Jamie MacKay is always willing to give back and lend a helping hand.
These efforts have not gone unnoticed.
MacKay was named the 2020 recipient of the Town of Kensington's Good Neighbour Award. The presentation took place during a ceremony at the Murray Christian Centre on New Year's Day.
"I was quite shocked (to receive the award)," said MacKay, who is the rental co-ordinator at the Murray Christian Centre, co-chair of the Kensington United Church's property committee, and a member of the finance committee. “I had no idea why I was coming here. I thought I was coming here for a meeting.”
He understood it was to discuss maintenance work for the building. He added it had been hard to meet over the Christmas holidays.
"I forgot all about it, and I received a text about 45 minutes ago that said, ‘Don’t forget about our one o’clock meeting,’” said MacKay. “I walked in and thought, ‘I am the rental manager and should know if there is a rental.’”
Kensington Mayor Rowan Caseley, who selects the recipients, said the award recognizes a business, group or individuals who have provided excellent service to the town.
“I’ve known Jamie for years and know some of the projects he has done. I know how committed he is when he takes something on, to follow through and get it through to completion. I know his commitment and his desire to make things better. He’s always trying to do stuff that is going to be an improvement for other people. He’s looking at other people long before he looks at himself.”
- Kensington Mayor Rowan Caseley
“I’ve known Jamie for years and know some of the projects he has done,” said Caseley. “I know how committed he is when he takes something on, to follow through and get it through to completion.
“I know his commitment and his desire to make things better. He’s always trying to do stuff that is going to be an improvement for other people. He’s looking at other people long before he looks at himself.”
MacKay said he is "very appreciative" to receive the award. He was quick to point out that he is not a one-person show. He always welcomes the opportunity to help other people and remarked that he hopes he will benefit from "karma" someday.
“I’m sure there are other people who deserve (the award),” said MacKay. “I’m with a lot of organizations and committees, but I’m only one part. Everybody else is just as deserving as I am.”
Did You Know?
Some quick facts about Jamie MacKay:
- He and his wife, Melanie, reside in Irishtown.
- The couple is the proud parents of three daughters – Samantha, 27; Sabrina, 25; Dharma, 22.
- Jamie turned 49-years-old on Jan. 10.
- He is the fifth recipient of the Town of Kensington Good Neighbour Award.
- “I want to share this award with everyone involved in the organizations and groups,” said MacKay. “They are as much a part of it as I am.”
Along with his involvement with the church, MacKay assists people locally, provincially and nationally when they need it the most. He is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Prince Edward Island and holds the volunteer position of provincial team lead for the Red Cross.
MacKay has been involved in organizing two much-needed housing stations at the Murray Christian Centre in recent years. The first was when a fire ravaged the nearby Clermont Motel in February 2015 and during tropical storm Dorian in September 2019.
MacKay spent almost a month volunteering for the Red Cross with evacuees during the 2017 forest fires in British Columbia. He spent two to three weeks with the Red Cross in New Brunswick during floods in 2018. He has also been a leader with Ross’s Place public garden in the Town of Kensington.
“A lot of free food goes out from there,” added Caseley.
MacKay said his work helping others brings many rewards. One memory that stands out for him was near the end of his tenure in British Columbia. He recalled a resident from a first nations community who presented him with a homemade traditional leather item as a thank you.
“It’s stuff like that when you know you have made that much of a difference, and somebody would take that much time to make something like that for you,” said MacKay. “I have a couple of things in my office where people you have helped have done special things.”
MacKay said the Clermont Motel fire stands out due to the number of people affected – 18 people were left homeless. The fire happened during a major snowstorm, which only complicated things but did not deter MacKay’s willingness to help.
“We took everybody (to the Murray Christian Centre), and I can’t remember how many,” said MacKay. “Every apartment was here pretty well, along with dogs and cats.
“We housed everybody here for the night, and I stayed with them and then helped them through Red Cross the next day.”
Previous Winners Town of Kensington Good Neighbour Award winners:
- 2016 – Kensington North Watersheds Association.
- 2017 – Kensington Lions Club.
- 2018 – Kensington Meals on Wheels.
- 2019 – Kensington Senior Surfers.
- 2020 – Jamie MacKay.