My husband Jack and I have resided in our rural Milton home since 1987. Our dogs share our home with us. We’re surrounded by working farms and even tend our own small, backyard apple orchard and vegetable garden. The diversity of the Region as well as the opportunity and vitality is what attracted us in the beginning and remains so today.
On August 16 of this year Jack passed away unexpectedly. He hadn’t been ill and he didn’t suffer, for which I am grateful but I am devastated at the loss. Not only have I lost my husband of 43 years but I have lost my anchor, my support system.
This has brought me to a new dimension in my life – that of a widow. It’s a whole new learning curve, to say the least. It’s not like I am anywhere near the first person to face a new reality and it is a reality faced by a great many seniors – having to depend on government handouts in order to survive. Many retirees have lost pensions with companies reorganizing – again, I am not the first to face this situation but because I have the strength and am not afraid to speak out, I will use my energies to advocate for seniors. To that end, I am part way through a course called Senior Connectors. When I finish this course in December, I will have gained a lot of information to share with other seniors who find themselves in need of information, support and help.
With 35 years of community service and leadership experience, I dedicated myself to representing the public during my two terms on council (2003-2010) and I continue to do so in a number of capacities.
I’ve learned through experience that to understand a community, one needs to be involved in the community, and work within it. We must understand the hearts and hopes of the people who live there, then find the right balance, investing for today and tomorrow. Sometimes it requires our looking “outside the box” to address some of the serious issues facing the community.
In all my current and past committees, I have always been, and continue to be, a working member, not merely a “seat-filler”.
My current Board and Committee memberships are:
- Community Development Halton, Vice president, board of directors
- Poverty Free Halton
- Halton Living Wage Working Group
- Milton Seniors’ Activity Centre (MSAC) (member since 2009), MSAC Advisory Committee Chair – 2014 to present; MSAC Volunteer – planning, preparing, serving weekly lunches & special events; preparing seasonal food items for fundraising sales; and Baking with Jan classes. It’s such an honour to work with teams of really nice volunteers making things happen;
- Milton Says No (to CN Intermodal facility in the southwest corner of Milton) Board of Directors
- Bob Rumball Associations for the Deaf (BRAD), Board of directors 2013 to present; and sit on BRAD Farm Committee
- Milton Historical Society, immediate past president (president 2012-2016)
- Canadian Blood Services – Volunteer Leader, Thursday clinics, as of February, 2016
I also volunteer on ad hoc basis as, and when, required, on issues that matter to me; such as for Milton Transitional Housing, Community Living North Halton and others
Past Committees and boards:
- Doors Open Milton
- Rotary Club, Milton 2010 – 2015. Blood donor clinic volunteer coordinator for Rotary; convener of 2012 – 2015 Spring Fundraising Galas
- Milton Public Library, Board of Directors: 2003 – 2010 (councilor appointee) public member reappointed Feb. 2011 – 2015
- Country Heritage Park, elected to Board of Directors 2012. Resigned effective Dec 6, 2016
- Dufferin Quarry Citizens’ Advisory Panel (CAP); member 2009 – 2015
- Halton Multicultural Council, 2003 – 2010.
- Employment Working Group, 2009 – 2012
- Halton Region Joint Advisory Committee on Waste Management: 2006-2010
- Halton Child Seat Safety Coalition – recording secretary: 2006 – 2011
- Nassagaweya Community Consultation Committee: 1998 – 2012
- Community Services Advisory Committee, 1998-2004
- Heritage Milton: 2006-2010
- Milton Trails Advisory Committee 2003 – 2010
- Milton Road Safety Committee (Chair) 1998-2004
- Nassagaweya Broadband Committee – now inactive but access to high speed internet in rural Milton was entirely due to the work of my grassroots community group.
Other points of interest: I received a certificate for completion of U.K. Skills and Knowledge course: Understanding Placemaking. A key component of the course is the issue of public consultation – we need to find new ways to truly engage the public.