A passionate volunteer and community leader, Rick Grebinski has been named the 2013 Wellesley citizen of the year.The distinction has been awarded by the Wellesley and District Board of Trade annually since 1974, “to provide the community with an opportunity to honour and recognize the outstanding achievements and unselfish contributions of their fellow citizens. Each year the award acknowledges a remarkable individual that motivates and inspires others through their vision, leadership, talent, humanity and spirit of community service. As the award is community based, the nominees come directly from the community, and those touched by these outstanding individuals.”
The award will be presented November 29 at the Wellesley Community Centre during a Christmas dinner organized by the Wellesley Lions Club, the Optimists, the Wellesley-North Easthope Fall Fair board and the Apple Butter and Cheese Festival board.
Grebinski is excited, yet humbled by the acknowledgment.
“I was blown away,” Grebinski said at his home in the village. “Kim (Heinmiller) phoned me up, and it just wasn’t clicking in. It’s such a huge honour. We’ve been out here for 10 years and I have kind of had my finger in the pie a little bit here and a little bit there over the years. But there are just so many people out here who are worthy and deserving; it is such an honour to be chosen. Wow.”
Grebinski is a big supporter of the Wellesley Applejacks as a past-president and current equipment manager. And he’s also involved at the minor hockey level, as a member of the Twin City Minor Hockey banquet committee, which runs the season-end celebrations for the local hockey association and presents graduating midget players with Twin City jerseys to commemorate their time spent with TCMH.
He has also run the Wellesley home show for the past five years, and is a regular volunteer at the fall fair and the Apple Butter and Cheese Festival.
“He’s involved in quite a few things,” Wendy Sauder, the Wellesley and District Board of Trade treasurer and 2002 recipient of the award said. “He’s like a full-time volunteer. He helps out with everything. He’s just one of those guys that once he was available (retired about five years back) he just went at it. It’s wonderful.”
It’s important for the township, which is well known for its sense of community, to celebrate volunteerism, she added.
“We all have busy lives, but you have to take the time to bring things to your town that aren’t being provided by the township. It just gives us more things that we wouldn’t have without volunteers getting behind projects. And it is so important that we recognize those people who get involved.”
For his part, Grebinski is happy to help.
“I just love it out here,” he said. “It is so neat walking down the street and waving to everybody because you know everyone. Everybody helps everybody.”