Citizens & Businesses of the Year
2021 Citizen of the Year/Junior Citizen of the Year Nomination Form
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- Citizen of the Year Form
2021 Award Winners
Alice DeGeyter; Co-recipient Citizen of the Year Award -2021
The Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Mrs. Alice DeGeyter has been chosen as a Co-Recipient of the 2021 “Citizen of the Year award”
Throughout her years, Alice has been instrumental in the founding and the support of many Delhi community initiatives, giving of herself to help Delhi residents.
In 1971 Alice joined and became actively involved with the Kinette Club of Delhi establishing and overseeing many of the Club’s activities which included co-founding the Co-op nursery school, establishing a Donate a Book Program for the Delhi library, developing and running a program to help underprivileged young mothers learn better household skills, teaching babysitting classes and fulfilling her role as chaperone for the Delhi Tobacco Queen.
Further examples of her desire to give back to her community include being the co-founder of the Delhi Gymnastics Club in 1976 and in 1987 was a member of the Delhi Community Centre Project Committee
In 2018, Alice took it upon herself to update the historical record of Delhi to ensure the years 1970 to 2000 were documented. With assistance from many local citizens, the Delhi News Record and information from the library, the content grew with Alice publishing 1,000 pages of information split between 2 books. A follow-up third book was published that included additional material not covered in the first two books.
Needless to say, Allice has made a significant contribution to Delhi through her dedication to helping others and ensuring the history of Delhi lives on for future generations. The Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to recognize Alice DeGeyter by honouring her as Citizen of the Year for 2021
Archie Verspeeten – Co-recipient “ 2021 Citizen of the Year Award”
By Mike Columbus
The Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce has chosen Mr. Archie Verspeeten as co-recipient “Citizen of the Year”.
Archie and his late wife Irene and family have contributed generously to the betterment of the Delhi and District Community. Significant financial support over a period of many years has permitted development and programming of many worthy Delhi area projects and causes, including the Delhi Community Health Centre, Norfolk General Hospital, Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital and the Delhi Public Library. Archie, a humbly spoken philanthropist believes that “such vital community resources need to be available to everyone”.
Over and above to giving locally, the Verspeetens have contributed to St. Joseph Hospital in London, Sakura House Hospice Woodstock, and most recently and notably establishment of Canada’s first Clinical Genome Centre at London Health Sciences. Archie and Irene donated generously to the cause as they had a deep rooted passion to find a cure to end cancer, a disease which has impacted their family.
Archie was born Feb. 21, 1931 in Woodslee, Ontario. In 1938, at the age of 8, the family moved to a farm in the Teeterville area. From 1951 through to 1957, Archie and Irene purchased a farm near Lynedoch. During this time period in 1953, Archie secured a bank loan totalling $800 towards purchasing his first truck, a five ton straight truck to custom haul neighbouring farm products including bagged fertilizer, baled tobacco, soil and manure. At that time all materials were hand bombed without hoists’ or lift trucks. Archie indicated that back then “trucking was his hobby” away from the farm.
In 1958, during the burgeon days of the tobacco industry, the couple left the farm and moved to the initial Verspeeten Cartage to the Delhi Dalton Road location. Where Archie still resides to this day. At Delhi all 5 sons became involved in building the trucking business often working 7 days a week during peak times. The Company head quarters later relocated to Tillsonburg and eventually to the current location off the 401 Highway in Ingersoll.
Verspeeten Cartage, hauling as many as 120,000 loads annually has been recognized as an award winning Truck Load Carrier of the Year several times by the Automotive Industry for being a transporter of “just in time” auto parts to the North American Market.
The “Driven To Succeed” slogan posted on every trailer, the daily attention to safety, quality service and on time delivery conveys a reputation that speaks for itself.
Although Archie has been retired from the business for some years now, he is proud to point out that “Todays Trucking” magazine ranks Verspeeten Cartage 39th of the top 100 biggest for-hire carriers featuring 432 tractors, 979 trailers, 194 owner operators and 152 employees.
Archie Verspeeten, trucking entrepreneur and patriarch of the Verspeeten family having contributed greatly to Delhi and Area Community projects is truly deserving recognition as “Citizen of the Year”. The Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce thanks Archie and the Verspeeten family for their generosity.
Josh Rieck-2021 Delhi Junior Citizen of the Year -2021
The Delhi and District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Josh Rieck of Delhi has been selected as the Delhi Junior Citizen of the Year for 2021. Josh is a Grade 11 student at Delhi District Secondary School, and a graduate of Saint Francis Cabrini School in Delhi.
