Barton and Norton honoured with awards
PRESCOTT - In any town or city, there are always a handful of residents who make a particularly substantial contribution to the civic life of the community, who give a little bit extra or do something special to make life better for everybody else.
Two people who have spent years doing just that in the town of Prescott were honoured at town hall Monday night, as the mayor and town council joined with a large crowd of well-wishers to celebrate the winners of the Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards.
Long-time Prescott resident Donald Barton was named Prescott's Citizen of the Year for 2017, while the Volunteer of the Year award was presented to veteran firefighter Brent Norton.
"Being a modest individual, he doesn't really talk about any of this," said Councillor Fraser Laschinger as he introduced Barton and outlined the many contributions he has made to the community over the years.
Laschinger was one of three councillors, along with Leanne Burton and Mike Ostrander, on the committee that reviewed the nominations and decided on the winners, and though he's known Barton for several years, Laschinger had no idea until the nomination form crossed his desk just how dedicated this year's Citizen of the Year has long been to his hometown.
Barton was nominated by Gayle Deleavey and was selected as this year's winner on the strength of not only the many years he spent serving as a driver for the Victorian Order of Nurses and volunteering with St. Paul's United Church, but also because of his work the Sandy Hill Cemetery Board and, for a time, on the Prescott Waste Management Committee. Barton has also enthusiastically given of his time and energy in support of a variety of community events and programs.
"Recognition is never the motivation for Don's unwavering dedication to the people of Prescott," said Laschinger.
Barton was as gracious upon receiving the award as he has always been generous with his time, and expressed his gratitude for all those involved in nominating and selecting him and presenting him with the honour.
"I'll appreciate this for a long, long time," he said.
It was just a few weeks ago that Brent Norton came before council to be honoured alongside several of his colleagues as one of the longest-serving members of the Prescott Fire Department, but on Monday night he was recognized not just for his more than 35 years helping to keep Prescott residents safe but also for the time he's found to make even more contributions to the community.
Norton was nominated by Prescott's fire chief, Barry Moorhouse, whom Norton wanted very much to thank upon accepting the award.
"It's a privilege to work with you as chief and leader of the fire department," he said.
In recent years, Norton has served as the department's fire prevention officer and has done a great deal of good work promoting fire safety and helping to keep the community safe, but more than that Norton has also found time to coach minor hockey and soccer and serve with the Prescott Lions Club. He has also been instrumental for many years in organizing the Prescott Santa Claus parade, starting back when it was a daytime event and also since it became Light Up the Night.
"Giving back to the community you grew up and live in is very important," said Norton.
It meant a lot to Norton that several members of his family, including his 90-year-old mother, Elizabeth, were on hand to see the award ceremony, and it was also an honour, he said to receive the award alongside Barton, whom he called a great ambassador for the town.
"I couldn't have a better person with me to get this than Don," he said. "I'd like to congratulate him for his award."
Barton and Norton are both deserving winners of their respective honours and the large crowd that gathered to congratulate them and acknowledge all that they do and have done for the community would no doubt echo the sentiments of Mayor Brett Todd who offered high praise for both men.
"We would all do well by aspiring to the example that you set," said the mayor.