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Five outstanding community members recognised during annual Hall of Fame event

November 22, 2019   ·   0 Comments

Chosen by a selection committee that reviews nominations submitted by members of the community, this year’s inductees were chosen because they are “exemplary in their contributions to the community.”

The awards were founded to celebrate volunteers that go above and beyond to make South Simcoe a wonderful place to live. In 2002, fifteen people were inducted to the inaugural South Simcoe Hall of Fame. Since that time, a call is put out to the community each year to nominate deserving friends, family, and fellow volunteers to be considered for this honour. Also established in order to recognise the achievements and contributions of outstanding citizens, over 125 individuals have been inducted into the South Simcoe Hall of Fame over the past 19 years.

Dignitaries in attendance, and presenting certificates of achievement to the five inductees were: Floyd Pinto, Mayor of Adjala–Tosorontio, Ward 4 Councillor from the Town of New Tecumseth Fran Sainsbury, and MPP for Simcoe–Grey Jim Wilson.

In this second of two parts, The Times highlights Richard White and Chris Rapin.

For Mr. White, a second chance at life is the reason he volunteers today.

Richard White: Second chance at life is the reason he volunteers today 

“I have a checkered past,” he says. “I am a recovered alcoholic who has been given a second chance at life and volunteering is my way of paying it forward by giving back to the community who helped me all these years.” 

Richard White’s story is one of courage, strength and gratitude. 

“In 1994 I was unemployed and living on the street in the city (Toronto), but I was able to get clean and sober with the help of others,” he explains. “I don’t apologize for who I was or what I did—it made me the person I am today.”

The person Richard, or Rick as he is often called, is today, is someone who generously gives of his time and money as a long-time community volunteer at The Bluegrass Festival, Tottenham Community Week and other local events.

Richard is a familiar face around town as a long-time volunteer. For 15 years, Richard and his wife Terry would be at the Bluegrass Festival organizing the parking almost 24/7 or you could find Richard erecting tents or putting up signs for Tottenham Community Week.

Every year Richard has generously bought a bicycle to donate as a prize for the Beeton Meet Your Neighbour Picnic. For the past 15 years, as the owner of New Tecumseth Taxi (he sold the company in May), Richard was involved in setting up and participating a senior’s transportation program which offered a reduced rate to seniors with his company. “For many years I also covered the senior’s portion of the cost during the month of December, which the seniors greatly appreciated.”

March 17, 1994. It’s a day that is etched into Richard’s mind forever. “That’s the day I got sober,” he states. “I had hit rock bottom. I was homeless, living on the street and an alcoholic. I had two choices; change or die. My brother gave me that final push needed to change and I did.”

For Chris Rapin, making music and hockey accessible to all kids is what drives him.

“It’s all about the kids,” said Mr. Rapin, a music teacher at Boyne River Public School who has gone above and beyond to make hockey and music available to all children in South Simcoe County. As a coach, Chris has created a unique hockey program whereby every child gets equal ice time and a chance to shine. For those interested in music, Chris founded No Parents A-Loud.

“I have been involved in all kinds of sports as a teacher, parent, and community member,” says Chris. “I have experience coaching hockey, volleyball, basketball, rugby, softball, hardball, football, and soccer. Currently I am focused on the Ice Elements hockey program that I co-founded with Erika McNab. A popular coaching strategy to try and increase a team’s odds of winning is to pair their perceived weakest players with their stronger players. The theory is that if the weaker player makes a mistake, the stronger player is there to correct it. I have found this approach led to the weaker players never touching the puck, kicking the ball during soccer, or taking a pass to shoot a basket in basketball. Developing players often have less fun, advance fewer skills and lack confidence in their abilities. To prepare for the Ice Elements hockey season, we sort players by skill and ability and place them on lines with others that are similar. There’s a Rep (A), House (B) and Beginner (C) line. The buzzer goes every minute and the next line comes on. We do not have ‘real’ goalies; instead each rep player plays net twice during the season. We end up with some pretty high scoring games! When beginners are on the ice, goalies play without a stick and they’re not allowed to drop to the ice. Instead of the A players saying ‘oh no, not him or her again’, we have seen the A line cheering on the Cs. This builds relationships throughout the league.” 

This past season saw 67 boys and girls between the ages of 10 to 14 (grades 5 to 8) participate in Ice Elements. 

No Parents A- Loud was created in association with other music teachers.

“It’s like an open mike held once a month at the Gibson Centre for kids from Grade 4 to 12,” explains Chris. “They can perform any music they wish, covering all aspects of music such as acapella, choral, instrumental and dance even. Parents are not required to be present; in fact we’d rather they take a back seat. Many times a parent may hinder a performance and prevent the student from seeking guidance and support from their peers. Last year we saw about 45 different acts performed live.” 

Chris also runs a monthly adult ukulele club called Ukuleles of Alliston or U. of All. Each month, 15-25 players meet at Peake BBQ from 7-9 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.

He also ran the Alliston Chess Association for six years. 

Chris and his wife Michelle moved to Alliston after a year of teaching in Trinidad and Tobago. Michelle teaches grade 3 at Boyne River Public School. The couple have two sons; 18-year-old Calvin and 16-year-old Oliver.

By Wendy Gabrek


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