South Stormont Volunteer of the Year award given posthumously

South Stormont Mayor Bryan McGillis reads the inscription on a clock for the Fran Laflamme Volunteer of the Year Award. It was a posthumous recognition for Leslie O'Gorman who died last week. (South Stormont/Zoom via Newswatch Group)

LONG SAULT – An annual South Stormont award recognizing a standout community member has taken a bittersweet tone this year.

Mayor Bryan McGillis awarded the 2019 Fran Laflamme Volunteer of the Year award during Wednesday’s council meeting.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we learned of the passing of Mrs. Leslie O’Gorman. Leslie had been a true friend to me and the township for many years,” Mayor Bryan McGillis said during the award presentation.

O’Gorman was recently hospitalized with an illness and died on Thursday, June 4. She was 72.

Among her many accomplishments, O’Gorman had organized the Osnabruck Food and Toy Drive for 15 years, co-chaired the South Stormont Beacon 50 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the seaway and was a devoted volunteer for the annual tree lighting ceremony. She also helped out the Ingleside Firefighters Association with the annual firefighter challenge.

She and her husband, Stuart, ran the Nightingale Bed and Breakfast in Ingleside and she was a founding member of the South Stormont Chamber of Commerce.

The award – a clock and a certificate from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – will be presented to the O’Gorman family later this week. Her name will be etched on a plaque that will hang in the municipal office.

Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Amelotte said he spoke with her family and they are very appreciative. “They did mention how much it did mean to Leslie back in March when we made the announcement to her, that she was very proud to receive the award and was very honoured.”

The coronavirus outbreak forced the township to postpone its gala, usually held in April.

Deputy Mayor David Smith called O’Gorman a truly deserving person and was surprised she didn’t win the award earlier.

Coun. Cindy Woods called her a “pillar of this community” while Coun. Jennifer MacIsaac said her “wonderful spirit” and “her legacy will forever be memorialized…and certainly this is a very big loss for our community.”

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