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North Grenville’s Council Highlights Individuals and Groups who went ‘Above and Beyond’ since the COVID-19 Pandemic began

February 17, 2022

NORTH GRENVILLE, ON – North Grenville’s Council is pleased to announce the recipients of the onetime Pandemic Leadership Awards, which are intended to highlight individuals and groups who sought to support local businesses, health care workers, and North Grenville residents during the ups and downs of the COVID pandemic. 

“Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on our community, province and country – and those effects are still being felt today. However, Council was heartened by the tremendous kindness and solidarity demonstrated by so many throughout the last two years – and felt it warranted our recognition and thanks,” said Mayor Nancy Peckford.

The recipients were chosen by Council based upon nominations received as part of the 2021 Civic Awards.

The 2021 Pandemic Leadership Awards Recognition will take place at the February 22, 2022 Virtual Council Meeting.

For any members of the public wanting to attend the meeting virtually, pre-registration is required by e-mailing . Or watch the livestream on the North Grenville YouTube channel:

The 2021 Pandemic Leadership Awards were awarded to the following individuals and organizations: 

Brett Colpitts and Marina Dunning - Colpitts Media

Owners of a local multimedia company that had recently relocated to North Grenville, Brett and Marina volunteered their time early in the pandemic to use their unique skill set to produce a short, high quality promotional video showcasing local businesses and talking to owners about what community means to them. Marina and Brett shot nine businesses in a day and a half, and the video was released on Facebook. Businesses featured include the Brigadoon Restaurant, Jac’s Boutique, Catered Affairs, To Be Continued, Kemptville Family Restaurant, J-Glow, Fast Eddie’s Diner, Saltastic, and Boss Thai Boxing. The video spread like wildfire online, garnering 10,000 views and over 200 shares in just over 24 hours.

Jennifer Tanner

What started off as a modest attempt to provide families with donations grew into a community “Give & Take” Tent. During the pandemic, a number of charities were not accepting donations. Understanding that COVID has made it more difficult for vulnerable individuals and families to access goods, Ms. Tanner stepped up and set up a tent on her property that was available 24/7 for any person to use. Word quickly spread throughout the community, and people began donating items for other families to receive. From diapers to dishes, beds and toys, people listed items to give away on the accompanying Facebook Group.

Debbie Amirault

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Kemptville resident Debbie Amirault has made thousands of triple-layer masks which she has been selling online and at events to raise funds for local food banks. Through her Mouth2Mouth Project, Amirault donates every $500 raised to the Salvation Army food bank in Kemptville or the House of Lazarus (HOL) food bank in Mountain, alternating between the two. As of December 2021, she had raised over $6,100. 

Kemptville Salvation Army & Knights of Columbus

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the demand on North Grenville’s food banks intensified, particularly the ones operated by the Knights of Columbus and Kemptville Salvation Army. Despite the cancellation two years in a row of the very successful holiday food drive, the Salvation Army, in particular, including key staff and volunteers, were absolutely determined to ensure food bank clients had access to fresh food, meats, pet food, diapers and sanitary products, as well as other non-perishable items. Throughout, COVID protocols were maintained to ensure pick up was safe and well-organized. Meanwhile, the Knights of Columbus kept their food pantry well-stocked and ensured their existing and new clients could avail of goods as they needed, and often delivered supplies to local residents. 

North Grenville Times

Given the major disruptions to local businesses during various stages of the pandemic, increased visibility and awareness of take-out, curbside pick-up and online ordering options was crucial to the survival of many smaller enterprises. The North Grenville Times showed an unwavering commitment to these businesses, regularly featuring their stories and a ‘behind the scenes’ perspective of what business owners were confronting as the pandemic wore on, rules changed, and disruptions continued. Fostering loyalty to our local business community through powerful storytelling made a difference to more than a few of our North Grenville entrepreneurs.    

The “Bell Ringers” in support of Frontline Workers 

It began as a grassroots initiative in Italy. Early in the pandemic, people opened their doors and windows every night to bang pots and cheer to support frontline workers. It soon spread around the world as people showed their support for not just health care workers - but all those working on the frontlines of ‘essential’ organizations, including grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. 

The initiative even found its way to North Grenville when our local churches, groups and neighbours began ringing their bells every Monday evening. Fuelled by very dedicated volunteers, many of these groups and individuals continued this bell-ringing tradition every week for over eighteen months! Many residents told Council members how comforting they found the sounds of the bells, particularly during periods of shutdowns, and lockdowns where people were discouraged from leaving their homes. 

In Burritts Rapids, the following individuals began ringing their bells nightly at 7:30 p.m.  on March 19th 2020 - with the Boesveld’s and Tilbury’s having continued for over 700 days (and counting!):  

Burritts Rapids Noisemakers:

Christine and Bernie Boesveld
Beth and John Tilbury  
Jayne Couch 
Jane Jefferys and Lionel Bedard
*plus some neighbours and friends who rang their bells when they could!

Weekly Bell Ringing:  

Faith Communities: 

St. James Anglican Church
Holy Cross Church
St. John’s United Church
St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church
St. Andrews United Church (Mervin & Joan Robinson)
Bishops Mills Pentecostal Church (Rev. Randy Jenkins)

Bishops Mills Community Association

Tom Graham
Victor Desroches
Joe and Joan Tensen
Hugh Pearson
John Polley 

Women’s Institute
Jeanne Lambert
Linda Desroches
Sheryl McKim
Susan Jenkin