Madawaska Valley resident and longtime volunteer Loraine Haskins was presented with the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism on August 14 at Madawaska Valley Hospice Palliative Care. At her bedside to witness her receiving the award from Michael Ford, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, were family members and close friends – some of them colleagues who had worked with her at Madawaska Valley District High School – including former MPP Sean Conway in whose constituency office she had worked. Above: Loraine Haskins. Photo Heubner Funeral Home
Her brother, Stan Ralph, said that when she entered palliative care she told him she had two goals: to celebrate her birthday and to accept the award. He notified Minister Ford who kindly agreed to travel to Barry’s Bay for the private awards ceremony four days after Loraine Haskins celebrated her 91st birthday on August 10. She passed away on September 7 after a long battle with cancer. Other recipients of this year’s awards will be honoured by the Province on September 27, and her family and friends have been invited to a virtual presentation during which Loraine will receive public recognition for her voluntarism.
Loraine and Jim Haskins met on the ski slopes and moved to Madawaska Valley in the 1960s to raise their family. She was the Office Manager at MVDHS where her husband was a teacher. The couple were enthusiastic supporters of the Valley and the students, being involved in the establishment of the ski hill, organizing many activities for students, and Loraine joined the Lions’ Club to raise funds for organizations in need.
Ask anyone who knew Loraine and you’ll get a response similar to that from Doug De La Matter. When he learned that she received an award he said, “I know she deserves many.”
MVDHS colleague and friend of more than 50 years Beth Hildebrandt credited Loraine with an “intense passion for her new community.” She said, “Loraine kicked in and created committees to preserve these two historic sites [the railway station and the water tower]. Considering she was working full time, this was a tremendous job to take on. However, she succeeded, and we have the only wooden water tower still standing in all of Ontario, and our train station is the focal point of town!”
Hildebrandt also remembers Loraine’s sense of fun. She always hosted a Christmas dinner for her colleagues in the MVDHS Office. One year “…it was noted that Gladys needed a Christmas tree … so the two of us left the table, drove up the highway, cut down a tree on the highway (totally illegal!) and drove back to Haskins. Next thing we knew was a car behind us, flashing its lights frantically, and the police officer … hat on … comes over to our car … it was Loraine!”
The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration website says this about the Award: The June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism recognizes individuals and groups who have made an exceptional contribution to voluntarism in Ontario. Whether by volunteering their time, efforts, knowledge or resources, citizens from across Ontario are making valuable contributions to the quality of life in their communities and the province.
Up to 20 recipients are awarded the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism each year. Ontario recognizes and highlights the contributions of those who serve to inspire others by the positive examples they provide…. Volunteers help build diverse, vibrant, caring and safe communities. They help make this province a socially, culturally and economically strong place in which to live.