WDRA Board for 2017/2018

President – Brenda Grady

The role of President with the WDRA is to be a team leader, ensure efficiency while remaining unbiased and keeping the needs of the community as top priority. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, drawing up agenda, leading meetings, having tie breaker vote.

Past President – Cathy Williamson

The role of Past President is to mentor current board executive and provide guidance as needed.

Vice President – Neil Nicholson

The role of Vice President is to Lead Meetings in President’s absence. Responsibilities include managing any human resources issues that may arise with hired staff, approving time sheets and being open to support any other board member within the executive.  She will also be responsible for the facebook fanpage, newsletter and website.

Secretary – Kirsten Norlock

The role of Secretary is to keep accurate minutes of WDRA meetings, send minutes to all board executive members and Whitewater Township.

Treasurer – Heather Fleury

The role of Treasurer is to keep accurate financial records of the WDRA including, but not limited to, mail/bills, accounts receivable, accounts payable, advertising invoices, working alongside Accountant for year-end reports.

Kitchen Manager – Marie McMullen

The role of Kitchen Manager is to liaise with the WDRA and community for events that require use of the kitchen. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, manage/supervise volunteers, recruit and accept donations, purchase food/supplies inventory, meet and report to Food Inspector/Health & Safety.

Bar Manager – Danielle Gervais

The role of the Bar Manager is to efficiently manage all aspects of the WDRA bar including inventory, purchasing, maintaining Liquor License and managing Volunteer Bar Staff.

Facility Manager – Peter Ethier

The role of the Facilities Manager is to oversee all maintenance of the WDRA facility including upgrades and repairs, manage flooders for ice surface, forecast plans, and liaise with inspectors and contractors. The Facilities Manager is also responsible to work alongside any White Water Township employees for the WDRA facility.

Director at Large – Bob Grylls

The role of the Director at Large is to research/coordinate special projects and research/apply for grants for the WDRA. The Director at Large is also open to support any other board member within the executive.

Sports Coordinator – Vacant

The current role of Sports Coordinator is to liaise between Muskrat Minor Hockey (as the Westmeath rep), hockey teams/managers/coaches, the WDRA, the community and hockey players/parents.  This is a board voting position.

***Please contact Brenda Grady if you are interested in becoming a part of the 2017/2018 Board Executive***


The Best Volunteers in the World is not an exaggeration when it comes to the tireless workers at the WDRA Recreation Centre.  Whether painting the lines and circles on the Arena’s ice surface, making new ice in the fall of each year and maintaining  the ice  throughout the winter months, or prepping and serving countless meals from the Hall kitchen, these volunteers know what community spirit can accomplish.  We thank each and every volunteer for all that they do in so many roles.


Our 2011 WDRA Volunteer Workforce

We were Blown Away by the 2011 WDRA Volunteer Survey;

20,000 Volunteer Hours were given by 440* persons.

On the open job market at $15. per hour, this payroll would cost $300,000.   


We already knew this didn’t we? ….. we already knew that we have a dedicated volunteer workforce.  We also suspected that this place is HOCKEY CRAZY.  Now we have empirical evidence!  Numbers don’t lie and when we undertook to count up the volunteer hours contributed to the work of the WDRA for one year, we were blown away!

For example:  8,632 volunteer hours were spent in 2011 to coach, manage and coordinate the Minor Hockey Program in Westmeath, including the four minor hockey tournaments.  That’s 216 forty-hour work weeks or 4 ½  years of work for one person.  But when 117 people work together it all gets done in one hockey season.

We also knew that good home cooking is featured at our Rec. Centre kitchen.  But now we know that it took 209 willing workers to prep, cook , serve and support the catering efforts racking up a huge  1,343 hours in 2011 to stage 16 different culinary events.

The WDRA Board of Management did this counting exercise this past month (November 2011) – they analyzed the various individuals and teams of  volunteers and who have worked this year in so many capacities and were so gratified to see the numbers adding up.

Why go through the exercise of counting volunteer hours?  Funding organizations love to know the level of grass root support.  Before they give out their money they want to know if the recipient community has a solid team of volunteers to sustain the work being funded.  We wanted to have the facts at the ready when we fill out funding applications.

