The 16th annual Labour Community Service Award Dinner and Celebration was held on Friday, February 7,2014. This award was established in 1999 by United Way of Saskatoon and Area in partnership with the Saskatoon & District Labour Council (SDLC). The award recognizes and honours a trade unionist who has demonstrated outstanding service and dedication to our community through volunteer work. This event is held in conjunction with the SDLC Annual General Meeting.
The dinner was emceed by Barb Byers, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress and about 120 union delegates and community friends attended this important initiative. The recipient of the 2014 Labour Community Service Award was the late Howard Willems, Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 40022 member.
Howard worked as an inspector with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for more than 30 years before retiring in 2012. He was an active and loyal member of Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 40022 (Agriculture Union). First elected as vice-president of Saskatoon’s local, Howard went on to become Local President, Regional Vice-President, and in 2005 was elected as one of the National Executive Vice-Presidents.
Howard Willems was also recognized as a tireless volunteer in our community. He assisted with his annual United Way workplace campaign and, along with his partner, hosted the annual United Way garage sale fundraiser at his home. He helped with Growing our Future Urban Gardening Projects and assisted the Saskatchewan Zimbabwe Committee in shipping one million packets of seeds to alleviate food shortages caused by a catastrophic crop failure. He served on the Board of Directors of Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op – an agency that credits their development and growth to Howard’s volunteer work. A bike-a-thon fundraiser which he established continues on, with the dollars raised being split between Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op and Nashi. These are just some of Howard’s volunteer initiatives, but they all speak to his commitment to enriching and building a stronger community for everyone.
Howard’s wife Brenda accepted the award on Howard’s behalf.