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Maple Bay Rowing Club volunteers recognized for long service

Retired head coach Cheryl Thibodeau leads a team from the Maple Bay Rowing Club along the route of Maple Bay’s annual Canada Day Parade in 2017. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen file)

Maple Bay Rowing Club members were honoured for their long service to the rowing community during Rowing Canada Aviron’s 2024 national conference the last weekend of January in Quebec City.

According to RCA, the two-day conference “provided an opportunity to build connections and collaborate with rowing leaders and plan the future of the sport”.

The conference also provided the chance to celebrate the organization’s best in 2023 at the Excellence Awards on Saturday, Jan. 27.

Six members of the Maple Bay Rowing Club were honoured at the event: Neil Bevan and Susan Macdonald for 15 years of service, Pat Durose, Sheree Moffatt, and Cheryl Thibodeau for 20 years of service, and Linda Milne for 30 years of service.

“I think MBRC has always been more than just a rowing club, it has been a community,” said proud MBRC president Kathy Thibodeau. “The club at its conception had a large volunteer component that has carried on through till today. Rowing is teamwork, compassion, strength and relaxation rolled into one. It involves mentoring others either from the shells or the safety boat.”

Thibodeau said umpiring is another avenue where passion for the sport is carried on.

“Linda Milne, Sheree Moffatt and Susan Macdonald are all umpires,” she explained. “Neil Bevan has been our treasurer for over 15 years. Their love of and dedication to rowing and all the athletes has kept them involved for years. Having a junior program has kept all our members involved as everyone wants to see our young ones thrive.”

Also at the awards night on Jan. 27, Rowing Canada women’s lightweight pair of Jill Moffatt and Jenny Casson, who can often be spotted working out of the National Training Centre on Quamichan Lake, won Senior athlete/Crew of the year.

Among their 2023 accomplishments, Moffatt (University of Western Ontario) and Casson (Kingston Rowing Club) rowed to a personal best finish at the 2023 World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in September, placing fourth overall and securing a spot for Canada in the Paris 2024 Olympics.