- Josh has been an active volunteer for the Delhi minor hockey Association as a timekeeper for the last four years.
- He is also a volunteer T-ball coach for Delhi minor baseball.
- In 2018 and 2019 Josh was a volunteer at the Delhi German Home Heritage Days working as an instructor during the one-week program.
- In 2017 Josh was a volunteer in Guatemala for one week where he helped administer medical assistance to local residents.
- He was also a volunteer in 2018 on a further trip to Guatemala for one week as a promotional activity for youth sports.
- He volunteered for the Terry Fox run in Delhi, and
- Josh has participated as a volunteer in the Delhi Harvest Festival.
He is presently employed at Wholesome Pickins in Delhi as a summer student. Josh plans on furthering his career in the area of sports management and regularly participates on sports podcasts. The Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to recognize Josh for his dedication and time for volunteering in his community and abroad! Congratulations Josh on your award as Delhi Junior Citizen of the Year for 2021
2021 Business of the Year Award
VanHeugten Contractors Inc. was established in 2012 by Kyle VanHeugten. The construction company designs, constructs and manages various types of building structures. Located in Delhi and serving the surrounding area for nearly a decade, the company specializes in agricultural, commercial and residential builds.
Kyle grew up on a tobacco farm in the same community. He completed a Construction Management course at Fanshawe College in London with special honours. He combined his hard work ethic from working in tobacco with his education to start VanHeugten Contractors Inc. shortly after graduating. Ten years later, his business has grown into a reputable and recognizable company in Norfolk County and surrounding area.
Kyle is supported by his wife Victoria, who works as the business manager. Kyle and Victoria are proud parents of two children, Alyvia (3 yrs.) and Auston (1yr.). As Kyle’s business grows, the demand for skilled labour has increased and now the business employs six full-time employees. Kyle manages many trades on each job to completion in numerous projects each year.
VanHeugten Contractors Inc. is proud to operate in an area that can support the farming community and economy in Norfolk County.
Congratulation Kyle and Victoria on a well deserved award.
Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce Congratulates
Delhi District German Home
Picture: Back Row L – R – Katrina Marques, Board Secretary; Rick Csoff, Vice President; Brandon Marques, Director; Ron Kichler, Director
Front Row: L-R Tom Csoff, President; Patty Eppel, Treasurer; Carol Gitta, Administrative Secretary; Carey Hahn, Director
2021 Long Standing Business of the Year
Two distinct groups founded the German Home and continue to be part of the Hall, the Saxons and Swabians. Although their histories are separated by time, the resolve and courage of both groups is remarkably similar. In order to maintain a close association with their countrymen, “The German Association Club of Delhi” was founded on April 20, 1936. In 1947, the Board of the Association requested a charter from the Provincial Government to buy a parcel of land in Delhi on which a “Home” was to be built.
All the German speaking people in the area were asked to buy shares, which were used to build the “Home”. In 1948, a licensed Charter was presented to the Board of Directors, making the official name of the Association “Delhi District German Home Ltd. The German Home was built in 1949 to create a club for the community for social and recreational purposes.
Along with the dedication of The Board of Directors, a Ladies Society was formed to help with the social activities of the club and to preserve and foster the German culture and language. The Ladies Society prepares all the meals that are served at the Hall and are a very important element in the success of the German Home.
In 1954, the bowling alley was completed and was one of four bowling establishments in Delhi at the time, along with the “Ladies and Escorts Beverage Room”.
The German Home has undergone many upgrades over the years. In 1957, a new upstairs kitchen was completed, in l966 the full length of the north side of the building was expanded to increase the seating capacity, in 1968 two more bowling lanes were added to make a total of 6 lanes. In 1971, the “Beverage Room” was renovated and the new lounge was named the Schwarzwald Keller. In 1980, reflecting a Bavarian style architecture, was the new face of the renovated exterior of the building and also the kitchen was expanded to its current size. In 1990, a new entrance to the Schwartzwald Keller was added on the south side of the building.
The German Home has hosted countless weddings, dances, banquets, funeral luncheons and special events and continues to sponsor many local organizations, donate to firefighters, service clubs, nursing homes, medical research groups, hospitals and youth programs in the community.
The Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce congratulates
Picture: Left to Right – Edith Heleniak, Treasurer, Elzbieta, President, Mary Buch, Vice President and Jim Norman, President of the Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce.
