Ogimaawabiitong (Kenora Chiefs Advisory) would like to say a huge Miigwetch to the community members, emergency responders, leadership and front-line staff who came out to celebrate the three-year anniversary of the Kenora Makwa Patrol on September 14.

Underneath the Jarnel Contracting Pavilion, community members gathered to celebrate and recognize the important work that front-line Makwa patrollers have been doing to support the most vulnerable in Kenora.

The day’s celebration began with a welcoming prayer from Elder Agnes Paul, followed by traditional opening and honour songs from Treaty #3 drummers and KCA’s Grandmother drum, Shawanoong Banaise’seek.

Manager of the Kenora Makwa Patrol, Marshall Hardy, then welcomed community members with a speech on the importance of their work – highlighting how patrollers have been able to build trust and relationships with those most vulnerable and are able to provide support in a more appropriate manner than police.

“We’re so grateful for the ability to continue this much-needed service,” says Hardy. “Our patrollers are so passionate about what they do. It’s a tough job but they have the drive to do it. What’s been so successful is the ability to earn trust with our vulnerable sector. We need to support them. It’s part of healing for us too.”

Speeches followed from a number of community leaders, including KCA Senior Advisor Joe Barnes, acting Chief of the Treaty #3 Police Cheryl Gervais, OPP Staff Sergeant Grant Cowles, Kenora Councillor Barb Manson, and KCA’s Director of Community Health and Cultural Services Veronica Fobister.

“You folks are out there 24/7 helping the most vulnerable in our community,” says Barnes. “It’s such an important program. I thank our partners for their support as well. It’s very important to everybody. And I want to say Miigwetch to our workers. We’re proud of you and we thank you for everything that you do.”

OPP Staff Sergeant Grant Cowles, who explained he’s still fairly new into his role, says working with Makwa staff has been a great benefit to police’s efforts to keep the vulnerable population as safe as possible in Kenora.

“Over the last six months, I’ve seen the excellent work that they’ve done,” says Cowles. “They work with our officer’s day in and day out to truly help the citizens of Kenora. For that I want to say thank you very much. You guys do a great job and I look forward to working with you for the rest of my career.”

City Councillor Barb Manson also thanked patrollers for their work, highlighting the city’s recognition from Mayor Andrew Poirier and all members of Kenora City Council.

“I want to thank you so much for the work that you do,” says Manson. “It’s essential and important work that helps our citizens. And thank you to Marshall for the great relationship we have with the city. Thank you!”

After lunch, gifts were given to front-line staff of the Makwa Patrol – donated by the City of Kenora in honour of their service.

Ogimaawabiitong once again would like to say Miigwetch to everyone who joined in the day’s celebration, to community partners for their ongoing support, and to the front-line staff who make this service a reality.

Since 2020, the Kenora Makwa Patrol has worked to assist those in need in the Kenora area, including those most vulnerable and in need of help, access various services. The Kenora Makwa Patrol, led by KCA, the Kenora District Services Board, Treaty #3 Police Service, and the OPP, works with various partners as a community-based solution to crime prevention.

Donations to the Kenora Makwa Patrol can be arranged any time by calling 807-464-7233. The most needed items at this time of the year include warm clothes, socks, shoes, non-perishable food items, and blankets.