved award.