On Wednesday, July 26, 2023, Kingston’s Don Amos joined the likes of Carl Lewis and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu as a recipient of the Torch-Bearer Award through Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, a global organization dedicated to world peace.
“We’ve been running with this torch since 1987… along the way, we’ve been to about 160 countries. The one thing that we find in each country that’s common through the whole world is this yearning, this hope, this dream of world peace,” said Executive Director Salil Wilson. “[The desire for world peace] finds its expression in different ways, in different cultures, different societies. But, at its very core, it’s the same… and that’s what unites us as a family.”
Wilson was on hand with a group of Peace Run participants who are currently taking part in a Canadian relay from Montreal to Niagara Falls. As part of the Canadian leg, the group is making stops in cities like Kingston, recognizing worthy individuals who have made significant contributions to the well-being of their community.
“One thing that we’ve created since we’ve been running with this torch is… a Torch-Bearer Award, [which] we present to individuals who have dedicated their lives to service and improving the lives of others,” explained Wilson.
In Kingston, the group presented Don Amos with the torch for his work as Executive Director of Seniors Association Kingston Region. Since joining the non-profit organization in 2015, Amos has worked tirelessly to advocate for services and supports for senior citizens in Kingston and the surrounding area. “We so admire the superb job [Don Amos is] doing to make our Seniors Centres into [a] first-rate community resource,” said Hladini Wilson, local Peace Run organizer.
According to Amos, who also serves as the city councillor for Portsmouth District, being named as a recipient of the prestigious award has been an tremendous experience. “Overwhelmed is one way to describe it… I was not expecting this, I’m totally shocked… When I found out I was nominated, and that I would be receiving this award, I was confused and I didn’t know what to expect. This is a wild moment in my life,” the councillor remarked.
For the past seven years, Amos has worked to increase the capacity of the local Seniors Centre, ensuring the organization offers a wide range of programs for seniors in the city of Kingston. “[Throughout my time], we’ve been expanding our programs out to [the rest] of the Kingston community… I think that’s part of what is being recognized today; [the] depth and scope of what the association is doing for the Kingston region,” said Amos.
While the award was presented to Amos directly, the executive director was quick to point out that his accomplishments would not have been possible without the support of the organization’s staff and volunteers. “I’m a very small cog in this. We have a very talented team of staff and we’ve got 600 volunteers who are helping to bring this association out to the community and providing programs,” he said.
On top of his work at the Seniors Centre, Amos was recently elected to Kingston City Council as the representative for Portsmouth District during last fall’s municipal elections. The rookie councillor, whose district includes the Seniors Centre location at 56 Francis Street, said his longtime work with members of Kingston’s aging population has allowed him to bring a unique perspective to the horseshoe.
“Each Councillor brings a unique lens and viewpoint to council, which I think makes council great. My viewpoint is obviously the charity/non-profit sector and the older adult engagement. So, I tend to have that viewpoint when I’m sitting on council,” he noted.
“When items are being presented to us [at council meetings], I want to make sure that our older population has their voice and is represented… Other councillors have the same lens as well, it’s not just me, but all of us bring different talents, which is good.”
Peace Run features participants from all over the world, with some coming as far as Australia and New Zealand to take part in this year’s Canadian leg. After departing Kingston on Wednesday, the relay will continue to make its way west toward Niagara Falls.