Night of Solidarity and Local Love
honours Labour in community

Meet the unsung heroes who inspired and mobilized change in the region in 2022

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Labour Appreciation Awards!

This group of Labour activists, achievers and allies went above and beyond in 2022 to make this a better community.

They were celebrated at a Jan. 26 awards reception, hosted by United Way Elgin Middlesex and Labour United, at the LiUNA Local 1059 Training Centre. (Read a news story about the event.)

This year’s winners are:

2022-23 LAAN Images of Hope winner Steve Holmes

Steve Holmes

Images of Hope

“Steve is the go-to guy for so many good things in this community. All of us have benefited from his kind heart, his passion for the community and his commitment to making sure everyone belongs.”

Steve has served many roles on the London & District Labour Council, including First Vice President, among many official and unofficial roles in a long career of advocacy for labour and for this community. He served as President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 741 and retired after 40-plus dedicated years as a bus driver at London Transit.

His community service includes advocating for worker safety and worker rights; rappelling off One London Place to raise money for Easter Seals; running for political office on a platform of hope, justice, compassion and fairness; and being an executive member on the London Huff-and-Puff Senior Fitness Association.

A proud East-Londoner born and raised, Steve is volunteer coordinator of the food security program at the Church of the Ascension, where he spends countless hours preparing community breakfasts and lunches for Londoners going through tough times. People experiencing homelessness, folks in shelter, young people at Youth Opportunities Unlimited, seniors on pensions – these are all the neighbours Steve is proud to call his friends.

2022-23 LAAN Award ChangeMaker winner CUPE Locals 7575, 4222 and 4186

CUPE Locals, 7575, 4222 and 4186

ChangeMaker Award Recipient

These ChangeMakers are educational assistants, custodial, maintenance, trades, clerical and IT staff of TVDSB; and support staff of the London and District Catholic School Board. These members inspired workers across the province, as they joined together and stood their ground on behalf of kids and learning, in the face of provincial legislation that would have imposed a new contract on them and limited their right to strike. Their determination has led to better conditions and compensation for these vital staff and will lead to better educational outcomes for kids as well as  better good-faith bargaining practices in the public education sector and for all public sector workers.

2022-23 LAAN Award Partnering with a Purpose winner OPSEU Local 159

St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital  OPSEU Local 159 -housekeeping staff 

Partnering with a Purpose Award Recipient

This is a team of front-line heroes in every way.  

For 17 years, this team has shown up in a big way to support the local Christmas Care program – and they even ramped up their efforts during the pandemic. Staff and physicians donated gift cards and other items, and housekeepers sold raffle tickets, with all funds staying in the community to help those who need it most during the holiday season. The housekeeping team also supports collection of toys and a tree for hats, scarves and mittens – a truly special team worth celebrating.

Allan Drewlo, Jim MacKinnon Community Builder Award, selected by LiUNA Local 1059

Allan Drewlo

President of Drewlo Holdings

Jim MacKinnon Community Builder Award, selected by LiUNA Local 1059 

Allan consistently invests in his community, and he is – quite literally – a community-builder. He also recognizes the importance and quality of unionized work. For years, Allan has directly employed LiUNA Local 1059 members through Riverside Concrete Forming and The Ironstone Building Company, and he utilizes subcontractors that employ labour members. He subcontracts to other Building Trades Unions contractors for his many construction projects in and around the London area. 

In addition to creating housing in the London community, Allan is a philanthropist. He donates to a number of causes including United Way Elgin Middlesex, and the yearly Ironstone Impact initiative.

2022-23 LAAN Award winner Stefanie Caughlin

Stefanie Caughlin

Unifor Local 27, General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada 

Labour Appreciation Award Recipient

Stefanie’s advocacy has led to several important changes for equity and social justice at her workplace. With the help of Local 27, she also helped make a wonderful Christmas with gifts for about 25 children and teens at Rotholme family shelter. She exhibits compassion and empathy every day.

2022-23 LAAN Award winner Lisa Fewster

Lisa Fewster

OPSEU Local 166, Community Living London

Labour Appreciation Award Recipient

Lisa tirelessly looks out for her fellow workers and holds her ground for causes she believes in. She always steps up to help wherever she sees a need – whether as a dedicated voice in the London and District Labour Council or a strong advocate in bargaining – and she is a source of strength for her co-workers and her community.

2022-23 LAAN Award winner Steve Helps

Steve Helps

Unifor Local 27, General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada

Labour Appreciation Award Recipient

Steve was in the forefront as volunteer welder and polisher of Second World War ‘Holy Roller’ Tank when London’s iconic monument needed a complete overhaul. Steve also trained for 18 weeks so that he could participate as a boxer for the Fight to End Homelessness Charity Event, and he volunteers with GDLS to collect toys and food for families in need during Christmas. 

2022-23 LAAN Award winner Dayna Jasevicius

Dayna Jasevicius

OSSTF District 11

Labour Appreciation Award Recipient

Dayna has organized multiple student events and activities at A.B. Lucas Secondary School, cultivating among staff, students and their families a culture of giving back, of having opportunities to help and to be helped. Her efforts also led Lucas students to win the award as Top School Team at the TD StairClimb for United Way at Budweiser Gardens in November. 

Elizabeth Marra, Labour Appreciation Award Winner

Elizabeth Marra

OPSEU Local 106, London Health Sciences Centre

Labour Appreciation Award Recipient

On top of a demanding role in a high-stress healthcare environment, in the Pathology department at LHSC, Elizabeth inspired her peers to support the Best First Day drive to provide backpacks and school supplies to London-and-area students.Her warm spirit and dedication to this cause is inspiring. Elizabeth saw the need and made the choice to take action. 

2022-23 LAAN Award winner Annette Muellejans

Annette Muellejans

OSSTF District 11

Labour Appreciation Award Recipient

In her second term as Branch President, Annette is a fearless advocate and great communicator with staff and students at Strathroy District Collegiate InstituteDuring COVID times, she even tutored struggling students from the porch. She also invests her time leading the Mt. Brydges Optimist Club and volunteering with the Watford Skating Club. 

2022-23 LAAN Award winner Kendra Wojcik

Kendra Wojcik

ETFO Thames Valley

Labour Appreciation Award Recipient

Kendra organized multiple staff and student events at Delaware Central Public School to promote community, reconciliation and caring for others. She also generously shared her knowledge with teachers at other schools and helped spread the message to all that they could make a difference, support someone else or get help and support for themselves.

Together, we improve lives locally.

Dakota Halfpenny2022 Labour Appreciation Award Winners