For some, volunteering is a spare-time activity—a way to meet new friends, or feel more involved in the community. For the Rev. William H. Steinman of St. Catharines, Ont., it is a lifestyle.
This year, the diocese of Niagara priest was selected for an Ontario Senior Achievement Award in recognition of his many years of service to his community through the Special Olympics and St. John’s Ambulance, and when the Anglican Journal reached him to ask what his response had been, he said he was “very surprised.” Apparently, he learned of his nomination only after it had been accepted.
Steinman and his wife, Lorraine, got involved in the Special Olympics through a service club of which he used to be a member, the Canadian Progress Club. “In 1984 we sponsored a provincial bowling tournament for Special Olympics,” he said, “and we’ve been involved ever since.”
When the Journal asked him why he had devoted so much of his life to the service of others, his response was succinct: “The Golden Rule.” He also went on to point out that volunteering has its own intrinsic rewards.
“I think the biggest award in conjunction with Special Olympics is just the sheer joy of being with these people…my wife has a saying: ‘If you’re having a bad day, just spend a couple of hours with one of our Special Olympians and you’ll feel a lot better.’ ”
The Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat notes that the Ontario Senior Achievement Awards are given each year to recognize Ontarians “who have made outstanding contributions to their community through voluntary or professional activities after the age of 65.” In an awards ceremony at the end of October, Steinman and 19 other individuals were honoured for their dedication to their communities.
While Steinman was unable to attend the ceremony in person, he was told that his award would be sent to him through his local MPP, Jim Bradley.
But Steinman’s volunteer work has hardly been limited to the Special Olympics. In addition to nearly 30 years of service with St. John’s Ambulance, Steinman, along with his wife, has also been heavily involved in the life of the church.
Originally trained as an engineer and having spent most of his professional life working first in the metallurgy and chemical fields and later in marketing, Steinman served as a warden, sacristan and lay delegate to synod at his home parish of St. Barnabas. In 1996 he started his theological education, and was ordained in 2004. In 2000 he published a history of that parish titled, To the Glory of God and for the Salvation of All: A History of the Parish and Church of St. Barnabas, St. Catharines, Ontario.
As a clergyman, Steinman has served as padre for St. John Ambulance, Canadian Legion Branch 24, the Royal Niagara Military Institute, the 10th Field Battery Association and the Niagara Artillery Foundation.
The Ontario Senior Achievement Awards, the highest provincial honour for those over 65, are presented each year by the lieutenant governor. Those interested in more information about the award and the nomination process can learn more at: http://www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/english/citizenship/honoursandawards.shtml.