Mike LeClair Receives CFKR’s 2023 Knights of Pythias Community Volunteer Award

Cranbrook, BC (November 28, 2023) – To celebrate Giving Tuesday, the Community Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies (CFKR) is delighted to announce that Mike LeClair is the recipient of the 2023 Knights of Pythias Community Volunteer Award.

Thanks to Mike’s dedication, leadership, and countless volunteer hours, the Therapeutic Paws of Canada chapter in Cranbrook has been successfully offering free therapy pet visits in the community for the past six years, as the first chapter in Western Canada. In addition to helping to lead the organization and welcome new members, Mike also generously volunteers his time as part of the team providing pet visits at the hospital, seniors’ homes, local schools, and community events.

According to Christie Caccavo, who nominated Mike for this award, “If there is a chance for these dogs to put a smile on a face, they will be there. Mike spends a lot of time trying to get access to many places that he feels will benefit from having the dogs present.”

Caccavo added “Mike was the one who suggested doing the gathering for the retiring RCMP dog, and the Cranbrook Team was there to march from the police station to Rotary park, with that dog. Mike and his wife took a weekend of their time to evaluate dogs on the island, and that is now the second chapter in Western Canada.”

Mike LeClair stated “I’m honoured to accept this award on behalf of myself and everyone who has been and continues to be involved with the Cranbrook chapter of Therapeutic Paws of Canada. Volunteering is so important to our community, and I encourage everyone to make a positive contribution by becoming a volunteer.”

Fittingly, as the 2023 award recipient, Mike is designating his $750.00 donation to Therapeutic Paws of Canada, to support the Cranbrook chapter with its continued work.

Lynnette Wray, CFKR Executive Director, said “Mike LeClair embodies the purpose of the Knights of Pythias Community Volunteer Award, to recognize an unsung hero who volunteers their time and energy in a quiet, dedicated, and selfless manner, making a positive impact in Cranbrook and the surrounding area.”

Wray added, “CFKR is honoured to steward the Knights of Pythias endowment fund, which includes the direction to recognize a community volunteer on an annual basis, including a donation to the recipient’s local charity of choice.”

2023 nominations were open via an online form from November 2nd to November 22nd.

Previous award winners of the formerly-named “Sustainable Community Builder Award” include Gord Johnston in 2015, recognizing his work with the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity; Robert Williams in 2016, celebrating his many contributions to ʔaq̓am and the Ktunaxa Nation; Jean-Ann Debreceni in 2018, for her many years of service with the East Kootenay Community Credit Union Board, Cranbrook Community Theatre, Cranbrook Garden Club, Key City Theatre, and Fort Steele Heritage Town; Colin Campbell in 2020, posthumously awarded, in recognition of his significant community contributions through Rotary, the Masons, and various community projects; Jim Nicol in 2021, in recognition of his leadership, dedication, and many volunteer contributions to the Cranbrook Community Forest Society; and Nancy Banks in 2022, in recognition of her over 25 years of volunteer service to the Christmas Wrap table in the Tamarack Centre Mall, which not only provides a valuable community service but also raises funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.


Knights of Pythias

In 2010, upon the surrender of their Charter and dissolution of their Lodge, the Knights of Pythias Crescent Lodge No. 33 gifted the then Cranbrook and District Community Foundation with $25,000, to establish the Knights of Pythias Crescent Lodge No. 33 endowment fund. The Knights of Pythias Crescent Lodge, and their companion branch, the Pythian Sisters, had a long history in Cranbrook, and, at one time, owned a hall located between City Hall and Rotary Park. They contributed to many charities and good works in this area.

The Fraternal Order Knights of Pythias began in 1864 and was the first non-sectarian fraternal order to receive a charter by a special act of the United States Congress, when Abraham Lincoln was President. It is based on the legendary friendship of Damon and Pythias during the ancient days of Syracuse and the philosopher Pythagoras. Pythians practice Friendship, Charity, and Benevolence.