The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the October 30, 2013 issue. Reprinted with permission.
The article appeared in "Low Down to Hull and Back News Special 40th Anniversary Edition".
Top 40 Movers and Shakers of the Hills
It may be our 40th anniversary, but that milestone is marked by your stories.
Our pages have been filled with stories about people from Chelsea to Kazabazua and beyond who really impacted on their communities in meaningful ways.
We like to call those people "movers and shakers." They are people who range from the engaged, vocal, game-changer types to the quiet, behind-the-scenes volunteers.
There are many of those types in the Hills.
So we asked you for the top "movers and shakers" of the Gatineau Hills and you nominated your "Top 40" picks. The first five are the top and the rest are in no particular order.
1. Norma Geggie for keeping the history of the Gatineau Hills alive with her various books and writings. She is also a force behind the planned La Maison des Collines palliative care centre and founded the Wakefield Grannies in 2006. She has also volunteered with the annual Garden Party fundraiser for the Des Collines Health Foundation. In 2012, she was awarded the Governor General Caring Canadian Award, which is given to Canadians who have made significant volunteer contributions to their communities.
2. Andre Renaud, is the former mayor of Chelsea and a force behind the La Maison des Collines palliative care home. He fought to save the then-named Gatineau Memorial Hospital from closing in the early 1980s and has served on the hospital's board of directors. Today, he's still active in volunteering with the Centre de santé et de service sociaux (CSSS) des Collines.
3. Rene Nielsen, a Chelsea resident who has been a tireless volunteer in the community. The Chelsea Nearly New Sales, the Maison Libere-Elles women's shelter, the QUAIL House home for people with developmental disabilities and seniors' lunches are part of her range of involvements. She also fought for an independent CEGEP in the English-speaking community, back when her own children went to Heritage College.
4. Doug Ryan, founder of the landmark Ryan's Garage in Alcove. He helped create the volunteer fire service and also helped build the arena in Low. He was known as being the "goto" guy for his tow-truck services in emergency accidents. Ryan died in 2010. Ryan's Garage closed earlier this year.
5. Paul Symes, owner of the Black Sheep Inn. He has made Wakefield a major musical hub in the Gatineau Hills.
6. The Chicoine family of eight, who helped bring cable TV to the area, started the Wakefield Express, Billy's Deli, taken over the Jamboree boutique and started the chiropractic clinic in the village. The six kids are becoming more involved in the village, from organizing sporting events, to running Canada Day celebrations, to starting up a construction company. Undoubtedly, they will continue to be major movers and shakers over the next 40 years.
7. Neil and Carol Faulkner who are involved with Wakefield-area community groups, including the Wakefield Grannies. They also took a stand when neighbour and ex-senator Raymond Lavigne's then-political staffer chopped trees on their property. That complaint led to an RCMP investigation of Lavigne and, later, his arrest and conviction for breach of trust and fraud.
8. Michael Cooper, a force behind the restoration of the 1860s-era Fairbairn House.
9. Ken Bouchard, for all his work maintaining trails through Gatineau Park and Wakefield village.
10. Louis Rompre, for juggling his job as Wakefield's councillor, host of the Kaffe 1870 open mic nights and candle-making business.
11. Marc Cockburn, who is the president of the Gatineau Valley Historical Society.
12. Carol Martin, who is the past president of the Gatineau Valley Historical Society and former editor of the Up the Gatineau! annual booklet.
13. Phil and Glennis Cohen, of Wakefield. Phil is known for being the Village Poet and is often seen in the Canada Day parade wearing a chicken tea cozy on his head. Glennis is a long-standing volunteer at the Wakefield Library. Both are very involved in the community.
14. Alan and Gillian Heginbottom, of Wakefield. Gillian has volunteered extensively for the Church of the Good Shepherd and makes jam every year to fundraise for the QUAIL House home for people with developmental disabilities. She was also awarded the Governor General Caring Canadian Award, which is given to Canadians who have made significant volunteer contributions to their communities.
15. Meredith Brown, who, as the Ottawa Riverkeeper and a Wakefield resident, has been able to offer her insights into the health of the Gatineau River.
16. Chelsea's Alain Piche, president of Friends of the Gatineau River, has spearheaded regular testings of the Gatineau River. He's also involved with Chelsea Trails.
