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McLeish named Centre Wellington Citizen of the Year

Citizen of the Year - Roberta Scarrow of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce hands the microphone to Bruce McLeish, Centre Wellington’s 2017 Citizen of the Year.  Photo by Mike Robinson

McLeish named Centre Wellington Citizen of the Year

by Mike Robinson

ELORA - Bruce McLeish is Centre Wellington’s newest Citizen of the Year.

The announcement was made on April 18 at Elora’s Heritage River Retirement Residence as part of the Fergus-Elora Rotary Club meeting. The award is presented annually as part of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence.

Nominator Jim Gibbons said McLeish became a director of the Fergus-Elora Rotary Club after retiring as Fergus CIBC branch manager.

“In his quiet and efficient manner, he took over the monthly bingo at the race track and made it a very successful fundraiser,” said Gibbons.

“Without Bruce, this project would not have gone forward and raised $30,000 to $40,000 a year for projects in Centre Wellington such as our hospital, our sportsplex, Stait Park and many other projects that make Centre Wellington the place to live.

“Bruce does not seek recognition for all the work he does, he simply does what needs to be done. Without Bruce, the Rotary Club of Fergus-Elora could not support all the projects and organizations in our community.”

Centre Wellington councillor Don Fisher presented the certificate to McLeish on behalf of the mayor and the township.

“We are blessed in Centre Wellington with the number of community-minded people (we have),” Fisher said. “People who give of themselves - their time, their energy - to make this a great place to live, work and play.”

As a member of the adjudication committee for the past few years, Fisher said “it was a complete revelation to me the number of people who do this, and how many amazing things they are doing on strictly a volunteer basis.”

Fisher added “... for everything we see, it is only the tip of the iceberg.

“There are so many people who volunteer ... simply as a matter of course ... they don’t get nominated or recognized .. and they don’t expect anything.”

Fisher said “we are so grateful to the chamber for providing this recognition.

“This recipient is extremely deserving and worthy to take his place among the previous winners of this award - who are all extraordinary winners.”

In accepting the award, McLeish thanked all those involved.

“I’m not sure I’m really deserving of this award ... but someone thinks I am,” said McLeish.

“It’s really nice to live in a community that is as great as this is and to do things which I hope will improve it.”

Supporting McLeish’s nomination, John Wheatley wrote, “I have known Bruce for some 20 years as a dedicated and tireless volunteer in his role as a member of the Rotary Club of Fergus-Elora. Bruce has been the secretary of the club for many years, playing a major role in helping the club achieve many of its most significant contributions to this community.”

Wheatley added, “(McLeish) has spent countless hours doing an expert job ... and has brought many new ideas to the table, resulting in the design and implementation of a variety of projects supporting our community and the international community as well.”

He noted Fergus Elora Rotary Club’s support of Groves hospital in the amount of some $350,000 since 2003, and the club has pledged another $150,000 for the new hospital from 2017 forward.

Wheatley explained a significant portion of these funds were acquired through the monthly bingo program held at the OLG Raceway in Elora.

He described McLeish as  a leader in establishing the bingo, almost single-handedly designing, executing and managing the project.

Wheatley said McLeish played a leading role in the club’s involvement in the accessible playground at Stait Park.

McLeish facilitated the establishment and sustainability of the Rotary Centre in Fergus (KidsAbility) for children with physical and learning challenges.

“He is a tireless volunteer for a variety of other projects including the Canada Day event, Christmas ham and cheese fundraiser, Habitat for Humanity building project, Rotary aquatic centre, Centre Wellington Resource Centre and the Centre Wellington Food Bank. McLeish has also been very involved with international projects, including Polio-plus and various environmental sustainability projects in Third World countries.

“In summary, Bruce has contributed significantly to the heart and soul of the Fergus-Elora Rotary Club, and ... has therefore made an outstanding contribution to this community.”

McLeish will be recognized at the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence gala at the Fergus Grand Theatre on May 16.

April 21, 2017


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