M’CHIGEENG—M’Chigeeng’s Debbie Debassige has a gift for organization, one that she is more than willing to share with her community.
Ms. Debassige said she first began volunteering in her community when she was 20-years-old. While she sat on the recreation committee it was this group that created the Family Fun Weekend and weekly bingos. What first started as a pilot project is now still going strong today.
Ms. Debassige also sat on the fundraising committee for the community complex, which is the heart and soul of M’Chigeeng. She said the committee sat down and made a goal, which they were able to reach. The community centre was built and is a bustling hive of activity to this day.
A large part of her volunteer efforts surround hockey, which is near and dear to her heart. She has acted as a coach for minor hockey, and helped the then host the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation organize the annual Little NHL hockey tournament, which she still volunteers with today. Ms. Debassige noted that being a volunteer with Little NHL is no walk in the park either, with 15 hour days under everyone’s belts, but that it’s well worth the effort.
“I love to organize and its something I do for my own personal fulfillment and giving back to the community, and for my family too,” she said, noting that she is her family’s primary events coordinator.
Ms. Debassige is also known as the smiling face of the BJ Corbiere Memorial Hockey Tournament, which she helps organize along with Kim Corbiere and Corrina Corbiere.
This year, too, she stepped up to the plate with M’Chigeeng Minor Hockey when she heard the executive was folding and volunteered her efforts as the treasurer. “This was a rebuilding year and we had a great group of managers and executive members to work with,” she said.
“We grew up as a hockey family,” she said, recalling the days of sitting cross-legged in front of the TV and waiting patiently for Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights.
“My daughter just won the provincials yesterday,” she said proudly of daughter Deidre Debassige, the 5’8” defense who plays for the Sudbury Lady Wolves, showcasing that hockey runs in the family’s veins. Deidre is off to the nationals next week in Red Deer, Alberta.
“Hockey is part of my life and my passion,” Ms. Debassige said. “I just love putting things together that brings people together. It’s a gift that I have that I put to use in many different ways.”