The Town of Midland recently handed out its 2018 Awards of Merits to three individuals to recognize them for their outstanding contribution to the town.

This year’s worthy recipients include Kathy Willis, the executive director of Huronia Transition Homes, Barb Rowlandson, who helped establish the first Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival, and Chris Edwards, a business leader who has been actively involved with the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP).

Willis, a strong feminist advocate in the anti-violence movement in Midland, currently chairs the CAS-Violence Against Women collaboration committee in Simcoe County. Under her leadership, the charitable organization Huronia Transition Homes has grown from a single program women’s shelter to a multi-program county-wide organization that offers a women’s shelter with specialized counseling and support services for women and their children who have experienced abuse or have been exposed to violence.

Willis also runs the La Maison Rosewood women’s shelter.

Since she first established the Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival in June of 2013, Rowlandson has seen here successful idea attract grow to attract an estimated 65,000 people last summer alone. With more than 200 participating vendors, they sold over 150,000 butter tarts.

The festival has immensely helped Midland’s tourism efforts and has even been mentioned in the New York Times.

Edwards, a member of the Harvard Business School President’s Club with certificates in Leadership Best Practices, Strategy Building and Sustaining Competitive Advantage, joined Weber Manufacturing in 2002 and worked his way up to president in 2007.  A champion of youth apprenticeship for the skilled trades, his involvement with OYAP has had working with Georgian College, the County of Simcoe, school boards and regional high schools to open the lines of communication with industry and generate interest and awareness for careers in skilled trades.

The Awards of Merit was established in 1956 to recognize individuals in the community who have made an outstanding contribution to the Town of Midland. Council meets every year to determine eligible recipients in a given year and decide which of them will be honoured with the special award.

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