A community of giving

While this editorial space is often used in The Highlander’s role of being a watchdog, today is a bit different. Rather than holding our municipalities’, school boards, or health systems’ feet to the fire, three stories in today’s Highlander demonstrate the generosity that is so synonymous with this County. It’s a good news story kind of edition.

We met with the Crete family on Tuesday. They’re the owners of The Pines on Boshkung Cottage Resort. Their home was rendered unlivable by a fire last Thursday afternoon. The family has since been overwhelmed by the kindness of our community. Terri Mathews-Carl of Rhubarb and Boshkung Brewing Co. immediately swung into action. A former owner of The Pines, she launched a GoFundMe campaign for the family. Leann Crete said family, friends, acquaintances and complete strangers have helped, or offered assistance, in light of their tragedy.

Speaking of Mathews-Carl, her restaurant and craft brewery also hosted its fifth annual Heat Bank Night at Rhubarb this past Sunday night. As always, they turn over all proceeds from the evening to the Central Food Network, which oversees the Heat Bank. People paid their $50. Numerous individuals, business and organizations donated auction items. All up, they made more than $19,000 this year. To date, they’ve pulled in $82,000. That translates into an awful lot of faces and bush cords of wood, propane, oil and electrical costs.

Carol Greenwood and David O’Brien of the network said the early winter is already putting a strain on some families. They’ve already had some emergency situations and it’s only mid-November. There’s 400 clients on the books and that number is going to rise. And, bear in mind, there are two heat banks in Haliburton County, which demonstrates the need.

Walking through a crowded Rhubarb restaurant Nov. 11, I saw a lot of the same people that I see at many County fundraising nights. They dig into their pockets, on a regular basis, to support their family, friends and neighbours. It’s humbling.


Our third story is about well-known local couple Geoff Pheaton and Cheryl McCombe. Geoff was one of the first patients to use a new electrocardiogram machine at the Haliburton hospital when he had a recent heart scare. What some don’t know is that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care gives hospitals money for capital, but not equipment. Every year, that is where the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation and the Haliburton and Minden Hospital auxiliaries step in. The Foundation was integral in bringing the machine to the hospital. Pheaton and McCombe think between the machine, and the well-trained staff, it might have well saved Geoff’s life.

Another story didn’t make it into this edition. However, in next week’s Highlander we’ll talk about the success of the Dorset Health Hub. That’s in large part due to the community there that supplements MOHLT funding to the tune of more than $100,000 every year.

Here in Haliburton County, we tend to think we’re pretty unique. In many ways, we aren’t really. But when it comes to community helping community, without a doubt this area far surpasses what I have seen in any of the places I have called home. Whether it’s volunteering, or dipping into those purses and wallets, the community rises to the challenge time and time again. And we’re all so much better off because of it.

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