ABRAM-VILLAGE – Oct. 20, 2017 – A retired St. Timothy couple that does volunteer work for numerous co-ops and community causes almost full-time is the first duo to jointly receive the Co-op Order of Merit award.
This 2017 recognition for volunteers in the Evangeline area’s co-operative sector was presented to Edmond and Zita Gallant Oct. 19 during the 2017 Co-op Forum in Abram-Village. The couple accepted this mark of appreciation with much humility and emotion.
On behalf of the local co-op community, Giselle Bernard explained the raisons why the selection committee had chosen this year’s recipients.
“This devoted couple is always ready to get involved in their community, whether it be to help the sick, seniors, families, friends or neighbors in need. They also contribute greatly to community, social and religious life in the Evangeline region, with great modesty and without expecting anything in return.”
Founding and executive members of the board of directors of the Coopérative de développement culturel et patrimonial de Mont-Carmel, the twosome has always played a huge role in the organization of the co-op’s summer concert series for tourists. “These shows have had incredible success in large part because of the dedication of these two and because of the countless hours they devote to the series. This year was even more special since the co-op was celebrating its 10th anniversary.”
Bernard mentioned that Edmond was also involved with the former Evangeline Credit Union for six years, three of these as president of the board.
“This big-hearted couple, who is extremely well organized and perfectionistic, have been active members of numerous organizations over the years, namely La Société Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin, the local Bicentennial Committee, the Francophones d’âge d’or, the Soeur Antoinette DesRoches Historic Committee and the Mont-Carmel Senior Citizens’ Club. They’ve also served on numerous other provincial and national committees, many of them related to the field of education,” said the event host. Edmond was also recently elected to the board of directors of RDÉE Prince Edward Island.
She added that Edmond and Zita have also taken on various responsibilities with the Evangeline Area Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival. In recent times, they’ve been responsible for the strongman competitions and are currently involved with the organization of the Acazing Talent Competition, in addition to being members of the decoration committee for a few decades. They also personified the traditional characters of Evangeline and Gabriel in 1997.
Edmond has been the organist of the Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel Church Choir for the past 45 years and has been choir director for most of this time. Zita is one of the most active members of the choir. Both bring the choir to Summerside manors and seniors’ homes to entertain the elderly residents. They also help organize entertainment for concerts at Le Chez-nous community care center in Wellington. They also help organize the Grand Ruisseau Song Festival every fall and have both acted in local plays.
“This dynamic duo, which are both retired teachers, have always held the cause of education quite strongly in their heart. They’ve touched the lives of countless youth over the year, thanks to their knowledge, their patience and their desire to see young people succeed,” said Bernard. “Proud of their culture and heritage, these parents and grandparents also devote their heart and soul to ensure the wellbeing of their three children, their four grandchildren as well as their community.”
The award they’ve just won is certainly not their first. Edmond received the Acadian of the Year Award in 1994. He and his wife jointly won the Music PEI Volunteers of the Year Award (2017), the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers (2016), the Evangeline-Central Credit Union Members of the Year Award (2016) and the Acadians of the Year Award (2015).
CUTLINE: Darlene Arsenault, left, from Le Village des Sources l’Étoile Filante Co-op, and Melva Gallant, right, from Le Bel Âge Housing Co-op, helped recognize the accomplishments of Edmond and Zita Gallant of St. Timothy as they won the 2017 Acadian Order of Merit.
For more information:
Organizing Committee Member
902-854-3439, Ext. 230