Town of Collingwood honours local volunteers

Mayor Brian Saunderson, along with Members of Council, presented the Order of Collingwood and Companion of the Order of Collingwood Awards at the 2020 Mayor’s New Year’s Levee.

The event took place on Sunday, January 5, at the Georgian Bay Hotel & Conference Centre. A large crowd enjoyed motivational speeches and greetings, live music, Town highlights from the past year, and a celebration of community members who have gone above and beyond as volunteers for the Town of Collingwood.

The Order of Collingwood Awards
The Order of Collingwood recognizes exemplary volunteer achievements by people who improve the social, well-being, natural or cultural environment, or recreational character of the Town of Collingwood.

Larry Hogarth
Larry began volunteering in Collingwood dressed as a clown for the Santa Claus parade in 1969! He spent 2 years with CUSO, a Canadian Volunteer organization, supervising the construction of water systems in rural Botswana, as well as providing training in appropriate construction techniques.

Larry served on the Board of E3 Community Services for two -12 year terms. Worked on the Special Olympics World Winter Games Snowshoe venue at Duntroon Highlands. He is a charter member of the Optimist Club of Collingwood (1986) with 30 years of Mother of All Yard Sales, Kids’ Fish Days, soccer, music programs, and parade float construction.

Larry is a member of the Trinity United Church Board (Property Committee) and is the current Chair of the United Church Cemetery Board. He is also a founding Board member and current Treasurer of the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay.

Larry has assisted with site selection reviews and site servicing for Campbell House and has helped the Collingwood Garden Club with their annual Plant Sale, Christmas “Make & Take” and structural projects at the arboretum. In retirement, Larry enjoys assisting friends with their “Mr. Fixit and MacGyver” projects.

Ron MacRae
Over the past 30 years as a Collingwood resident Ron has volunteered as a coach and Board member of the youth soccer league, holding several portfolios including referee development and Board president.

With colleagues, Ron began the ‘Gallery in a Suitcase’ project which staged contemporary art exhibitions in empty downtown storefronts (they were plentiful in the 90’s!). Ron also helped develop a Visiting Artists series of exhibitions with Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts as he was also a member of the Town’s Visual Arts Committee for several years.

Recently, Ron has been an active volunteer with the local Taoist Tai Chi Society, a non-profit charity dedicated to helping people maintain their health through the practice of Tai Chi, and has volunteered to edit the weekly newsletter for the Curling Club of Collingwood.

In 2016, Ron joined the Collingwood Syrian Sponsorship Committee to help settle Syrian refugee families in Collingwood. This group has settled three families of newcomers who have since been joined by three other families who moved here voluntarily from other communities. Ron’s focus is to help them adapt, find work, introduce activities for the children and just be a good neighbour and friend. The greatest reward as a volunteer for Ron is the many wonderful people he continues to meet and the deep, lasting friendships he creates along the way.

Shashi & Eswar Prasad
The Prasads came to Collingwood in 1983 to start a technology company that is now run by their daughter Niru.  Sensor Technology exports over ninety percent of its products to over 30 countries. Its clients include the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canada Space Agency and several energy companies.

The Prasads have been active in the community since their arrival. Shashi has taken to assisting the hearing impaired through the Quota Club and with the Industrial Accident Prevention Association. Eswar has assisted Georgian College in Collingwood and the Georgian Triangle Development Corporation (now the Centre for Business and Economic Development). He has also worked with the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital Foundation on fund-raising and program development and the Collingwood Music Festival. The Prasad Family Foundation continues to support many causes in the community, especially the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital Foundation.

Eswar and Shashi have received the MSMF (Ottawa) Humanitarian Award. Eswar has served on the Board of an Ottawa-based foundation for the prevention of blindness. Shashi has received the Ontario Voluntary Service Award. Eswar volunteers as a professor and Advisory Board member in the engineering faculty at the University of Toronto. He teaches a graduate course in mechatronics and supervises and mentors research students at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. Eswar and Shashi also volunteer as chefs at a soup kitchen in Toronto.

David Saunders
David was born in Collingwood and volunteerism was a family tradition. In fact, both of David’s parents were proud recipients of the Order of Collingwood.

After graduating from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in 1970, David joined the family business and became a Director of The Collingwood Chamber of Commerce. During his fourteen years there, he Chaired and Co-Chaired many events including Summerfest, Casino Nights and Collingwood’s 125th Anniversary Gala. Also, as a Director of the Chamber, David was present at the formative meetings of the BIA. David was a member of All Saints Anglican Church, where he served as a Warden and cooked at many pancake dinners. David also participated in fundraising at the G&M Hospital and served on the Georgian Triangle Economic Development Corporation.

Since retiring, David has been proud to serve as the Vice Chair of the Georgian Triangle Residential Resource Centre. In addition, he has been serving as the Chair of the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts since 2017. David and his wife Brenda also enjoy helping with the Community Dinner Program and Pickleball as part of the Outreach and Social Action Committee at the Trinity United Church.

Barbara Sharp
Barb has been a resident of Collingwood since 1971. During her tenure as a teacher at C.C.I., she coached volleyball for 25 years and choreographed eight musicals. Barb served on the Board of Theatre Collingwood for one year.

Barb has been involved with many community outreach programs at First Presbyterian Church for the last twenty years including First Contact Youth group, Vacation Bible Camp, First Christmas and Easter Stories and A Little Night Music. She helped found the free PA Days for youth, the First Pres. Tappers, and Music and Movement. She is presently the director for Burning Bush Theatre which offers free musical theatre to youth ages 7 to 17.

Since 2010, Barb has been a choreographer for Clearview Community Theatre. For the last four years, she has been a drama coach for CASLE. Barb is proud to be a contributor to the life of this wonderful community.

The Companion of the Order of Collingwood Awards
The Companion of the Order of Collingwood is awarded to those people who have previously received the Order and have continued to make outstanding volunteer contributions to improve social, well-being, natural or cultural environment, or recreational character of the Town of Collingwood.

Marilyn King-Lawrence
To offer a different lifestyle for her son, Marilyn moved to the area over 38 years ago.  Marilyn operated a business in Collingwood for over 20 years. With her mother and brother being diabetics, Marilyn was inspired to get involved with the Canadian Diabetes Association and Team Diabetes. Team Diabetes offered a means of fundraising in many cities around the world and through this, Marilyn has met so many wonderful people from around the world who have taken up the fight against diabetes.

Marilyn began fundraising by doing book sales, bottle drives and even an art walk where local artists would contribute a piece of work and display it in the windows of local Downtown businesses which then grew to larger community sales events at locations like the Collingwood Legion. Marilyn now has a Team Diabetes web site where she runs specialty sales and weekly auctions 24 hours a day.

Although at times Marilyn’s home looks like a warehouse, none of her work would be possible without the generous contributions of local businesses to whom she is truly thankful for. With this support Marilyn has been able to support local food banks, the Salvation Army and local animal shelters with donations. Marilyn is thankful for all the volunteers and donors who give their time selflessly and have made this cause their own.

Cover image: Town of Collingwood

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