Sheshegwaning health rep presented with ‘Making a Difference Award’ by chief and council

Lance Panamick, community health representative for Sheshegwaning First Nation, has been presented a Making a Difference Award by chief and council for his outstanding dedication to the community.

SHESHEGWANING—Sheshegwaning First Nation chief and council have presented a “Making a Difference Award” to a community member and health representative for his outstanding dedication to Sheshegwaning First Nation.

Lance Panamick was presented with the Making a Difference Award in recognition of his outstanding dedication to Sheshegwaning First Nation at a council meeting last week. Mr. Panamick had previously been the Brighter Futures/Building Health Communities worker in 2010 when he decided he would like to take on the challenge and moved over to the position of community health representative in September 2020.

“March 2020 marked the beginning of an unimaginable event for Sheshegwaning, with the global COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Councillor Nicole Bush. “We started with a fear of the unknown, like how the virus is transmitted, to community lockdowns and the very real concerns of how we were going to feed our families.”

“Lance Panamick started working as the community health representative at the frontline of our community response to the pandemic in September, 2020,” said Councillor Bush. “Over the past year-and-a-half, Lance has worked in collaboration with our community health allies at Mnaamodzawin Health Services (MHS) and Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) to educate our community members and keep Sheshegwaning safe.”

“Lance’s work with (MHS) helped organize local testing clinics that helped calm frayed nerves when we started seeing positive cases (COVID-19) on the Island,” said Ms. Bush. “Lance was also integral in the implementation of local vaccination clinics for every community member who wanted a dose of vaccination. Sheshegwaning has over 90 percent of our adult members fully vaccinated, one of the highest rates on Mnidoo Mnising.”

“Most recently, while the rest of us were enjoying our Christmas holidays with our families, Lance was coming into the health centre to offer rapid testing to our community members and neighbours. It is through his dedication to the safety of all our community members that we were able to quickly identify and isolate our first COVID-19 outbreak,” explained Councillor Bush. “He was able to warn our leadership and community members right before New Year’s Eve to help minimize the outbreak. As the mother of two vulnerable children, I am very grateful for his dedication.”

In presenting the award, Councillor Bush said, “Lance, chi miigwetch for your hard work and support during this difficult time. Your leadership, kindness and strength are greatly appreciated. It is with great pleasure that Sheshegwaning chief and council awards Lance Panamick this Making a Difference Award, in recognition of his outstanding dedication to Sheshegwaning First Nation.”

“Miigwetch, chief and council. This really means a lot,” stated Mr. Panamick. He said any sacrifices he makes, “are for the greater good of the community.”

“I think about elders first and foremost and helping people,” said Mr. Panamick. “I’m very grateful. I would like to thank my family for being so understanding when I am not around sometimes.”

“I think of my children, who bring normalcy to my life that I otherwise wouldn’t have,” continued Mr. Panamick. “And I thank the members of Sheshegwaning and chief and council for taking steps to help protect all of us from getting COVID, making testing and vaccinations available and taking all measures to make sure we are protected. Thank you, Sheshegwaning First Nation, for everything.”