BURK’S FALLS – All Barb Marlow wanted was a chance to give back to her community but she has gained so much more.
GETTING FOR GIVING.
In December she was awarded for her dedication with a 20-year pin from the Parry Sound District of Social Services Board and a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, nominated for her service to Ryerson Township.
Marlow says both acknowledgements came as a great surprise.
“When Judy (clerk Judy Kosowan) brought the notice to council one of the council members mentioned my name. But, that was it. I didn’t hear about it again.” said Marlow.
That was, until the Dec. 4 council meeting when she was presented with the Queen’s Jubilee medal and a certificate. “So it really was a surprise.”
According to Reeve Glenn Miller council agreed with Kosowan’s recommendation to nominate Marlow.
“For the years of service that Barb has put in on the Winterfest. She has been part of that since inception,” he said. “She’s done an outstanding job and we thought she should be recognized.”
Miller says they were very happy to honour Marlow and her years of service to the community.
“She has been an excellent, excellent councillor and a good reeve,” he said.
It was also at the December DSSAB meeting that she received a certificate, pin and a bouquet of flower for her 20 years of service. She currently serves as board vice-chair.
“It was funny having them both come in the same month, just before Christmas,” she said.
The honour from DSSAB also came unexpectedly.
“That was a surprise and again, presented at a regular meeting,” said Marlow.
Marlow and her husband Gerry purchased their Ryerson Township property in the 70s and moved north from Toronto in 1989.
For years Marlow worked in accounts receivable and later for a catering business. Her life was hectic with work and raising six active children.
“Now it’s my time to give back,” she said.
With much on her plate, the 83-year-old still manages to find time to spend with her children, 13 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
When the 1991 municipal elections were approaching and Marlow wondered whether she could sit on council.
“I went in to ask Judy about it and said, ‘What do you need to sit on council’ and she said ‘a smile and a sense of humour’,” laughed Marlow. “You need a bit more than that now.”
Needless to say, she was elected onto council.
Marlow says she still enjoys sitting on council but adds that there are many more rules and regulations since she started.
“She and I started on council at the same time,” said Miller.
In 2003 Marlow faced Miller, who sat on council with Marlow during their first term in office, in the race for reeve of Ryerson Township. She smiles when she says she won by one vote.
However, it was during that term of council when Gavin, who passed away five years ago, took ill. She says running for another term as reeve was out of the question.
“It wouldn’t have been fair to council,” she said. “But, I still wanted to be involved with council.”
So she ran again as councillor, won and has never looked back.
“I just enjoy being a councillor,” she said. “I find it challenging and worthwhile.”
She says council has become more time consuming over the years and there are often daytime meetings and events to attend during the day.
With Miller working during the day, he acknowledges that Marlow has stepped into her role as deputy reeve representing the township in his stead.
Marlow’s energy level seems to have no bounds.
“Because I’m retired and I don’t have a job I don’t find it a lot,” she said. “I would imagine you’d have to have a pretty lenient boss if you were working full time.”
Marlow has also been involved with Winterfest since its inception and was delighted at how successful this, the 18th annual, Winterfest was. An influx in mild weather didn’t hurt, however Marlow says over the years they’ve been fortunate.
“We’ve never had to cancel it. It’s a good community day and with the dance and the bowling on the Saturday night it blends in with the whole day,” she said. “And we have some excellent volunteers.”
Marlow sits on the Parry Sound EMS Board, is actively involved at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and is a member of the historic Wiseman’s Corners Quilting Group.
“This quilting group has been going since before the war,” she said.
Now the group continues quilting on a regular basis, and have sold their quilts to raise money for various charities including hospitals and the food bank.
In the more recent years the group has donated the quilts for the charities to raffle off.
As for the honours bestowed to her recently Marlow says, “It’s such an honour to be nominated by your peers.”