Bill Pierson named Greater Napanee’s 2023 Senior of the Year

Bill Pierson (left) accepts a certificate from Greater Napanee mayor Terry Richardson after being named the town's Senior of the Year for 2023. Photo by Town of Greater Napanee.

Adam Prudhomme

Being named Greater Napanee’s Senior of the Year brings with it a special certificate from town council and in the case of 2023 recipient Bill Pierson, a ride in a fire truck.

Greater Napanee mayor Terry Richardson agreed to that special stipulation during the presentation of the award to Pierson at the July 11 council meeting.

Pierson was recognized for his decades of volunteering-most notably with local gymnastics, but also as a volunteer firefighter for Greater Napanee.

“Bill Pierson has been a long standing volunteer and active community member in the Napanee region for many years,” Richardson read from his nomination paper. “He has influenced countless young people throughout his career as a teacher at Napanee District Secondary School and has volunteered in many capacities over the years ranging from town council to volunteer firefighter. The volunteer role that I could like to focus on is his commitment to establishing the Greater Napanee Gymnastics Club over 50 years ago and his ongoing role as the president of the club at age 80.”

Pierson’s love of gymnastics began as a child at the YMCA. He took that passion with him into his teacher career, launching NDSS’ competitive gymnastics team in 1967, serving as coach for both boys and girls team before the sport was discontinued at the provincial level in 2019.

Following the success of the high school program, Pierson went on to launch the Greater Napanee Gymnastics Club, which had humble beginnings inside a former bus barn on the outskirts of town. Seven years later it relocated to its current home, 25 Snow Road.

“Because of his efforts the club grew and now serves over 500 children throughout the Lennox and Addington area on an annual basis,” said Richardson. “Bill’s philosophy has always been no child should miss out on an opportunity to participate due to lack of funds. He was always willing to work with the families to provide options or alternative forms of payment so that each child can participate in the joy of gymnastics. This remains true to the current day as many families are struggling with the current economy.”

Richardson added his own thoughts to the award.

“If every community had a Bill Pierson, this world would be a so much better place to live,” the mayor added.

Pierson, who formerly served on council, noted falling short in his re-election bid turned out to be a good thing.

“There is life beyond council. There is a whole mess of things you can do and it has given me more time for things that I have really enjoyed doing,” said Pierson.

He also added there are perks to getting older.

“You can express an opinion and give your opinion and sometimes when they’re really not wanted,” added Pierson. “But you can do it anyway because they can always say don’t listen to that old fart he just rambles on and on like I’m doing now.”

Before handing the microphone back to council, Pierson expressed his desire to ride in a big red fire truck one last time. Richardson agreed that the town could make that happen.

Greater Napanee put out a call for nominations for Senior of the Year back in March, calling on residents to recognize those over the age of 65 who have enriched the social, cultural or civic life in the community.

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