BY ANDREW SMITH
NORTH PERTH – One of Listowel’s most dedicated residents and a host of volunteers in North Perth were celebrated at the Norm Stirling Citizen of the Year award banquet.
Over 150 people gathered at the Wallace Community Centre on Saturday, Nov. 3, but notably absent was guest of honour Dave Carson, this year’s recipient of the Norm Stirling Citizen of the Year award. Presented with the award at a previous ceremony, Carson said he was honoured and humbled by the news.
“There’s a lot of people that do a lot to make this community very successful, and we’re very fortunate with the community we have,” he said. “It’s just a great place to live and I’m privileged to be able to be a small part of it.”
Carson was nominated for the award by friends Doug and Lois Aitchison, for his commitment to the community through his livestock and auction business, and that Carson is recognized across North America for his cattle and horses.
“Very few people become synonymous with their community the way he has,” Aitchison wrote of Carson in the nomination letter. “There are hundreds of reasons that I believe he’s deserving of this honour, and everyone who knows him can add to that list.”
Carson thanks the Aitchisons for their kind words, joking that perhaps they glossed over some of the other facts about him.
“They picked out all the good things, there’s some of the bad things they didn’t say,” Carson said. “We’ve been through things together, and they’ve been great friends.”
The Citizen of the Year award is named in memory of Norm Stirling, a resident and forestry foreman with Ontario Hydro who put great effort into saving farmland during the proposal of the hydro line corridor. Stirling was injured in the Listowel arena collapse of 1959, and was awarded the President’s Medal by the National Safety Council in 1966 for saving a man’s life who was overcome by carbon monoxide. Carson said he knew Stirling as a child, and was half an hour from playing hockey in the arena before the collapse.
“I always knew Norm, he was always a very friendly guy,” he said. “It’s an honour to get this award.”
At the Nov. 3 evening, several North Perth firefighters were also honoured for their years of service. Chief Edward Smith presented Al Weyers with the Provincial Fire Services Long Service Medal for 25 years of service, followed by Donald Robertson and Kevin Scholl receiving service bars for 30 and 35 years, respectively. Donald Hymers, also recognized for 35 years of service, was absent that night.
Smith also regretted the retirement of several North Perth firefighters. Doug Kirkham, a 15-year member of the fire department after joining the Monkton station in 1997, had announced his retirement but was unable to attend. This year also saw the retirement of district chiefs Ross Robertson, Mike Grosz and Charles Smith.
Mayor Julie Behrns said the municipality relies on volunteers for numerous boards and committees, and for the time that people generously donate to make North Perth a great community.
“North Perth utilizes a number of volunteers all throughout the community,” Behrns said. “We simply could not do all of the work that we do, be as vibrant a community as we are, without their assistance.”