Bob Porteous was awarded the North Dundas Community Builder Award on Sat., Oct. 16 at the Lions’ Pavilion in Winchester. He also received the Lions’ Club Helen Keller Award. Left to right are: North Dundas Coun. John Thompson, Mayor Tony Fraser, Bob and Jean Porteous.

WINCHESTER – Bob Porteous has lived in Winchester all his life.

His efforts to make Winchester a better place to live has been recognized with the awarding of this year’s 2021 Community Builder Award.

The award is given to someone in the community who through their actions and words have strived to help the North Dundas community be a better place to live for everyone.

He was also awarded the Helen Keller award, which is a Lions Club special award presented by Guy Belliveau.

The award ceremony took place on Sat., Oct. 16 under the roof of the Lions Club Pavilion at the Joel Steel Arena, which “I just went along for the ride,” said Porteous modestly describing his community involvement over the years.

He said his wife Jean had worked at the Winchester District Memorial Hospital for 47 years helping people in life and death situations, while all he had to do was get up in the morning, go to work, come home, and help his community where and when he could.

He thanked the Lions Club for teaching him so many things. He said the Lions taught him how to talk to people and put facts together so that you could make a convincing argument to someone.

Porteous said helping his community was easy to do especially with so much help from all the people around him who were working toward the same goal.

Mayor Tony Fraser acted as the MC for the event and began the ceremony with a little history lesson for those present.

In 2008, council wanted to initiate a program that would honour and recognize the people that play a positive role in building a strong, compassionate North Dundas.

After considering various ideas, council decided to create the North Dundas Community Builder Award. This award is to be presented annually to an individual who has contributed greatly to improving the quality of people’s lives in North Dundas.

Fraser said, “We, along with families, friends and neighbours enjoyed the previous ceremonies when council presented the Community Builder Award to Joey Whittaker, Ryan Williams, Joel Steele, Joe Cass, Terry Foley, Claude Cousineau, Stan and Betty Vanden Bosch, Andy Hamel, Bob and Sandra Weagant, Bill Smirle and Shirley Coons. 

This year I am so honoured to celebrate with an individual I have known and known of for 30 years – Bob Porteous.

Dwayne Holmes, who nominated Porteous for the award outlined some of the many accomplishments of his friend.

He began by honouring Bob’s wife Jean Porteous.

He said, “Little did we know Jean, while we sat near each other with 50 other Grade 11 students in that great big upstairs room at the old Winchester High, that in later years you would meet this young man. You have been an integral part of the team. Porteous and I have provided love, support, and companionship. When I mention team, I go back to my early days on the farm and used horses. A good team usually had one horse who was first in stepping into the pull, and the second steadied the draw. You have been there with that constant help in all he has done. Thank you for sharing him with me and the rest of the community.

Using a poem to describe the life and times of Porteous Holmes explained how Porteous grew up on a farm on Harmony Road 80 years ago. He attended Winchester High School, married Jean, raised a family while living in Winchester and worked at Agriculture Canada.

Porteous, coached young people in the towns’ baseball team and eventually served as an assistant coach for the Winchester Hawks.

In 1968 he helped the Winchester Lions get off the ground and has been a member ever since then. As a Lions Club member for 53 years, he has worked on getting the Lions Club Pavilion set up, the arena and ball diamond and swimming pool built.

Porteous helped to raise almost half a million dollars for the Winchester District Memorial Hospital, obtained a Trillium Grant for the library and Lions’ Seniors’ Hall. As a Lion he served as president and joined numerous committees. He worked for several years as the secretary for the club. 

His achievements as a Lions’ member of the year also earned him a Helen Keller Award which was presented to him alongside the Community Builder Award.

Holmes said, “Bob, along with the rest of the people here I wish you and Jean well. I hope our community has young people who will, like you, continue to make this such a great place to live. Thank you again for all you have done.” Porteous said all he did was bits and pieces of the work that so benefitted his community.Thank