We also feel that taking a census of our volunteer workers has some intrinsic value.  This has never been done at the WDRA and we were curious to see the strength of this workforce that makes our Rec. Association machine tick over for one year.

Here are  some other impressive numbers:

  • The Westmeath Minor Baseball Program was handled by 14 volunteers coaching, managing and coordinating to contribute 2,073  hours.
  • Installing, preparing and maintaining the arena ice surface takes the combined efforts of  23 volunteers working 1,350 hours.
  • The 3 bar staff worked 17 events or 680 combined volunteer hours.
  • The 9 member WDRA Management Board chalked up a total of 2,107 hours of administration work, the equivalent of 53 forty-hour workweeks or over one year of work for one person.
  • To maintain our building in great shape it took 580 volunteer hours on top of paid hours.
  • 440 hours were contributed to Children’s Programming by 22 people.
  • Print and digital communications through the monthly Newsletter and the setting up of the new WDRA website took approximately 800 hours in 2011.
  • Approximately 600 hours were devoted to the strategic planning and feasibility study initiative – the work will continue into 2012.
  • Arena Ice Rental Booking hours added up to approximately 600.

*Some individuals serve this community in multiple capacities and were counted in each role because we feel each role needs to be honoured individually.  The survey was based on event reports and team coordinator reports and averages per event or role were used.

Job Posting


Job Title: WDRA Volunteer

Position Overview: Position requires curiosity regarding how you can contribute and a willingness to say “Yes, I can”.

Essential Job Requirements:

  • Desire to give your energy, ideas and the gift of time to your community.
  • Desire to lighten the load of those already volunteering.
  • Willingness to give “sweat equity” to support WDRA initiatives.
  • Willingness to pull together, meet new people and form new ties.
  • Desire to be a role model to the children re what good citizenship means.
  • A sense of humour when things go wrong

Not Needed for the Job:

  • Any experience being a volunteer.
  • Any hesitancy about coming out and participating.
  • Any worries that you will be unwelcome.
  • Any specific skills or abilities – something will be just right for you to do.

Check Areas of Interest to you: (And the list goes on….)

  • Kitchen & Catering: general food preparation, baking, cooking and serving
  • Hockey and ball coaching, training, or refereeing  and umpiring
  • Hall or Arena set-up or take-down (chairs & tables)
  • Audio-Visual equipment maintenance
  • Bartending (with required course)
  • General handyman jobs
  • Children and Teen programming
  • Ice Making and flooding – Zamboni driving
  • Grounds keeping
  • “Canada Day” committee work
  • “Winter Carnival” committee work
  • Santa Claus Parade committee work
  • Decorating Hall for special events
  • Grounds Beautification committee work
  • WDRA Board Member
  • Fundraising committee work
  • Washing dishes and cleaning up kitchen and hall or arena after the event

Job Outcome: The Personal Reward of:

  • Knowing you have made a difference.
  • Knowing you have made new friends.
  • Knowing you had a fun time with your friends & neighbours.
  • Knowing you have made this community a great place to live.
  • Knowing you took the opportunity and it was so worthwhile.

Please Contact Us and volunteer. You’ll be happy you did!

WDRA Executive and Board Positions

The Executive and the Board of the Westmeath and District Recreation Association is an all volunteer group, which is elected each April at the Annual General Meeting.  All citizens of the area are eligible to vote during the AGM and the candidates standing for election come from all walks of life.  They share one attribute:  they want to contribute to the community.

The current positions are:

  • President
  • Past President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Bar Manager
  • Kitchen Manager (also Hall Bookings)
  • Events Coordinator
  • Sports Coordinator
  • Facility Maintenance Coordinator

The president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary are the Executive Committee, and have signing authority.  Other board positions, as needed, are established from time to time.

Currently three part-time paid positions are in place: one Facility Maintenance Manager, one Janitorial Manager, and Bingo workers.  Other paid work for specific professional or trade requirements is contracted throughout the year.  All other work is done by a dedicated contingent of tireless volunteers.

Many Volunteer positions are ongoing and much appreciated:  Tween Dance Coordinator, Newsletter Graphic Artist, numerous Arena Flooders, Website Coordinator, and Ball Diamond Groundskeeper, plus other helpers.  Hockey and Ball programs requite long hours for the coaches, trainers and referees or umpires.

