Like most city residents, Dwight Hounsell watches the weather closely in the winter.
But instead of staying inside during a deep freeze, the Bayshore-area resident bundles up and heads out as early as 6 a.m. to shovel and flood a neighbourhood skating rink – all so kids of all ages can enjoy themselves.
“I just do it for the kids,” said the real estate agent, who took it upon himself to upkeep the rink near his house when he moved to Ottawa from Newfoundland seven years ago. “If you go out there and see them skating and the smiles on their faces, you’d do it too. They really enjoy it.”
It’s a lot of work, he admitted. He puts in hundreds of hours a year.
“When I’m not working, I go to the rink, because something’s always got to be done.”
Hounsell, along with 24 other unsung sporting heroes, were recognized yesterday at Celebration 2010, a program to honour volunteers in Ottawa sports.
"We had lots of nominations and it was a difficult choice," said Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Jim Watson, who launched the program last year.
“Sports and recreation really bring people together,” Watson said. “It brings countries together, it brings neighbours together. I’m very grateful for the work that all of you do, day in and day out.”
Master of ceremonies Bob Wilson recognized Howard Darwin, who died last year.
Darwin, the founder of the 67s who also brought triple-A baseball to Ottawa, “has been a tower in our community,” he said. “He’s left a true legacy for all of Ottawa.”