“Your selfless commitment to others is an inspiration to us all,” said Puslinch Mayor Dennis Lever as resident Donna Christie was presented the 2015 Puslinch Volunteer Appreciation Award on June 17.
Lever stated Donna Christie has lived in Puslinch for many years and in that time has dedicated 30 years to volunteering at Sunrise Therapeutic Riding and Learning Centre.
He added Christie’s relationship with the Sunrise family began during her teaching career when she took her students with special needs to the centre.
Immediately Christie recognized that the centre provided programs that make a difference as she witnessed the benefits it brought to her students.
Lever said Christie continued to support the centre over the years by introducing youth, children and parents to the benefits of the centre.
“By sharing her involvement with the children and youth, Donna has inspired many others to become involved and to volunteer at the centre,” the mayor added.
“Donna has always enjoyed working with children and horses and refers to this as ‘her therapy,’” Lever said.
Dedicating 20 to 30 hours each week at Sunrise, Christie assists the centre in many capacities, such as approaching veterinarian companies to donate medicine to aid in operation costs and representing the centre at various equestrian events to promote fundraising.
Lever noted that on top of her impressive record of volunteerism, Christie is also an executive board member, currently serving as past-president.
Although very involved at Sunrise, Christie’s commitment to caring for and helping others extends into many other areas, such as driving adults with special needs to Special Olympics basketball games and weekly practices.
Branching from her profession as a teacher, Christie regularly communicates with past students and parents and assists them with developing coping skills to manage issues of daily living.
“On behalf of the Township of Puslinch, we extend our gratitude for your great efforts and the services that you provide to enrich our community,” Lever said.
Christie quipped “whenever I talk about Sunrise, my husband always tells me to cut it short.” She then said, “this truly did come as a surprise. There are so many people out there doing what I do.”
Christie considered herself blessed, “because what I do allows me to be with all the amazing children and adults with special needs whether it is Sunrise or Special Olympics.”
She added “Sunrise is so dear to my heart, it is a very, very special place. It is an honour and privilege to be involved with it. I love what I do and I get so much back … and now this. Thank you very much.”