At the Club’s February 26, 2021 virtual members’ meeting, the Rotary Club of Bracebridge celebrated two significant events including the renaming of the Club’s Citizen of the Year Award and announcing the 2020 award recipient.
The Club recognized the lifetime contributions to volunteerism of William E. Towns by renaming the Club’s annual Citizen of Year award in his honour. William “Bill” Towns passed away in 2020 and had served the community as a club member from 1948 to 2020. His 70th year as a Rotarian was celebrated by the Rotary Club of Bracebridge in 2018 at a celebration at South Muskoka Golf Club. Bill and his first wife Helen were named by the Club as Citizen of the Year in 1993 for their contributions and support for the “Rotary Fair” whereby this duo raised many dollars for the club.
Annually, since 1982, the Rotary Club of Bracebridge celebrates the volunteer achievements and contribution of an individual through naming them Citizen of the Year. The award criteria includes a member of the Bracebridge community who has displayed a pronounced and continued pattern of exemplary civic duty and self-less volunteer service in the community.
In announcing the renaming of the award to the Rotary Club of Bracebridge William E. Towns Citizen of the Year, Committee Chair Cheryl Kelley said, “William E. Towns was the epitome of exemplary civic duty and of self-less volunteer service, and the award renaming is very suitable because he set the bar very high.”
Ruth Bell-Towns indicated that, “Bill would be very honoured and humbled to know that this award now bears his name”.
Evelyn Archibald was named as the first recipient of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge William E. Towns Citizen of the Year. Evelyn’s volunteerism has touched many parts of the Bracebridge and Muskoka community as well as her professional and faith communities. Having arrived in Bracebridge in 1974 with her husband Larry, Evelyn’s volunteering dates back to the Bracebridge Historical Society and the refurbishment of Woodchester in the late 70’s. Since then, she has served on many Boards and Committees including:
- Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group;
- Muskoka District Housing Authority;
- Muskoka Community Foundation;
- Habitat for Humanity Muskoka; Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North for 3 builds;
- Canadian Federation of University Women Muskoka – Program Committee;
- Terry Fox Run;
- Numerous Provincial Committees for the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants/Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario; and
- Numerous Committee for the Bracebridge United Church.
In addition to lending her professional skills, Evelyn rolls up her sleeves to help out with numerous sporting competitions, the Monck Public Breakfast Program, Bracebridge’s Out of the Cold Program at the United Church, driving for Muskoka Family focus and canvassing for MS.
In receiving the award, Evelyn remarked, “That she was surprised on receiving the award as the Club’s Citizen of the Year” and humbly said, “I haven’t done much lately” as she had to sign off the virtual Rotary Club presentation to link up to attend a presentation of the YWCA’s Bridges Out of Poverty program.
In thanking the club, Evelyn said, “I am honoured to be the first recipient in an award named after Bill Towns. I could not have followed-up on many of the opportunities presented to be me without the help and support of colleagues, family and friends.”
In her remarks as the nominator, Linda Brouillette said, ” I was so happy that Evelyn was chosen as the first recipient of the William E Towns Citizen of the Year Award . Evelyn, you have done so much good in this world in your own unassuming and dedicated way.”