Today, Mayor Paul Kelly and Gravenhurst Council announced Gord Durnan as the 2020 Gravenhurst Senior of the Year in recognition of his numerous contributions to Gravenhurst and the surrounding Muskoka community.
“Gord has served our community and the entire District of Muskoka in countless ways. His dedication to volunteerism is without precedent in Gravenhurst. He has contributed many hours over many years to the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation, Muskoka Community Foundation, Gravenhurst Rotary Club, Gravenhurst Against Poverty (GAP), Community Spirit Awards, and many other organizations. He certainly is a deserving recipient of this award,” said Mayor Paul Kelly.
Nominated by his peers, Gord’s contributions are countless, including his early years serving as a lifeguard and swimming instructor to his hugely successful fundraising efforts for the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation.
His volunteer efforts include launching the Muskoka Community Foundation in 2007, which celebrates the great work of volunteers and charitable organizations across Muskoka, and also highlights the inspiring efforts of young students who have shown leadership in raising funds to help our communities.
Gord has, through his many connections and extensive and growing network, been able to encourage many full time and seasonal residents and families to support specific Muskoka interests, be it in arts, sports, hospitals, the environment or charities serving residents of all ages in the community.
Gord, an active Gravenhurst Rotarian since 1989, has been involved in countless initiatives. Most recently, a collaborative partnership between Rotary and GAP (Gravenhurst Against Poverty). Gord also attends the monthly GAP Council meetings to encourage broad community coordination of services in support of our citizens who need support in overcoming challenges.
In years past, Gord served on the Town’s economic development committee and has continued as a member of PMCN (Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network) Regional Innovation Council. He also sits on the Muskoka Steamship and Discovery Centre Advisory Committee, and was an appointed member of the Veridian Connections, now the Elexicon Energy community advisory committee, for the past five terms of Council.
A strong supporter of Council’s Community Spirit Awards program, Gord has served as Chair of the Committee for 25 years and acted as master of ceremonies for the event. He often tells people that this is one of his most satisfying volunteer experiences.
Gord’s volunteer commitment also has led him to serve for six years on the Board of Governors of Nipissing University in North Bay and fulfilling the role of Chair of the Board of Governors in 2017/2018. He completed his term in April of 2019 and at the June 2019 Commencement he was granted by the Senate an Honorary Doctorate of Letters (honoris causa). Dr. Durnan accepted a role as Chair of a special advisory committee to the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University.
Congratulations Gord and thank you for your incredible community spirit and volunteerism. The Ontario Senior of the Year Award gives each municipality in Ontario the opportunity to honour one outstanding local Ontarian who after the age of 65 has enriched the social, cultural or civic life of his or her community. #GravenhurstProud