Earl Wilson was awarded the Provincial Seniors Achievement Award and the Dundas Manor celebrated with him on March 2. In this photo Dundas Manor staff present Earl with his award. Left to right are: Earl Wilson, Ella Jolly, Jennifer Hill, activity programs and services director, Susan Poirier, administrator and Hennie Joldersma. Morin Photo

WINCHESTER – Volunteers play a crucial and often overlooked role in all aspects of life in Ontario.

One special moment for the provinces’ volunteers is when recipients for the “The Ontario Senior Achievement Award” are selected.

This year, there were 16 volunteers given the award, and one of them is Winchester’s Earl Windsor; a volunteer who works at Dundas Manor as well at the Osgoode Care Centre and the area’s food bank.

On March 2, he was honoured at a special celebration at the Dundas Manor.

The Ontario Senior Achievement Award was created in 1986 to recognize outstanding seniors who, after the age of 65, have made significant contributions to their communities. Since 1987, the Ontario Senior Achievement Awards have recognized 676 outstanding seniors.

For the last five years, and for six days per week, he has walked over to the Dundas Manor from where he lives just across the street in his apartment building.

No matter the temperature or the weather outdoors, he always showed up with a smile, helping to clear tables in the dining room, making sure residents get a warm coffee, an extra piece of toast and an update on the local weather, sports, and news.

“Not only does he come here each day, he helps at his church, driving folks to appointments, the food program,” said Jennifer Hill the manor’s activity, programs and services’ director.

“Offering that level of kindness and support to others…are people born with that?” said Hill. “Does it come from fine examples throughout life? Does it come from life experiences? If that is the case think of all the people Earl has inspired and continues to do so.

Earl was humbled and surprised by the award.

“They told me they were putting my name in for an award but I forgot all about it.”

His story begins in Chesterville where he was born. At 85 and looking forward to his 86th birthday on April 2; he is not slowing down.

He retired from his career of 45 years working in the electrical industry.

I was born and raised in beautiful Winchester. Two miles west of Chesterville.

“I retired when I was 70 years old.”

His wife was from Maple Ridge, her maiden name was Darleen Helmer.

His volunteering picked up pace after his wife died six years ago.

At the time the couple lived in Metcalfe.

“I started volunteering when I was back in Metcalfe, I drove people to the hospital and did Meals on Wheels.

He moved back to the Winchester area a few years ago. He said he felt it was time to come back home.

“I needed something to keep my mind on and since I lived in the apartment building right across from the Dundas Manor, I just walked across the street and I am in the Manor. They had an ad in the newspaper that they were looking for volunteer’s.

Jennifer Hill was on it and they said I was the only one to apply. I won by default.

It’s very important to myself or anyone else who is a widower, you have too much time to think just sitting on your hands, so you have to do something.

And if you do something to help people that is one step better,” he said.

“Many are lonely. It makes their day. Some are from far away places and their family is far away and cannot visit regularly.”

He meets interesting people.

“We have one resident who is from Newfoundland originally and who taught at the Osgoode Township District High School.”