Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award

2011 Award: Robert (Bob) Kroeker

What follows is Tony Rogge’s presentation of the 2011 Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award.

It is a pleasure to present this year’s Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award. This is the eleventh year that MCIC is recognizing a volunteer that has contributed greatly to MCIC.

Before telling you about this year’s winner, I’d like to provide a brief background to this award. The award is named for Paul LeJeune. Paul was a valued member of MCIC’s Overseas Projects Committee 1992 until his death in 1997. It was in large part due to Paul’s insight and persistence that MCIC’s guiding principles include a strong commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Paul was a powerful advocate for people with disabilities in Canada and internationally. He maintained a strong vision of what it means to live independently. In addition to his work with MCIC, he volunteered with many other organizations.

Paul’s love of life was contagious and his work ethic simple. He used to say, “If you want to make a difference, you have to get out there and do it yourself.”

Besides his numerous involvements and achievements, Paul was devoted to his family and friends, and to all in need no matter what race, religion or social standing.

This year’s recipient of the Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award is a long serving volunteer to MCIC.

This year’s recipient’s involvement with MCIC has spanned 2 centuries and 3 decades. He served on the board for six years from 1995–2001. He was Treasurer for 5.5 of those years. He has continued to serve on the Finance Committee since leaving the board. He has been on the Finance Committee for 16 consecutive years! This year’s recipient of the Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award is Bob Kroeker.

Bob joined the MCIC Board when the organization was going through a transition period. MCIC’s funds from CIDA had been completely cut, which represented a 78% cut in MCIC’s finances. The organization went from having between 5-10 staff down to 2. Bob has witnessed the organization rebuild and grow and develop into the organization it is today. He has had the opportunity of being close at hand for the past 14 years, as MCIC has shared office space with MEDA since 1997. First MCIC rented two offices from MEDA and now MEDA rents two offices from MCIC.

Bob is currently the Regional Director of Resource Development for the Mennonite Economic Development Associates. Since joining MEDA in 1993, Bob has been raising funds in Canada and the US for MEDA’s international programs from his base in Winnipeg. In 2005, he completed a short-term consulting development assignment for a MEDA project in Egypt aimed at improving the lives of working children. He has organized and hosted several tours to MEDA projects in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Paraguay, Haiti, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Tanzania and Morocco. Prior to joining MEDA, he spent 27 years with Great West Life Assurance Company in internal auditing, computer software development and computer project management.

On behalf of the Board of MCIC it is my great honour to present the 2011 Paul LeJeune Volunteer Service Award to Bob Kroeker.