The Junction Restaurant in Campbell’s Bay was filled on April 9 as friends, colleagues and local officials came together to honour long-time volunteer Vera Rutledge Mayor.
The seats were filled with a wide variety of people representing a broad range of organizations, displaying the impact that Rutledge Mayor has had on the region over the years.
The formal celebration was to recognize Rutledge Mayor being awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by the Office of the Governor General of Canada.
Her daughter, Sandy Leger, explained that she had helped nominate Rutledge Mayor for the award about a year ago, with the help of recommendations from local MNA André Fortin and MP Will Amos. The medal is reserved for those who have made “significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to their community” and is reviewed by an advisory committee in the Governor General’s Office.
Leger said that her mother has been donating her time to local causes since the 70s, such as the Recreation Association in Thorne and Bouffe Pontiac in Campbell’s Bay.
“She was involved with the TCRA, so she was coaching my softball, the broomball. If anyone was sick she was always bringing them meals,” she said. “One thing that’s always stuck with me, she said, ‘If the neighbours have no bread and we have half a loaf, at the end of the day we’re both going to have a quarter loaf of bread.’ She said, ‘That’s just what you do.’ That has always stuck with me.”
Rutledge Mayor has been a regular volunteer with Bouffe Pontiac since it opened 10 years ago and has been the President of the Campbell’s Bay Golden Age Club for the past four. She regularly organizes dinners, card games and bingo nights for the local senior population and has also given her time to events like Bikes in the Bay.
Leger gave an introduction for her mother at the celebration last Tuesday, and spoke of her commitment to local seniors, through working at the food bank and by putting together luncheons on National Senior’s Day for seven years. Leger said her mother is very attached to the elderly population in the area.
“She’s worried about her seniors,” she said. “She’s very concerned about them.”
Fortin was unable to attend in person but was represented by Denise Morrissette, who spoke highly of Rutledge Mayor on his behalf.
“Your exemplary involvement is appreciated by everyone and serves as a model to follow for volunteers,” she said.
Erin Davis, representing Amos’ office, noted that the MP had planned on attending but was called to Parliament for a vote at the last minute. She read aloud from the letter of recommendation Amos had submitted to the medal selection committee.
“Coming from a small town, her gratitude and altruism have not been unnoticed and we would love to show her how we appreciate all her efforts by strongly recommending her to be the recipient of this [award]," she said.
Campbell’s Bay Mayor Maurice Beauregard kept his remarks brief before presenting Rutledge Mayor with the medal itself, but expressed his heartfelt thanks on behalf of the community.
Rutledge Mayor was overcome with emotion, but thanked all in attendance, often pointing people out by name and the projects on which she had worked with them.
“It makes my life complete,” she said, speaking about volunteering.
“My husband, I’m not too sure what he would do if I had to stay home all the time,” she joked, sparking a big laugh from the audience. “I appreciate you guys all coming out. What I do, I do from my heart.”
Leger was ecstatic that her mother’s commitment to the community is finally being feted after decades of hard work behind the scenes.
“I was so proud,” she said. “She really, really deserves this.”
by Caleb Nickerson
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