The banquet hall kitchen and bar workers put in long hours prepping, creating and serving meals of all types; all quickly devoured and enjoyed,  – but the crew of volunteers willingly face the washing up  and the hard work that happens behind the scene.

The next time you attend an event of any type at the WDRA Recreation Centre, you’ll know that hours and hours of volunteer time has gone into assuring that the facility is in good shape, and the event gives you a crackerjack good time. And maybe stop and thank a volunteer for their contribution.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Each year a very special volunteer is awarded the WDRA Volunteer of the Year Award, during the Canada Day, July 1st Celebrations. This award is given to worthy volunteers who over many years have, time and again,  served this community willingly and purposefully.     The selection committee members have had a problem each year.  Who to choose when there are so many excellent and worthy candidates?  Thus far these wonderful citizens have been honoured.


2013 Recipient – Brenda Grady

We just couldn’t wait until Brenda Grady was older and glued to a television set before presenting her with a Volunteer of the Year award. She has been and still is so involved in community happenings it seemed that this is the right time to recognize her contributions.

Her orderliness began as a youngster. Growing up in Lapasse, she especially loved her cats. She would often dress them in doll clothes and somehow manage to have them stay in the baby stroller as she pushed them around.  She has passed her love of animals to all her children. She is the mother of 5 and the grandmother of 7.

Despite working full-time at Wilderness Tours, Brenda has volunteered to help out more times with more clubs and organizations than the number of times many of us get to drive to Pembroke.

Three different schools were on her list; Our Lady of Grace School and Westmeath Public School in Westmeath, and Cobden Public School. She did things like BBQ’s and help with school outings.

While she was President of Our Lady of Mount Carmel CWL (LaPasse) she was instrumental in starting the Soup and Sandwich. It is still going strong 10 years later. All of the money raised goes to local and international charities.

When Brenda’s kids were in the 4-H Club, of course she had to be there helping with the activities. In fact, just this past year she returned to teach 4-H members how to make chocolate. She is a chocolate maker and is well known for her almond bark and toffee.

Involved in the WDRA committee for at least a decade, she was the Kitchen Manager for a while until she climbed the ladder to the administrative side; first as Vice-President and then President for the last few years. During all this time she was the bingo coordinator at Country Bingo and responsible for WDRA helpers being on hand for the Friday evening games, one of main sources of income to the WDRA.

She is also a board member of Muskrat Minor Hockey Association and the 2012 winner of the Patti Eckford Dedication Award. This award is given to a strong supporter and volunteer of Muskrat Minor Hockey as well as having strong community involvement. She still handles the booking of the ice for the WDRA, which is so important to revenues.

She has organized fundraiser events for the Canadian Kayaking Team, two of which were held in the Westmeath Community Hall. Delicious roast beef dinners were prepared by Brenda for about 150 guests. The fundraisers helped the team members get to the world championships in Europe, including her two sons, Keegan and Caleb.

At one point she went to the Beachburg Lions Club with her son Keegan who had been invited to give a talk on his kayaking trip to Europe. The Lions had helped sponsor his way to the competition. In the next breath Brenda was invited to become a member of the Lions and could not resist. That was four years ago. She fitted in nicely and has taken full responsibility for the annual pancake breakfast and several special meals during the year. She is the membership chairperson. She also has won the “Lion of the Year” award twice, primarily due to her eagerness and organizational skills.

Brenda Grady is known by her family and friends as a seamstress, knitter, chocolate maker and cook (she is always asked to prepare the Easter ham for the family – the best around). The rest of us think of her as someone we would like to keep up with but can’t. Did we say she also works full-time?


2011  Recipient -  Izett McBride

An Optimist and Community Pillar.

The unanimous choice  as the 2011 Award Recipient is a mainstay of the community:   Izett McBride.

Izett has a deeply ingrained sense that service to others is the highest calling one can have. It would be difficult to find someone in our community over the age of 50, who has not been on a volunteer committee with him of some sort, or been asked or influenced by him to contribute in some way.   He has in his quiet way, always maintained that anything can be accomplished if you just band together and get on with it.

