Uddin to receive Simcoe Graves Award of Excellence
Fatima Uddin is being awarded the John Graves Simcoe Medal of Excellence for serving dinners at the Salvation Army's Bayside Mission for a number of years. Uddin is one of 150 local awards recipients celebrating Canada's 150 birthday this year. CHERYL BROWNE/BARRIE EXAMINER
Growing up in one of the few Muslim families in Barrie, Fatima Uddin knew she had to set an example in the community.
As one of five Uddin children whose father Kahlil Uddin was a founding fathers of the Barrie Mosque – Noor-Ul-Islam, Uddin said they were taught at an early age to give a helping hand to those who needed one.
“The Barrie community was so welcoming to my mother and father when they first came. We were probably one of the very few brown families in Barrie, but they welcomed us,” Uddin said from her home in northeast Barrie.
“I didn’t know I was brown until I got to high school,” she added. “I went to Barrie Central, and it didn’t matter.”
While her four siblings moved to the Toronto area after university, Uddin moved with her husband back to Barrie to raise their three children.
One of the five pillars of Islam is charitable work, she said. To that end Uddin has been volunteering with the Salvation Army’s Bayside Mission with a handful of Muslim women for half-a-dozen years.
“You get such a wonderful sense of satisfaction from helping. For the most part, they are very gracious and really, who are we to judge? I don’t want my neighbours to be hungry,” she said.
For her work at the mission, Uddin is one of 150 people and local organizations receiving the John Graves Simcoe Medal of Excellence at an awards ceremony this week.
John Graves Simcoe was a British army general and the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada from 1791 to 1796. Simcoe was instrumental in introducing Canada’s first courts, trials by jury, English common law and the abolition of slavery.
Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP Alex Nuttall said while celebrating Canada’s 150 anniversary, he wanted to also celebrate local Canadians.
“Canada’s 150th birthday is an important opportunity to celebrate Canada’s shared history and achievements,” Nuttall said. “I want to use this occasion to highlight the important contributions and achievements of ordinary Canadians, which often go unnoticed and unrecognized.”
Three ceremonies will be held to honour the award recipients this week, two at the Royal Canadian Legion, and another at the Oro-Medonte Community Arena Banquet Hall.
Not only will Salvation Army’s Maj. Doug Lewis be present to offer Uddin well-wishes, he’ll also be picking up an award for Barrie’s Bayside Mission.
“Our volunteers allow us to do what we do,” Lewis said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”
Lewis said more than 3,600 people volunteered almost 15,000 hours at the mission last year.
He welcomes people to a barbecue at the Salvation Army Thrift Store on June 24 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
All money raised will help send approximately 50 children to summer camp and another eight mothers and toddlers to the Moms and Tots camp.