Jamie Boston, co-founded the Algoma Autism Foundation, and long-time area and Ottawa volunteer has recently won the Governor General’s Award, the only winner of this prectigious award in the Algoma region.
“For over 25 years, Jamie Boston has been involved with the Army Cadet program as a volunteer and a civilian instructor. In 2013, he co-founded the Algoma Autism Foundation, which promotes inclusion and awareness in communities across North America,”
said the Governor General’s website.
Maj. Pierre Breckenridge who nominated Boston said “over a long period of time I believe Jamie has contributed greatly to non-profit organizations; quality work, efficient work and meaningful work.”
Created in 1995, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad. Often working behind the scenes, these individuals volunteer their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens. The award also brings to light the example set by volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are a part of our Canadian character.Members of the public are invited to share their stories about deserving Canadians by submitting a nomination to the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. The list of recipients and their citations follow. Additional information is available at www.gg.ca/caring.
Boston’s volunteer work goes back to childhood when he did Christmas Cheer with his father.
He’s also volunteered with:
- Sault Search and Rescue
- Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25
- the OPP auxiliary force
- 2310 Army Cadets
- H.O.P.E in Ottawa
- 155 Air Cadets
- and as noted, The Algoma Autism Foundation
He started volunteering at 7-8 years old “and it just grew from there,” he said.
At 10, he started helping with The Legion doing their poppy drive. “Basically whatever the legion was looking for help with, I helped,” Boston said.
At 17 and 18, he started with Sault Search and Rescue.
“Back then search and rescue was extremely active… In the bush, dive teams, searching with dogs…” he said.
He gratefully helped locating missing people.
“It was awesome. They are a valued organization. The Sault should be proud to have it… Good group and good people,” he said.
He spent 10 years as an OPP secondary officer in the Sault and Ottawa, helping with general law enforcement.
“Whatever the officer was doing that day, you were the right hand.”
The auxiliary officers are also heavily involved in community service.
In his mid-20s he started working with HOPE or Helping Other People Everywhere. He helped with the annual beach volleyball day to raise money for charity.
Then he moved back to the Sault and started as an instructor with 2310 Army Cadets, helping with the cadets’ training regime, pipe band, shooting team and general training. He was also on the sponsoring committee and was fundraising chair.
He also works with the 155 Air Cadets pipe band.
In 2013 he co-founded the Algoma Autism Foundation, which he says “has been going every day since.”
It has raised a significant amount of money which has all stayed in the Sault.
“It was something desperately needed and we recognize that need and tackled it.”
It has developed:
- sensory lending library
- sensative Santa
- Trunk or Treat
- the Algoma Ride for Autism
- generated many partnerships with many local groups
- partnered with Community Living Algoma, Rotary and the City of Sault Ste. Marie to put in the coming sensory playground
He is bashful, saying “there is an army of people that are responsible for its success.”