Anyone who knows him will call him the most optimistic person they’ve ever met and that level of optimism rubs off on everyone he meets. He is also the best delegator that many have ever worked with.

Izett is an original founder of the WDRA and greatly contributed in many, many ways to the establishment of the Westmeath Recreation Centre in its present form.  He with Edgar White and the late Bob Bromley, wrote our WDRA Constitution, campaigned with so many others to find financing,   and supervised the construction to see this recreation centre building rise not once, but twice.

Izett   really set the course that we in the WDRA still follow today.   He was chair of the building committee which planned and built the new arena and hall in 1973 and 1974, installed artificial ice in 1975 and a new lighted ball park in 1976.  This was part of a massive community fundraising effort in conjunction with all possible grants available at that time.

That all that was accomplish in such a short time – by such a small community – was mostly due to his great vision of what people can accomplish when they put their minds to it, and simply keep moving forward.    It doesn’t have to be a big splash – just incremental steps. And before you know it, you turn around and see how far you’ve come.

Izett was President of the WDRA in 1983 and 1984 when fire caused extensive damage to the hall and being ever the optimist, he saw that as an opportunity for improvement – so the building was extended to make a better hall and dressing room area as well as adding handicapped access.

Nobody likes to have a good time and throw a party more than Izett – he just thinks on a bigger scale.  His eldest son Hugh recalls:      “Dad had great vision when it came to securing entertainment for the annual Westmeath Days. For a stretch of years in the 1980′s we had the best concerts in the whole Ottawa Valley. People came from Pembroke, Renfrew, Arnprior and all points between to party in Westmeath with Toronto (the band…), Platinum Blond, and the best one of all, David Wilcox!

“Every whitewater rafting staff member from all the companies were there that night to do the Hypnotizin’ Boogie, Riverboat Fantasy, The Bearcat, and Bad Apple.

“And the best part for me that night was when Dad brought me into the dressing room for a short chat with Wilcox and to get his autograph on the “Westmeath Rocks with David Wilcox” poster. I’ll never forget that night.”

He seems happiest when he has a volunteer committee around him and they are all setting out to solve a problem or improve our community.  It’s not from big speeches or being loud or pushy. He is a quiet reflective man who gets things going by proposing an idea, discussing it with all who will listen, and through that process come out the other side with a strong team all pulling in the same direction.

He has served this community non-stop since his teen years, in organizations like 4H, Junior Farmers, and been a member and elder at St. Andrew’s  United Church  as well as life-long member of  the Liberal Party of Canada, (he is an optimist).

Politics has always interested him and locally he has served as our councillor on the old Westmeath Township Council and then the Township of Whitewater Region Council.  He is currently our Deputy Mayor.  He was also very active in the S. O. S. (Save Our School) effort when the Board threatened to close the public school.  And he was a part of the International Plowing Match coming to Renfrew County.

He was named after his maternal grandfather, Izett Anderson, an original homesteader, (John and Myrtle Bromley’s farm), on the Bromley Line and the unique old Scottish name of “Izett” has labelled a unique man.   One of six children, he lived his young days and early adulthood on the family dairy farm on Pleasant Valley Road.  Through the years he has called Lookout Road, Rapid Road and now the La Passe  Road  home.

Izett,  with his first wife Ruth, raised a family of two sons:  Hugh and Kirby,  and one daughter:  Heidi.  They and their families are very proud of their Dad.  He and his second wife Gail Richardson now fill their retirement leisure time with gardening, driving his new tractor, trips to visit children and grandchildren, and pontoon boat rides.

Izett’s extensive volunteer work in the greater community has been of great benefit to us all. In the field of health care he helped evolve how medical services are structured and made available to us in this part of Eastern Ontario.  He is now a key leading force in the new expansion plans of the Whitewater Bromley Community Health Centres.   Izett was Chair of our local Health Centre Board when it received stable annual funding of 1.4 million dollars to serve our health needs.

He is now currently working on what may be one of his hardest tasks – to bring freight railway service back to our Valley – perhaps leading to the start-up of a new passenger rail service between Pembroke and Ottawa.  Will that ever fly?   Izett is of course optimistic!

In over 30 years on the job as a real estate broker his “people skills” served him well.  Many of the local cottages, farms and family homes in this Westmeath, Perretton, La Passe  area have changed hands through his realty work.

