A North Bay man, Dennis Chippa, a highly respected community leader and humanitarian will be invested into the Order of Ontario by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of the Order of Ontario.
A news release from Office of the Lieutenant Governor says Chippa "has changed the social fabric of his community. His extensive volunteer efforts have improved the lives of countless low-income families and homeless men and women living in Ontario's North."
The Order of Ontario is the province's highest official honour. It recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field benefiting the people of Ontario or anywhere in the world. Appointments to the Order of Ontario are made on the recommendation of an independent advisory council based on public nominations.
"The word I would use is 'overwhelming'," Chippa told BayToday.
"I was really emotional when I first found out about it, but absolutely it is overwhelming."
Chippa was told he was receiving the honour a few weeks ago, and he's well known for having the gift of gab.
"Considering the long history of having a big mouth, to keep it quiet was for me, pretty tough," he laughed.
Understandably, his family is overjoyed.
"They're thrilled. My Dad is 84 and he just kept saying 'This is just wonderful news', so he was really emotional too when I told him so that really made it worthwhile," the 53 year old community activist said."
"The highlight (of his community work) for me is just helping the folks and what I learn from them. In 10 years with Special Olympics you learn so much from the athletes about dedication, hard work and achievement. Even the work that I do with the Warming Centre or Community Living, these are great people. I think what I learn from them is about just how lucky I am and my family is and how even though people we kind of ignore, those folks are fabulous people and that's one of the highlights, being able to work with the people I do, plus all the other volunteers. Nobody does this in a vacuum."
The Lieutenant Governor, who is Chancellor of the Order of Ontario, will bestow the honour to the 25 new appointees during an investiture ceremony at Queen's Park on Wednesday January 20th. The ceremony will be live streamed.
Chippa is also a frequent contributor to BayToday, and was a long-time reporter for MCTV.
See the complete list of appointees here.