Steve Aulis

Year of Award:
Marion Phelps award presented to Steven Aulis

This year, QAHN was pleased to present the Marion Phelps ward to Steven Aulis, a volunteer with the Canterbury Committee of the Bury Historical and Heritage Society. Despite enormous personal physical challenges (Aulis is a paraplegic who broke his neck in a fall in a local mill in 1986), this year’s Phelps recipient is considered the BHHS’s best hands-on volunteer, with outstanding carpentry skills, who developed and implemented ongoing plans for restoration work on Christchurch Canterbury, built well over 100 years ago, and now adapted for community use in Bury. This Neo-Gothic church was erected of locally-sourced materials in 1896 and served until 2015 when it was deconsecrated and then purchased by the Bury Historical and Heritage Society.

Aulis worked on and oversaw repairs and replacements to everything from the underpinnings of the building, to the belfry, to the stained glass windows. He even replicated authentic nineteenth century Gothic-style moldings and interior decorative scrollwork. When the restoration of the building was finally finished, He also led the way with the landscaping of the site which was in disarray with craters, ruts and stones everywhere. Steven Aulis worked tirelessly for over five years on this project. He remains committed to the preservation of what is now known as the “Canterbury Centre,” one of the area’s finest heritage sites, now enjoying a new vocation within the community.

In the words of Edward Pederson, one of Steven Aulis’ nominators, “I recommend him as a candidate for the Marion Phelps Award for his determined dedication to heritage architecture and his generous volunteerism.” Likewise, nominator Candace Coleman is “constantly impressed” by Aulis’ work ethic. “He has never let his disability get in the way of getting the job done. He has worked from a kneeling position when he was unable to stand and he refused to quit... I cannot think of a volunteer who would be more deserving of an award than Steven Aulis.” QAHN’s Awards Committee fully agreed, and was delighted to be able to present this year’s Marion Phelps Award to Aulis.

Several members of QAHN’s board and staff were on hand for the presentation on Sunday. QAHN president Grant Myers thanked Aulis for his “dedication to preserving and protecting local heritage,” and said that QAHN “could not have come up with a more compelling recipient for this year’s Phelps Award.” He added that “because of the tireless work of volunteers like Steven, important historic sites like Canterbury Church will continue to serve as community landmarks, as places of memory, and as gathering places for years to come. It is volunteers like you who are the very backbone of grassroots heritage organizations that are working so hard to preserve and protect our heritage.”