MPP Lisa Thompson honours 2018 Remarkable Citizens



By Pauline Kerr


Lisa Thompson, MPP Huron-Bruce, honoured 23 truly remarkable people during her New Year’s Levee at the Teeswater Town Hall theatre Jan. 16.


Despite the fact the gala event had been postponed from the previous week due to weather, the theatre was filled family members and friends of those being honoured.


“I am thrilled to ring in 2019 by celebrating with you the hard work, community spirit and volunteer efforts of our Remarkable Citizens from all over Huron and Bruce,” Thompson said. “These outstanding individuals have left a lasting impression on those around them through their substantial contributions of time and energy to help make our communities such invigorating and welcoming places to live.”


As always, Thompson added her own personal and often touching comments to the nomination information as each award recipient stepped onto the stage.


The most emotional moment of the ceremony came at the end, when Teeswater’s Steve Millen was honoured posthumously. Anyone who’s ever been to Teeswater or even driven through the town will remember Steve as the smiling man who brightened the day for many with a friendly wave as they drove past; the guy riding in the lead car of any parade – except at Christmas when he played Santa Claus; the man selling fundraising tickets who just wouldn’t take no for an answer. Thompson described him as the town’s biggest cheerleader, a dedicated volunteer and friend to everyone. He’ll be missed by the entire Huron-Bruce community.


The local community was well represented at the awards – among those honoured were Cristopher Pennington of Kincardine, Darian Murray of Lucknow, Keith and Gail VanderHoek of Ripley, Jane Hoy of Dungannon and Kincardine, Judith Bond of Kincardine and Patti Hutton of Tiverton.


Excerpts of the nominations for local award winners are below. Please contact Lisa Thompson’s office for more complete information and the full list of recipients.


Christopher Pennington:


In October of 2014, Christopher Pennington was just like any other 10-year-old boy playing hockey, soccer and baseball. He was diagnosed withthe auto-immune disorder Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP) a disease that causes swelling in the blood vessels in the skin, and may also attack the kidneys, which it did in Christopher’s case. That was the same season Christopher, the goalie, led his hockey team to the championship. Christopher, with the support of his teammates and family – Christopher’s Crew – has participated in Kidney Walks and has raised close to $47,000 for the Kidney Foundation of Canada in only four years.In 2016, Christopher was honored by the Kidney Foundation as an outstanding volunteer with the Waterloo/Wellington chapter. In 2017, he was recognized for his incredible passion and commitment and was awarded the Ontario Kidney Foundation’s Excellence in Fundraising Award at the annual Volunteer Celebration Awards.In 2018 he was awarded the Meridian Good Neighbour award with the Kincardine Chamber.


Darian Murray: Darian is the current president of the Lucknow Kinettes, where she manages to keep a group of 15-plus women on task and volunteers at many local events throughout the year. She spent countless hours serving on both the 2018 Lucknow Reunion Committee organizing food vendors and the 2018 Lucknow Music in the Fields Committee planning and running day-programming events for attendees. Her full-time job is at Sepoy Manor in Lucknow where the residents and her co-workers have nothing but amazing things to say about her.


Keith and Gail VanderHoek: Keith and Gail have been involved with the Ripley Agricultural Society starting about 1978 as directors and Keith served as president from 1983-84. Gail served as homecraft president 1995-96 and again for 2009-10. Both have served as board directors. They have guided the Ripley Agricultural Society and the Ripley Huron Fall Fair for 40 years. They have influenced policies; canvassed and chaired fundraising events; recruited volunteers for directors and potential executive; been part of committees for parking, ambassador, entertainment, dances, work bees and fair book production and more - anything involved in advertising and showcasing the agricultural community through the events and entertainment at the Ripley Fair.  Gail currently serves as homecraft division secretary. Keith can still be found volunteering with various committees during the fair week. Gail has also served on the executive and both are members of Ripley District Horticultural Society. They are members and serve on executive of Ripley Legion Branch 440, and are members of St. Andrews United Church, Ripley. Gail and Keith have been actively involved with the HAWK Theatre.


Jane Hoy: Jane has worn many different hats over the years, professionally and personally. Some highlights include Jane being the initiator of some of the first parenting outreach programs through the Children’s Aid Society. She was also one of the first staff hired to establish counselling services for children, youth and their families at the Huron Centre for Children and Youth. Jane also worked in group homes, helping to integrate young offenders back into community. At Rural Response for Healthy Children, Jane was the first co-ordinator to set up a five-prong strategy to address issues facing families living in conditions of poverty in our communities. Jane currently works full time for Community Living in Kincardine, working on the development of supports where people living with developmental disabilities have the opportunity to participate in the community as vital, contributing citizens. Jane is also Mrs. Claus every December at Knox Presbyterian Church, and has been for 24 Years. Jane is the founder and leader of the Dungannon Youth Group - every single Friday night you can find Jane at a hall in Dungannon, welcoming kids of all different ages, helping them to learn and grow. Jane is also the person that watches and listens, keeping an eye out for anyone in need, and acting on it.


Judith Bond: Judith is very involved with four main organizations - her church, Hospital Auxiliary, Food Bank and the Agricultural Society, all in Kincardine. She’s been a member of her church, Kincardine Baptist, for over 35 years. She is a member of the leadership team at their weekly Kids Club and twice yearly Vacation Bible Schools and also takes a lead role with the Church’s monthly community dinners. For many years she organized Operation Christmas Child in Kincardine. She has also been an active member of the Kincardine Hospital Auxiliary for over 35 years, serving as co-president and Teen Volunteer Coordinator.In 2007, Judith was awarded a Provincial Lifetime membership. Judith has been involved with the Food Bank for more than 20 years – she’s the person they call when extra help is needed in addition to her regular tasks. Judith has been involved with the Kincardine Agricultural Society for about five years – she’s a director and takes a leadership role in the ambassador competition. In addition, she is always willing to help anyone who needs it, be it driving them to appointments, helping them move, visiting people who are unable to get out and about.


Patti Hutton: Patti was nominated based on her ongoing volunteer work as chair of the Central Bruce-Grey Chapter of Wind Concerns Ontario. She helps neighbours in Bruce and Huron deal with the issues arising from the erection of wind turbines near their homes, and listens with empathy to citizens describe the frustration they feel with trying to deal with operators and regulators who do nothing to address citizen complaints. Patti was instrumental in setting up a tour for elected representatives of the 14-member municipalities of the Multi Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group to homes of impacted citizens. Patti continues helping citizens who are suffering find a voice.