He truly loves this “Big Bend” area – its farmland and its river shorelines;   -  and when we come together each Canada Day,….   - we embody what Izett McBride loves best – people joined together celebrating our great community and country.


2010 Recipient – Gail Ethier

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The WDRA (Westmeath & District Recreation Association) for the third year in a-row have selected a Volunteer of the Year, someone who has contributed to the Community Centre and the Community. This year’s recipient was Gail Ethier.

Gail and her brother Terry (deceased) and sister Barbara were the children of Ted and Francis Hennessey and grew up in the village of Westmeath. Gail never lived anywhere else but the immediate area.

One of her good friends since school days is Marilyn Kenny. “Gail would do anything for anyone,” she said. “I was so pleased when Gail married my first cousin.”

They both had long legs and competed in the broad jump in school events. There weren’t gyms or field trips in those days. No matter who won, it made no difference they remained friends. A few years later Gail tuned her attention to boys, some being hockey players from La Passe.

One of her claims to fame was introducing Westmeath students and parents to Rock n’ Roll. At a St. Patrick’s Concert in the town hall, she sang and rocked to Bill Haley’s song, Rock Around the Clock, back in the 50’s.

Gail married a Westmeath chap Ron Ethier and they have now been married 51 years. The children are Terry, Glen, Peter, Bruce and Mary-Lynn. There are 20 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. The four boys born within five years of each other were quite a handful. When living in the former house of Gail’s mother and father in 1967, Ron and Gail were returning from an evening out and stopped at a restaurant in Beachburg. They heard a rumour that the Hennessey house had burnt to the ground. Apparently, young Bruce took matches from the babysitter and set a closet upstairs on fire. The water disbursed by the fire department caused more damage than the fire.

Of course, when the boys were old enough, it was hockey. Gail and Ron were in that Westmeath Rink virtually every night. Moreover, it continues to this day as grandchildren started playing and are still playing.

For six years, Gail and Linda Bromley first, then Yvette Watson were into a catering business to Hal functions. Their first request was for a Township banquet. Others followed such as weddings and community suppers. Gail’s specialty was her baked goods and deserts.

“She was a pleasure to work with,” said Ms. Bromley. “I always looked forward to doing the prepping in the kitchen with her for an occasion.”

Afterwards Gail continued to work in the kitchen and in the canteen downstairs as a volunteer. Her big events were Westmeath Days and the Winter Carnivals where her pancakes disappeared quickly. At the recent Carnival, she took the initiative as the emergency Master of Ceremonies, probably locking a new job. She mentioned that it was the first time she ever used a microphone.

Since 1980, Gail and Ron have been delivering mail to the rural routes around Westmeath and La Passe and still do to this day. They have seen quite an increase in new homes since they have been on the job.

Always willing to try something new, in 1989 they built a restaurant called Ethier’s Place. After a few years, it changed hands and became known as Cackleberry’s.

“Gail Is the gift that keeps on giving,” said Cathy Williamson, planner for this year’s Canada Day festivities. “When her boxes of cookies and donuts arrived, people lined up to buy them.”

As if that wasn’t enough to keep busy, Gail has been playing the organ in the Catholic Church for 30 years. She took on the role as President of the CWL for many years as well.

Gail’s great job in raising her children, her involvement in the church as an example to others, all that she has contributed to the kitchen and other areas of the Community Centre and her consistent support of the Westmeath hockey teams makes her the ideal Volunteer of the Year for 2010.


2009 Recipient – Joan Ethier

Under Lock and Key

This Westmeath Canada Day Celebration the “Volunteer of the Year for 2009” is  an area person who has contributed a large number of years service to the community centre and has made a difference by doing so. The WDRA has chosen someone who meets all criterions, Joan Ethier.