Delhi Polish Hall
The Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce congratulates the Delhi Polish Hall for 82 Years of Community service in Delhi.
The history of the Polish Alliance Branch 17 in Delhi began in 1939. With Mike Bozak as Chairman of the Building Committee, the new Hall was built in April 1947. Members donated their time to work a day tearing down the old building. The finished product was a proud moment for all those that participated in making the dreams come true.
The main objective of the new construction of the Hall was to unify the Polish community, as well as the cultivation of Polish character. To preserve the culture they established a Polish school for the children to teach the Polish language and organized national festivities, folkdances along with many events. In 1949, they established a Youth Alliance which continued until 1977. In March of 1977, they formed a soccer team which played in regular sporting competitions and went on to be very successful.
In 1950 the Polish hall was granted a beer license and a liquor license was added few years later. The Hall soon became the ideal venue for weddings, showers, New Year EVE, Christmas parties and many more events.
The Ladies Circle in 1962 held its first organized event which was the Harvest Festival Ball. The following year many more events were outlined for the entire calendar year, such as Josephine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the traditional “Oplatek”.
The Polish Hall has been an active member of the Multi Cultural Organization and generously contributed to many local associations such $10,000 to the Delhi arena, Norfolk County building with a beautiful street clock, Delhi Medical Centre, Delhi Figure Skating Club and scholarships for students. They are now recruiting younger members to carry on their traditions.
The Hall has achieved what their Founders intended: A strong organization respected not only by local Polonia, but by all members of the Community.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE POLISH HALL, WILL DESERVED!
Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce Congratulates
Canada Tobacco District Hungarian House
Picture – Andy Putoczki and Ken Handsaeme
Contratulations -2021 Long Standing Business of the Year
It is likely that the first Hungarians arrived in the tobacco district in the 1920s. With the onset of the Great Depression, one family after another arrived in this district, first as farm labourers, then as share growers and eventually as farm owners.
As their lives became more comfortable and secure, they realized their need for religious, social and cultural expression.
Initiated by a few inspired leaders, they decided to construct a cultural centre in order to maintain and build on the Hungarian heritage.
- January 28, 1947 the first meeting was organized by Paul Rapai Sr.
- February 24, 1947 the second meeting with official minutes was held at the Town Hall and the Canada Tobacco District Hungarian House was officially formed.
President: Paul Rapai
Vice President: George Putoczki Sr.
Treasurer: Peter Erdelyi
Recording Secretary: Andy Hertelendy Corresponding Secretary: William Szenasi
Controllers: Joseph Varga, George Gyulveszi, Joseph Rapchak & John Hasilo
- March 18, 1947, Bylaws were written and in the presence of John J. Hanselman Sr., Reeve of Delhi, and the bylaws were accepted.
- April 24, 1947 the Ladies Aid was organized
President Mrs. Erdelyi
Vice President: Mrs. Babanecz
Secretary: Mrs. Hasilo Recording Secretary: Mrs. Bukta
Treasurer: Mrs. Varga
Controllers: Mrs. Rapai, Mrs. Nagy, Mrs. Kohajda & Mrs. Gehring
- May 11, 1947 volunteers go out to solicit funds from local Hungarian families to build the hall.
- June 1947 the construction of the Hungarian house begins
- May 15, 1949 the official opening of the Canada Tobacco District Hungarian House
- 1954 a picnic site was purchased for use every summer on Sundays
- 1955 Sunday Hungarian Radio Hour begins on CKOT Tillsonburg radio station and continued until the mid 2000s
- Hungarian National celebrations were held on March 15th and October 23rd for over 60 years as well as Mother’s Day programmes and Christmas parties were annual events for many decades.
- Shareholders’ Banquets, Fish Suppers, Anniversary Banquets, Grape Festivals, Hunters’ Banquets are now replaced with successful New Year’s Eve Buffet, Valentine’s Day Buffet, Mother’s Day Buffet, Father’s Day Brunch, Fall Fest Buffet
- 2002 buffet style Hungarian meals began being served in the Danube Bar. A true success story to this day.
- 70 years of renovations included: the basement; by removing the bowling alley and creating the Danube Bar, remodelling the main hall with an oak façade, new lighting and draperies; updating the kitchen and bar areas.
- The hall was not solely involved with Hungarian life but was and still is an active participant in municipal and other local events. Including: County business meetings, Delhi BIA, Delhi Chamber of Commerce, Multicultural Heritage Association of Norfolk, hosting meeting involving area farming practices, Delhi Strawberry Festival, Delhi Fall Fest.
