Governor General recognizes lifelong volunteers
|By Joseph Quigley - Staff Writer | June 12, 2019
When Ronald Mark received a call telling him the Governor General was recognizing him with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for his lifelong efforts, he did not believe it.
“I didn’t even know anything about it. It was quite a surprise,” Mark said. “Thought it was somebody pulling my leg. By the end of it, I was in tears. I had no idea I would get something like this.”
The Haliburtonian received his medal at the Dysart et al council meeting May 29. The award recognizes Canadians for exceptional volunteer achievements.
Carman and JoAnne Coumbs nominated Mark. They provided his detailed volunteer record, which dates back to 1958. Mark’s volunteering includes kids sports, the Haliburton 4C’s Food Bank and the Masonic Lodge.
“There hasn’t been a year go by, or probably a week go by, that he hasn’t volunteered for some organization or another without any compensation,” Carman said. “He’s a very dedicated individual.”
Mark said he feels a sense of satisfaction out of volunteering. He added it is an expected part of all the different groups he is a member of.
“I just feel good about doing it,” Mark said. “As a Mason, you’re supposed to do stuff like that. As a church person, you’re supposed to do stuff like that. Shriner and Eastern Star and all this stuff I belong to, we just help people.”
Mark has also volunteered with the Shrine Children’s Hospital through the Algonquin Shrine Club. He has raised money for it and helped drive children in need of medical attention to various locations.
He described driving a sick child to a bus stop in Toronto at 3 a.m. to get them on a bus to Boston.
“It feels important to me to help these kids,” he said. “You see some of them are in pretty bad shape. The hospital does marvellous work with them.”
Margaret Mark, Ronald’s wife of 59 years, said he was volunteering when she first met him. He drove disabled children to Sick Kid’s Hospital for pool therapy.
“This was amazing to me he would do this,” she said. “It’s just gone on from there. It’s just been ongoing and I’m very proud of him.”
Coumbs said he was happy to see Mark get recognition.
“I don’t think enough people in our community get recognized for their volunteer hours,” he said. “I’m really happy for him.”
Mark said Haliburton has many volunteers who deserve recognition.
“It’s a great place to live with the volunteers. The people are really good here,” he said. “There’s a lot more people in this area that deserves that (award) more than me because they work very hard.”
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.