17. John Trent helped bring the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train to the Hills and is trying to get the tourist attraction back on track following washouts along the train track in June 2011. He is president of train promotion group Friends of the Steam Train.
18. Scott Findlay - Chelsea's crusader for a cleaner environment and more open and honest governement.
19. Charles Part and Jennifer Warren-Part, who opened Les Fougeres Restaurant, which has since grown to become a popular fine-dining venue. The duo has cooked for community events, including the La Maison des Collines palliative care fundraiser dinner Oct. 26 and when the Nishiyuu walkers trekked through the Gatineau Hills from northern Quebec to Ottawa last March. Part won the Love Your Lentils contest with Food Day Canada and donated his $1,000 first-place prize to the Des Collines Health Foundation.
20. Shirley and Larry Dufour, who are important volunteers with the St. Stephen's Church in Chelsea. Larry is involved with the Larrimac Golf Club, the planned seniors housing project in Farm Point and the Chelsea Foundation. He is a former councillor. Shirley is a volunteer with the Chelsea Nearly New Sales.
21. Brenda and Robert Rooney for fostering a theatre culture in Wakefield. They have worked with Theatre Wakefield, kick-started the popular Wakefield Film Camp and brought the Great Hall theatre space into the Wakefield Community Centre.
22. The late Norma Walmsley, who served in the RCAF in 1941 and founded MATCH International Centre and ma myriad of other impressive deeds was largely responsible for getting the Wakefield covered bridge rebuilt.
23. Phil Jenkins, a Chelsea musical maven and writer.
24. Diane Morey and Gillian Lovink, who started up the popular Café Molo (it has since closed) and more recently opened Vintage Molo.
25. Nathalie Coutou, the owner of Khewa boutique, who organized the annual Wakefield Harvest Festival.
26. Lynn Berthiaume and Bob Milling, who have turned the Wakefield Mill Inn & Spa into a major Gatineau Hills tourist destination.
27. The Youth Welfare Association of Rupert, for main27. The Youth Welfare Association of Rupert, for maintivities alive in Rupert.
28. Linda Vanderlee, for her volunteer work with Friends of the Wakefield Library (FOWL).
29. Robert Leblanc, a quiet, behind-the-scenes mover and shaker who has volunteered with the Wakefield Recreation Association and is a handyman willing to help anybody.
30. Gwen Shea, for her work with Theatre Wakefield and the Wakefield Community Centre.
31. Patrick Poitras, for his long volunteer hours maintaining the skating rink beside the Wakefield Community Centre. He has also served on the Wakefield Recreation Association and is a force behind getting the skate park and sports pad project underway.
32. Steve Sabean, for his volunteer work bringing in the Wakefield Community Centre.
33. Judy Grant - the colourful ex-mayor of Chelsea and former editor of this paper. She served many a volunteer hour in that municpality, and up the line in Low, where she was the first female head of a Lions Club.
34. Shirley Brown and Earl Hansen, who owned and ran the Jamboree boutique in Wakefield for 20 years. Brown and Hansen have since retired from the popular village hub, but Brown continues her many volunteer hours for the Wakefield hospital.
35. Shirley Brown of Chelsea, for her work with the Gatineau Valley Historical Society and Gatineau Valley Gardeners.
36. Jane MacIntyre, of Chelsea. The person who nominated her wrote "Jane does not exercise her might very often but when Jan speaks, mountains move - witness a sell out palliative care dinner at the Meredith Centre on October 26 that was really Jane's leadership."
37. Tamara Tarasoff, a Farrellton resident who fought hard against the massive septic waste treatment centre planned for La Peche. The MRC des Collines regional government eventually pulled the plug on the project.
38. Aime Fleury, for his trucking and garbage services and work as District Chief for the La Peche fire department.
39. Melanie and James Irwin of Irwin's store in Kaz, a landmark and social hub for that tiny municipality. Melanie also served on the Kaz fire department.
40. Cindy Duncan McMillan, of Farrellton, who ran for the Federal Liberal Party. As the person who nominated her wrote, Duncan McMillan has done work "involving people in politics, raising the profile of rural Canada in political circles, raising the profile of women in politics" and "her 'behind the scenes' involvement has been huge also."
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