Minden Hills awards outstanding volunteers
By Sue Tiffin
Published Dec. 13, 2018
officials, township staff and volunteers joined together during the
evening of Dec. 7 for the annual township Christmas dinner and social,
held at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Community Centre.
The event is an end-of-year party with a focus on volunteer appreciation awards and township staff service recognition.
Mark, who was introduced by Donna Monk, said she was speechless to be
awarded the Gordon A. Monk award. Mark has an incredible list of
volunteer work that includes being involved with the Food Fest for HAVE,
Festival of Trees, Community Services Committee, Lochlin Community
Centre Advisory Board, Grade 8 cooking classes at the community kitchen
at the Food Bank, primary classes at Archie Stouffer, Minden Hills
events committee, Hyland Crest Family Council and Rotary Club (she’s
been president twice). Her house has even been featured on the Doors
Open tour, although Tom and Diane Dawson, who nominated her, noted she’s
not often in it.
“She is never here, she is so involved in this community,” said the Dawsons, her friends and fellow Gelert residents.
award is in recognition of Gord Monk’s achievements and the value he
placed on volunteerism and citizen participation, and is awarded to
someone who has demonstrated extensive volunteerism over an extended
period of time in multiple areas of service to the community, township,
or special interest groups and service clubs in Minden Hills. Mark
received a room full of applause, with Donna Monk noting, “all of you
know her, obviously.”
Rigney presented the Ross Rigney Award, named in honour of the Township
of Minden Hills’ first reeve, Ross Rigney, and the value he placed on
mentoring youth and encouraging their participation in the community.
Nominees for the award must be between the ages of 14 and 19 and have
demonstrated outstanding achievements on a voluntary basis.
“Ross always believed in the young people in our communities,” Lois said of her husband.
year’s recipients of the award were Daniel and Denniella Rivard, who
Rigney described as being Haliburton Highlands Secondary School students
while also working jobs locally for years and doing volunteer work in
their downtime. They filled sandbags during town flooding, have helped
with the Terry Fox Run and Canning Lake community events, have helped
serve dinners at the Lochlin Community Centre and have been active in
their church. Denniella helps with Sunday School, with the Rotary
Interact Club and on the prom committee, while Daniel has been involved
on the school yearbook committee and as a sports referee. One week,
Rigney noted, one twin was in one local paper, while the other was in
another. Rigney said she has known them since the day they were born and
was proud to present the award to the siblings.
“We’re very honoured,” said Daniel. “We’re glad to help out in the community.”
Dawson was named the recipient of the Minden Hills Good Neighbour
Award, presented to individuals who contribute to the community in many
ways, from a single act of kindness to multiple deeds benefiting many
people that result in Minden Hills being a more enjoyable community to
“The winner of this award has demonstrated her endless dedication to friends, family and her community as a wonderful, caring neighbour,” said Mayor Brent Devolin, MC of the evening, prior to naming Dawson the recipient. “When someone suffers a loss, or celebrates a birth, she steps forward to support and provide for others. When there is a charity event, she volunteers to host or provide sponsorship in any way possible. Her commitment to the community is relentless, from her work with HAVE; to the Terry Fox run; to the collection of purses to provide gifts to women in need; to her food bank donation efforts.”
Dawson was acknowledged as a mother, wife, sister, friend, teacher and community member.
“It’s easy to be a good neighbour in Minden Hills,” she said upon accepting the award.
Arts and Culture Award, presented to an individual or group who has
significantly contributed to the art and cultural life of Minden Hills
through the development, support, preservation or promotion of local
heritage, culture, music, visual, performing or literary arts, was
awarded to the Minden and District Lions Club for having “been the
backbone to one of Minden’s most intrinsic cultural event of the summer,
Music by the Gull,” for the past 27 years, announced Devolin.
“There are many key players that helped make this event what it is, but without financial support, it wouldn’t have become an annual highlight to so many that set up their lawn chairs every Friday night in the summer to hear an eclectic range of local, musical talent ranging from jazz to country, all which help to create a sense of community here in Minden Hills,” he said.
Representatives from the Lions Club were on hand, and said they like serving in the community, and asked interested community members who want to join the Lions to reach out and get involved.
staff awarded for years of service were Jane Leavis (20 years), Nadine
Papp (10 years), Paul Lippolis (five years), Elisha Weiss (five years)
and Shane Dykstra (five years.) Also awarded but not in attendance that
night: Ivan Ingram (30 years), Vicki Bull (15 years), Colin McKnight (15
years), Lorrie Blanchard (10 years) and Cassie Thomas (five years).
Myles Gartshore, retiring deputy chief of the Minden Hills fire department, was awarded a plaque for 25 years of service. Kevin Gordon was also awarded, for 15 years of service.
The dinner was catered by McKecks, while Zoe Chilco and company played music. More than $400 was raised by guests at the event for the Minden Community Food Centre Food Bank.