By Jenn Watt
March 14, 2017
Maggie Harris is a lot of things, but few people would call her quiet. The diminutive 68-year-old is best known around the county for playing her “ugly stick” (a cowboy-shoed broomstick topped with a baked bean can) and dressing up like a chicken and jumping into the frigid waters of Head Lake during the Polar Bear Challenge.
Which is why it was a surprise to find out a couple of weeks ago that Harris had also been making other appearances that few people saw. She volunteers with seniors through Community Support Services. She plays music at long-term care homes. The week our reporter Angelica Ingram interviewed her, she was painting at Canoe FM.
The same can be said for the rest of Harris’s country music band, the Two-bit 3Some, composed of Ted Scholtes, Val Jarvis, George Claridge and Harris. Aside from offering catchy tunes to brighten your day, all of the band members are also actively involved in one thing or another. Without calling out any specific person, you can find members of the band in long-term care homes, helping youth, assisting the refugee committee and giving to anti-poverty initiatives. Yet you hardly hear a word of it.
That’s likely because none of them would seek recognition for their good deeds. They’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do.
It’s often the way things go. People doing some of the most important work in our community don’t broadcast their achievements to the world. They’re quietly caring for others without desire for fanfare.
But it’s important to recognize this kind of work – not because these volunteers need praise, but because what they do is so admirable. It should be celebrated and honoured.
Which is why the Highlander of the Year award given out at the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Achievement Awards should bring us all great pride.
This year’s winner was another quiet contributor. Max Ward, minister at the Minden United Church, Places for People and food bank board member, took home the glass trophy without even making a speech. Ward was chosen from amongst a pool of nominees who each work tirelessly for this community and deserve recognition in their own right: Sean Pennylegion, Laurie Jones, Kim Emmerson, Janis Parker and Don Bamford.
While it seems unfair to choose a winner from amongst a field of excellent nominees, having this award as recognition of those who work in the service of others is necessary. Giving this award isn’t just a way to thank individuals, it’s a celebration of community-mindedness – something we will always need more of.