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Couple’s long-time volunteer work earns kudos

Known for their years of volunteer work, particularly in the Elmira hockey community, Graham and LuAnn Snyder are among those to be inducted this year into the Region of Waterloo Hall of Fame.

A virtual ceremony next month will mark the occasion, highlighting their contributions to the community. 

“On an annual basis, the board inducts up to eight people into the hall of fame, and that’s usually divided between sports people, and then what’s called the pioneers and community builders group,” explained Stacy McLennan, collection curator for the Region of Waterloo Museums and staff liaison for the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame board.  

Also joining the hall this year are Nathan Brannen (distance runner), Colin Doyle (lacrosse player), Kenneth Goodman (formed a militia company that became the 29th Waterloo Battalion of Infantry), Jean Haalboom (heritage preservation), Keith Priestman (badminton player), Marilyn Straus (heritage advocate) and Vincent Smith (involvement with the Caribbean community).  

The ceremony will be held online, as it was last year, due to the ongoing pandemic.

“This year and last year, with the pandemic, we weren’t able to hold the physical ceremonies that we normally hold. So we created online videos for each inductee instead;  that’s what we’re trying to do for the 2021 inductees as well,” said McLennan, noting the information will be part of a physical display at the Region of Waterloo Museum, as is the case with all recipients since the initiative began in 1974.

Perhaps apropos of the current situation, the Snyders first learned of their inclusion into the class of 2021 via email.

“We got an email from the hall of fame, just outlining it a little bit. That was, I think, a few months back….  We’re very honored, and wanted to know more information about where, how it all came about and that sort of thing,” said Graham Snyder, noting it was a humbling surprise.

The entry into the hall recognized the couple’s volunteer work, something that Snyder says is just second nature.

“I just think that we felt or feel it’s important to give back to the community because it was there for us, me in particular. In the Elmira area, we have lots of support. I happened to come along at exactly the right time to play for the Elmira Sugar Kings in their first year –  there’s been lots of support from the hockey community, so it’s nice to be able to give some of that back,” said Snyder.

McLennan notes the hall of fame board received numerous nominations for the couple, acknowledging much of the pair’s hard work and dedication.

“They’ve been involved with local hockey, especially in Woolwich Township. I know Graham was one of the first players on the very first Elmira Sugar Kings hockey team. And then he was the general manager of the team for a while. He’s been on the board of Woolwich Minor Hockey Association. And he and LuAnn also billeted sugar King players for many years, as well.

“And then, of course, when their son Dan was killed in the automobile accident, they created two separate scholarships that go towards athletes and athletic associations.  So that was part of the rationale for inducting them – that they have done a lot of good in the community and have had a lot of very positive impact for sports in Woolwich Township,” said McLennan, noting that Graham was also a large part of Elmira’s 2009 Hockeyville application. 

Instead of this year’s in-person ceremony being cancelled, the videos are expected to be released on the last Sunday of April on the museum’s website, when the in-person event would typically be held. 

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