McCracken toasted for volunteerism

Bartender extraordinaire Phil McCracken is congratulated by Linda Lachapelle for his volunteerism at the Riverview Gardens pub. McCracken was recently awarded the Norm Lachapelle Award, created five years ago to celebrate Lachapelle’s many roles as a volunteer.

The Riverview Gardens Family Council is raising a glass to Phil McCracken.

The long-time Riverview Gardens bartender has been recognized as the recipient of the Norm Lachapelle Volunteerism Award for 2023.

According to Janice Ward, co-chair of the family council, McCracken “brings a little bit of ‘Cheers’ to Riverview Gardens every time he tends bar,” going “above and beyond to be welcoming and friendly to everyone he encounters,” making pub time fun enjoyable for the residents.

“He engages everyone as they arrive and makes sure the regulars have their ‘usual’ in a very timely fashion,” said Ward, adding he speaks with everyone and often plays music.

Describing him as “reliable, dependent and consistent,” Ward said McCracken spends Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at the pub. The Smart Serve certified bartender has been volunteering in the role since 2016, spending more than 450 hours serving others.

“He can be counted on to attend when scheduled and is always willing to come in whenever needed,” Ward added.

McCracken said that he while he didn’t start volunteering to receive awards, he appreciates the honour.

The Norm Lachapelle Award was created in 2019 to honour the tireless volunteer who passed away suddenly in 2018. And Dec. 3 marked the five-year anniversary of Lachapelle’s death – a man to whom volunteering was second nature.

His widow Linda Lachapelle said it’s heartwarming to know that Norm’s devotion “continues to flourish in the hearts of volunteers, especially Phil, who so generously continues to give his time, energy and love to the residents of Riverview Gardens.”

Volunteers play an important role at Riverview Gardens, enhancing quality of life for residents. Their activities include visiting, meal assistance, bartending, portering for spiritual services and the hair salon.

To find out about volunteer opportunities at the facility, visit


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