Cutting awarded for service to local community

By Gordon Lambie
Cutting awarded for service to local community

Gerald Cutting, President of the Townshippers’ Association, will be receiving this year’s Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award alongside jazz legend Oliver Jones and social worker and community volunteer Miriam Green. Given out every year by the Quebec Community Groups Network(QCGN), the award recognizes individuals who have dedicated their lives to ensuring English-speaking Quebec remains a dynamic community within the province and the country as a whole.

“This year’s honorees have all gone above and beyond in contributing to the vitality of Quebec’s English-speaking community,” commented QCGN board member and award jury chair Irene Tschernomor, explaining that is the main goal of the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award, created by QCGN in 2009. “Our juries are always impressed with the quality of nominees who are all outstanding and effective in their particular areas of community involvement.”

Cutting told The Record that he learned the news two weeks ago before being sworn to secrecy.

“I was absolutely delighted,” the Townshippers’ President said. “This is certainly one of the last things I would have expected.”

Clearly pleased to have been recognized, Cutting put a lot of emphasis on the fact that there are many more people behind everything he is involved in than just himself. He also noted that it is significant to see the QCGN placing value on members of the English community outside of the greater Montreal area, because of the fact that rural Anglophones live a very different reality than their urban counterparts.

“There’s a whole bunch of people who have contributed in so many ways to the things that supposedly I have done to merit this,” the president said, “but by recognizing me I think (QCGN) is recognizing the value I have been trying to bring forward. We have to be as dynamic and participatory as possible, working in partnership towards improving things for our own minority and, through that, everyone else in rural Quebec.”

Though humble about the award, Cutting was clearly very touched to be put into a category of people likened to Sheila and Victor Goldbloom in their contributions to community.

“These are people who have, over the years, dedicated so much of their lives and their time and their values to helping the English speaking community as well as building bridges with the French speaking community.” Cutting said. “It makes me feel very, very special to be seen as someone worthy of mention in that light.”

Townshippers Association Executive Director Rachel Hunting referred to Cutting as a mentor whose dedication is second to none in her nomination letter.

“Gerry is a passionate and eloquent spokesperson for the (English Speaking Community), both rural and urban,“ Hunting said in the letter. “Gerry’s dedication to improving the lives of English-speakers has been demonstrated consistently in both his personal and professional life for as long as I have known him.”

Townshippers’ Vice-President Peter Quilliams echoed those feelings in speaking with The Record on Monday.

“I’ve been working with Gerry at the Townshippers’ Association for many years and have watched him deal with issues and volunteer to a tremendous extent.” Quilliams said, stating that he feels Cutting has made tremendous contributions to the betterment of his community. “I’ve watched him take the English speaking community’s rights directly to the government.”

Though Cutting has gained attention in recent years for his work with the Townshippers’ association, those who nominated him for the award also cited merits dating back long before his time as association president.

J. Robert McConnachie, in his nomination letter for Cutting, reflected on the time the man spent working in a range of roles at Champlain College and prised him as being a person generous with his time, professional in his approach, and committed to the local English population.

“His exemplary leadership was consistently directed towards the ultimate aim of providing quality educational programs and services for the English-speaking community served by the College,” the former Champlain board member and Alexander Galt High School Principal wrote in his letter of support.

Donald Warnholtz, Chairperson of the Dixville Home Corporation, reflected on almost 40 years of experience working with Cutting by saying that he always displayed strong leadership and dedication.

“His vision and calm approach were instrumental towards successfully navigating the many years of transformation of the Health and Social Services sector.” Warnholtz said. “During these times, he never lost sight of the mission of the centre to provide quality services to persons with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder. He also stressed the importance of making these services accessible in English to the persons who required it.

This year’s Goldbloom winners will receive their award at a special community recognition ceremony on Oct. 27 at Montreal’s St. James Club.

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