2000 Member of the Year

Date: December 31, 2000

OPPA “Bill Elliott" Member of the Year


The First Ever Award for the OPPA “Bill Elliott” Member of the Year is intended to acknowledge Branch members for their outstanding contributions to their Branches, to the Association as a whole, to their communities, and towards the public reputation of members of the OPP on behalf of the OPPA.

The Board of Directors wanted to name the Member of the Year Award after a member who epitomizes the aspects of the Association. Therefore, after much consideration and examination, the OPPA Member of the Year Award is to be called the "Bill Elliott" Member of the Year Award.

Since joining the OPP in 1968, Bill has always been a staunch supporter and advocate of the Association. He was a Branch Executive Member of No. 1 and 8 Branches, and since his retirement has remained active in both the OPPA and the Vet's Association in No. 8 Branch. Bill manages to stay current with the issues and can always be counted on for valid advice and input during Branch meetings. He continues to attend all Branch meetings, as well as both the Spring Board and Annual General Meetings, and he always brings with him a sense of camaraderie. It is for these reasons that the Board of Directors is proud to acknowledge Bill Elliott by naming the OPPA Member of the Year Award after him.

This year, three Branches nominated members for the Bill Elliott Award: No. 4 Branch nominated Rick Plato; No. 15 Branch nominated Al Monette; and No. 18 Branch had a joint nomination of Clifford Strachan and Jim Whitters. After great deliberation and consideration, the Board of Directors chose Rick Plato as this year's recipient of the Bill Elliott Member of the Year Award.

For the past 24 years, No. 4 Branch has been involved, in conjunction with the Association, with organizing the Police Brotherhood Night. This is an "International Police Fraternity Event" where police officers from across Canada and the United States gather to promote the police brotherhood bond and raise money for local charities.

Rick Plato has been involved with Police Brotherhood Night for the past 10 years, assuming different duties to help ensure the success of the occasion. These duties included co-ordinating the head table made up of approximately 20 police officers from both Canada and the U.S.A., selling tickets, planning the meal, setting up facilities to hold the function, and arranging the entertainment for the guests. For the past three years, Rick took charge of the event and managed to increase the revenues, which are donated to local Niagara charities.  Three hundred dollars was raised in 1998, $1,000 in 1999 and $2,700 in 2000. This is an excellent effort that promotes a positive image of the Association in the community.

Rick Plato has been a member of the OPP since 1978, having been posted at Killaloe, Burlington and Niagara Falls. He has always been a staunch supporter of the Association and has held the positions of Vice-Chairperson in 1990 and 1991, Chairperson in 1992 and Secretary in 1997 in No. 4 Branch. Rick was also involved in the community when he was an assistant instructor and officer with the Navy League of Canada until 1999.

Rick Plato and the other nominees are to be congratulated for their contributions to their communities and the positive image they portray of the OPP and the Association. Job well-done, gentlemen.           

My family and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our members and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.