Doug Cooper was formally presented with the 2020 Tillsonburg Citizen of the Year Award on Nov. 17 at a closed ceremony in the Tillsonburg Council Chambers, three months after he was announced as this year’s recipient.
Due to COVID-19, and limited public gatherings, the presentation by Mayor Stephen Molnar was shown online, along with comments from family and friends.
Collette Takacs noted that Cooper has been in the broadcasting business, cable and radio, for 48 years, finishing his 32-year career as operations manager at Country 107.3/Easy 101 in Tillsonburg.
His coaching career spanned more than 17 years coaching hockey, Special Olympics baseball, basketball and golf.
He has also held leadership positions at Community Living Tillsonburg where he is currently director-at-large.
Reflections on Cooper’s contributions to the community – some pre-recorded, some live in the council chambers on Nov. 17 – were given by Karen Devolin, Eric Collins, Chris Beesley, Randy Owen, Pat Benoit, Matthew MacNeil and Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman.
Members of his family also spoke about Cooper.
“His love of life and the community starts at home,” said Devolin. “And we are all just very lucky that he considers Tillsonburg, and all of us, his home and family.”
“Considering all that he does for the community, I can’t think of anybody who is more deserving of this particular honour for Citizen of the Year for Tillsonburg,” said Owen. “The one thing that always comes to my mind, one word, when I think about Doug is dedication.”
“He’s always been involved with multiple volunteer organizations,” said Benoit. “He’s touched many people – People First, Community Living, Special Olympics, Scouts, and numerous hockey organizations. He simply goes above giving his time and energy to numerous groups.”
“Congratulations,” said MacNeil. “All the athletes want to tell you that we are so honoured and privileged to have you as a coach.”
“The Tillsonburg ‘Citizen of the Year’ award has a long and distinguished history, dating back to the original recipient (Harry Ostrander) in 1978,” said Molnar.
“For most of the years since, whether organized by the Chamber of Commerce or the Special Awards Committee of the Town of Tillsonburg, all have done a wonderful job facilitating this annual event and recognizing the efforts of the local residents who make Tillsonburg a special place to live, work and play.
“This award is presented to an individual who makes an outstanding contribution to the town with no expectation of personal gain. Volunteering of personal time and talent towards the betterment of our community are true hallmarks of this award. Past recipients of this award have been instrumental in achieving this goal and in doing so enhancing the value of our community.
“This evening’s recipient, Doug Cooper, is understandably no different. The impact Doug has had on our community is extremely significant. In general he, like previous honorees, has been more than a community leader; he has been a community builder. It is his ‘sense’ of community that echoes loudest as the many presenters have attested to this evening.”
“On behalf of Council and the residents of the Town of Tillsonburg,
I am pleased to present this Certificate (and Plaque), recognizing you, Mr.
Doug Cooper, as the Tillsonburg Citizen of the Year for 2020.”
“I’m honoured and humbled by this award,” said Cooper. “It is an honour to be named Citizen of the Year but I feel there are others in town who deserve the award just as much as I do. So if you know of somebody, please nominate them for next year.”
Cooper thanked everyone who spoke at the ceremony.
“I figured this might be a roast or an eulogy,” Cooper joked. “And by the way, I didn’t pay them to say those things.
“There are many others that I would like thank, and many stories to tell you, but time won’t let me do that. Thank you for all of this, and I am deeply honoured by this recognition.”