It was Hockey Night in Smiths Falls Wednesday night at the Station Theatre. Mark Borowiecki, Sens #74, was on hand at the Mayor’s Volunteer Appreciation evening, and the whole Smiths Falls PeeWee B Bears team was on stage, too.
Bookended by the hockey stars were Bill Widenmaier and Katie Hoffman, recipients of the Municipal Volunteer Award and the Charles Gilhuly award respectively.
Before Widenmaier and Hoffman received their awards, before they knew they were getting them, Borowiecki engaged the packed theatre with stories and took questions from the young (mostly hockey kids) audience. He talked about his teeth – or lack of them – he talked about his teammates, travelling, his hits, a recent concussion, and he talked about his time with the Smiths Falls Bears.
He said he landed a “few good hits” in the fight when he lost his teeth, and they had to be “yanked out.” Ever since then, he grinned “…you see this beautiful face.”
He remembered his time playing with the Smiths Falls Bears, particularly coaches Billy Bowker and Marshall Hogan; there are definitely referees he likes (and he wants to keep it that way by not mentioning those he doesn’t like!) “The more guys you have on your side, the better it is for you.”
Always in the back of his mind is the possibility of being traded, he loves the Sens and would like to be “a Sens for life.”
And he was asked about how he deals with anxiety. “The turning point for me,” he said, referring to his own anxiety issues, was “talking to someone – someone you love, someone you trust. Talk as much as you can.”
Finally he talked about giving back through Soldier On, a Canadian Armed Forces program that supports currently serving members and veterans to overcome their physical or mental health illness or injury through physical activity and sport.
Mayor Shawn Pankow spoke about the benefits of volunteering; people who volunteer have “better health, lower mortality rates, lower rates of depression, feel more love, are happier and age better.” To those assembled, he urged “Don’t stop!”
Of Bill Widenmaier he commented on the time he has given and the wisdom he has shown over at least 20 years of volunteering. “He’s reliable and a contributor.” He was definitely “a marvellous choice” for the Municipal Volunteer Award, Pankow added.
For Widenmaier, it was “a complete surprise.”
Of Katie Kathleen Hoffman who received the Charles Gilhuly Award, Pankow spoke about her tireless efforts for “youth in Lanark County. She is known as kind, caring, selfless and generous,” he said, when it comes to “lunch programs, hospital auxiliary, library, the theatre and quilting.” Hoffman, too, was taken by surprise at the award.
And finally, the Brooke and Brittany Henderson Young Persons Award was awarded to the Smiths Falls PeeWee B Bears who not only were finalists in the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup but went on to win the Upper Canada Minor Hockey League Peewee House B Championship in a 4-3 victory over South Grenville Rangers.