By Ryan King
Community News Reporter
PORT AUX BASQUES – During the town council meeting on Jan. 19 mayor Brian Button presented a trio of awards on behalf of Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Krista Lynn Howell. The awards were a thanks to three men who have dedicated themselves to many years of service. Those honoured were former mayor John Spencer, Councillor Jerome Battiste, and former councillor Chester Coffin.
Spencer said that it was a tremendous honour to be recognized for his 16 years of service to the town and region.
“Taking an active interest in our town, our home, where I was certainly advantaged to have grown up, came as second nature. I have always seen the value in a need to be involved in some way or form within the community in some organization, taking an active role. I have never been a person to sit back asking the why and leaving it at that. Those who know me realize I have never shied away working with others towards the change one wants to see in our community.”
On a personal level, Spencer said that being involved at the municipal level of government has been very rewarding.
“To be honoured at the provincial government level for my years of service has been humbling. I certainly am proud of the recognition for my small part in a community of wonderful people with volunteers over the years, giving a lifetime of support to this town and the many fine towns and service districts found within the entire Southwest corner of this magnificent province we all are proud to call home.”
Chester Coffin shared similar sentiments at being recognized. For him, the award means, “That I have given over 20 years of volunteer service to the town that I grew up in and still loves. I would do it all over again in a blink of an eye.”
Jerome Battiste, who is still serving on Council, was also very pleased to receive the award for his 16 years of service.
“It felt great on receiving the award. Municipal service means a lot,” said Battiste. “It’s great to be able to help my community for these past years in getting some improvements like paving, sidewalks and some new infrastructure, like the low rental housing.”
Mayor Brian Button said that handing out the awards was also meaningful for him on a personal level. He has served with all three over the course of his own years of municipal service.
“Having the opportunity to present them certificates on behalf of the province and their awards for their years of service really meant a lot to me because I had a history with them, and I know their dedication to the town. I know that they were committed to trying to do what was best for the residents, and that was their ultimate goal every time that they ever ran. I’m sure if the Minister was there, it’s nice to have the actual minister present them, but to do it on her behalf and me getting the opportunity was pretty special for me, I got to admit.”
Button said that these awards are an impressive accomplishment, as being involved in municipal politics isn’t always easy.
“When you’re dealing with local issues you’re having to deal with, right in your town that you live in, and then you stay at it for that length of time – respectively 16 and 20 years plus – it is quite an accomplishment. And I think it needs to be recognized because it’s not easy doing this work. And it comes with some good days, and it comes with some bad days in it, and it comes with some bad feelings at times. So it’s remarkable that everybody stays around that long. So my hat’s off to them and they certainly deserve the recognition that they got.”