- Bursaries are awarded to deserving secondary students at Delhi Secondary School and Holy Trinity Secondary School.
- It is a proud supporter of Norfolk General Hospital, Delhi Tobacco Museum and Heritage Centre, Delhi Community Health Centre and the Delhi Community Library.
- The main hall caters to weddings, parties, banquets, funeral luncheons, business meetings and luncheons.
- Delicious Hungarian take out foods are available on a regular weekly basis because of their immense popularity and demand including cabbage rolls, breaded chicken, schnitzel. Hungarian sausage is available 3 times a year.
- We encourage our Hungarian and community friends to help preserve our Hungarian heritage, culture and foods.
2021 Long Standing Business of the Year
Picture: Joanne Robbins and Doug Moyaert
The Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce congratulates the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 125
The Delhi Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the Delhi Branch 125 Legion as 2021 one of the Long Standing Business! The Major Walter Barnard Legion was established in 1928, and has served the Delhi community for 103 Years! The Delhi Legion has greatly contributed to Delhi in the past years by supporting dozens of community events, sponsoring the Delhi Legion Peewees Hockey Team since it’s inaugural season and the 1950s, supporting fundraising for the Delhi Medical Center, Delhi Community Center, helping to support the Delhi BIA, the Delhi Public Library, just to name a few. They have been active and supporting the Delhi Harvest Festival, the Santa Claus Parade, and has created a sense of camaraderie and fellowship for our community. The Delhi & District Chamber of Commerce wishes to thank the Royal Canadian Delhi Branch #125 Legion for it’s public service to our community. Well deserved Award!
Previous Citizen of the Year & Junior Citizen of the Year
1971 Vincent Treigis & Junior – John Hasilo
1972 Mrs. Dana Wilson
1973 Pete Lunn
1974 Mrs. C.M. Watters
1975 Arnold M. Sayeau
1976 Mrs. Agnes Braun
1977 Oliver Wozniak & Junior – Dirk Matthys
1978 Paul Kreller
1979 Nora Lloyd
1980 Bert Sullivan
1981 Wilfred E. Saunders
1982 Don McKnight
1983 George LeFevre
1984 Dr. R. McCallum & Madeline Wolfer – Jr. Tom Sheidow
1985 Karen Haskins & John Schultz
1986 Shirley George – Junior Jane Sheidow
1987 Wilfred G. Wittet
1988 Mary Verbruggen
1989 Agnes E. Robertson – Junior JoAnn Novakowski
1990 Irene Hasilo
1991 Fran Hill & Wilf Hill
1992 Sandy Wilbur & Bernie Crawshaw – Jr. Greg Csont
1993 Dottie Smith & Dave Ward – Junior Ronald Smith
1994 Donelda Bodajla & Gary Mawhiney – Junior Brent Stefan
1995 Terry D’Hulster & Shirley Barker – Junior Colleen Braun
1996 Jerry Gekiere
1997 Jerome Coudenys
1998 Michael Columbus & Rick Travale – Junior Jenn Moore-Dahl
1999 Jennifer Chanda
2000 Linda Gekiere
2001 Mike Jiggens
2002 Betty Gooding
2003 Karon Firmani & Robert Brush
2004 John Stanczyk – Junior Jeremy Wittet
2005 Susie Huyge & Bev Heath
2006 Mark Vandenbussche & Mary Vandenbussche
2007 Chris Wolfer & Junior Spencer Frost
2008 Bill Graham & Dolly Graham & Ron Vandenberghe
2009 Ron Kichler & Mary Jane Kekes
2010 Bob Van Impe-Junior Tyler Marques & Brent Stefan
2011 Pat Loncke – Junior Citizen Brandon Marques
2012 James Deconinck & Lyndi-Colleen Morgan
2013 Andy Putoczki – Junior Katie Nettling
2014/5 Joseph Murphy – Junior Natalie Geysens
2016 Mandie Marques – Junior Jaryd MacKay
2017 Yvette Mahieu & Jeannine Krupicz
2018 Ron Klein & Junior Danielle Ward
2019 Ruth Brown – Junior Isabella Spinella
2020 John Mahon – Junior Amberlee Morgan
2021 Archie Verspeeten & Alice De Geyter – Junior Citizen Josh Rieck
2022 Brandon Marques & Junior Citizen – Adrien Patenaude