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Recognition long overdue

Arviat volunteer earns Mayor's Award

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Arviat (Oct 17/01) - Your contributions to the community have not gone unnoticed.

That was the underlying theme to Arviat Mayor David Alagalak's selection of Peter Suwaksiork as the 2001 recipient of the Arviat Mayor's Award.

Mayor Alagalak arrived in Arviat in 1977. He says that, for as far back as he can remember during his 24 years in the community, Suwaksiork has always been heavily involved with volunteer work and had never been recognized for his services.

He says it is time for Suwaksiork's efforts to be recognized by the community.

"Whenever there's assistance needed by others, Peter is always one of the first people to make himself available," says Alagalak.

"The same could be said whenever we had a search-and-rescue effort going on in earlier years, before we had our own community SAR. As well, he always helped out at any community event."

Alagalak says to the best of his recollection, the Arviat Mayor's Award came into being a few years after a number of Kivalliq communities became official hamlets in the early and mid-1970s.

After gaining hamlet status, the communities set about establishing policies and procedures.

Once they were established, awards started to surface honouring those in the communities who worked hard to make their hamlets successful.

"At first, there were so many other priorities the community needed to adapt and handle on its own and that took all our time and effort," says Alagalak. "After the business of running a hamlet started getting organized, things like the Arviat's Mayor's Award were able to get started."

Alagalak says recognition for Suwaksiork's dedication and efforts within the community were long overdue.

"Peter's never really had a job being a recreation co-ordinator, but he was always the person the people looked to during holidays such as Christmas and Easter -- any time communities had the opportunity to gather together.

"He was always ready to help out with the preparation of community activities and so forth."