Brenda Grady, Kitchen Manager for the WDRA, made the announcement during the pig roast dinner. Ms. Grady was the one to succeed Ms. Ethier about nearly 10 years ago and was quick to say, “I knew I would have very big shoes to fill”.  Ms. Ethier upon reaching the stage, received congratulations, flowers and a plaque from Lynn McMullen, Vive President of the WDRA

Our volunteer grew up on a farm near Eganville, the eldest of six brothers and sisters, Rick, Terry, Debbie, Penny and Lynn. After finishing school, she worked at Canada Veneers and the Civic Hospital in Pembroke. She married a chap named Johnny Komernicki, then a move to Lively, near Sudbury where Johnny worked at the mines. She ran the Husky Restaurant in Lively for six years until it closed because of a highway bypass, even transferring to the one in Dryden for a few years, a long way from home. That is dedication. Then Johnny passed away one year. Joan who had been friends with Earl Ethier made a connection and they became more than friends.

Joan and Earl married in the early 70’s. Both wanted to return to Westmeath where they had family or maybe it was because of the green pastures of the Valley rather than the grey stones of Sudbury. They built a home in the village where they still live. Earl continued working for a few years in Sudbury while Joan did what she does best. She went back to work for her sister Penny, owner of the Golden Plate in Pembroke. Next, it was running the kitchen at the Wise Owl Daycare, also in Pembroke. Her knowledge of health regulations relating to kitchens and food preparation went unchallenged. Later when she had the time to be responsible for the kitchen at the community centre, her reputation for operating a “tight ship” had preceded her. She was exactly what the community centre had needed at that point in time.

She was so conscious of cleanliness that her nickname became “Mrs. Bleach” – behind her back of course. Some said, “She wanted a white tile floor in the kitchen so it would have to always look clean”. She initiated an extra storage room built onto the kitchen for food, which she kept under lock and key, only one key. She also began locking everything up under her domain. Never a thing went astray or missing from then on. It ruffled a few feathers but the increased security kept inventory of cutlery and dishware constant.  A family Joan could always count on for help with catering events was the Desjardins sisters.

As her husband Earl said, “She has a mind of her own”. Art Plume, an active volunteer at the time remarked, “She was a whiz at both cooking and baking”. He often hung around for leftovers. He added, “There were suspicions that she had a secret cookbook hidden in the kitchen”.

Joan liked to keep busy. She was a member of the Seniors Club as well and then became President, as well as handling the kitchen. Her organizational skills kept things in both involvements on course. “Joan was especially good at crafts, quilts and beadwork”, said Laurine Blackwell. “Her favourite time was the Christmas preparations”. Some mentioned that it was likely true that she was a little bossy but no one seemed to mind that because she got things done.

Her sister Debbie, also from the Westmeath area, has a different memory of big sister Joan. When she was six years old, Joan gave her a perm. Debbie said, “It was so terrible, I had to get all my hair cut off”. However, it hasn’t interfered with how supportive Debbie is of Joan today.

Now that Joan has stepped down from volunteer work and some spark has gone, her impact on our Community Centre is not forgot. She will not forget this surprise either. As much as Joan can run the show, she has an aversion to being in the limelight. Tonight she had no choice as she had no say in this matter.


2008 Recipient – Bob Watson

Twenty Thousand  Hours and Counting

The Westmeath and La Passe community was the beneficiary when Bob Watson as a young man played hockey in the Westmeath Arena with his friends from this area. He was destined to meet and marry the love of his life, Yvette Gervais.  They married in 1959 and together raised six children. Bob also had a love of anything hockey-related or associated with the rink and later in 1976, the newly built community centre. It was as if he was preparing the way for his children, when they were old enough, to have the opportunity of playing sports.

Without a doubt Bob has been our most prolific and involved volunteer this community can ever remember. Full-time employment was not a deterrent to his numerous participations and taking on of responsibilities. In addition to his years as an executive on the Westmeath and District Recreation Association, many his volunteer hours revolved around the ice-rink, both the old and the new one, including everything from coaching to maintaining the ice surface. He helped raise funds to build the new rink, maintained the grounds around the facility and the ball diamond, canvassed for the Cancer Society and coordinated a Walk-a-thon to raise funds, only some of his commitments.

Bob is a modest person, but always available to help where needed most. Never drawing attention to himself, it is the very reason why our WDRA committee feels they should recognize him officially for the super volunteer he has been, 40 years strong and no letting up in sight.

There is no way to accurately calculate the number of hours Bob Watson has contributed to the community but if an average of ten hours per week was assumed, then the total hours of volunteer time over his 40 years would be around 20,000 hours!