The room was packed and buzzing on June 21 as the Georgetown Lions Club, and various other organizations, saw fit to honour Glen MacDonald as Citizen of the Year (COTY).
“I’m a little overwhelmed by all this kindness,” a hoarse-voiced MacDonald said in his acceptance speech. “I wanted to get to know this town, I wanted to get involved in this town… be part of making some changes, even if in a small way."
In her nomination of MacDonald, former Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce general manager Kathleen Dills described the humble man as "a listener - perhaps the best I have met."
"He would hear of a need or situation he could help through connections or just by showing up,” she wrote. “This is where Glen goes stealth and, honestly, we will never know how many people he helped.”
MacDonald moved to Georgetown in 2005. He joined the Georgetown Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership team, where he first worked as a general manager. Today, he has the unique opportunity to serve as the dealership’s community ambassador, bringing local causes to the company’s attention.
The community businessman wears a philanthropist’s hat as well and has given his time to many local charities and fundraising events. When MacDonald learned that the youth centres in town were struggling financially and at risk of closing, he — along with others — helped form the Community Alliance Reaching Everyone (CARE) organization to raise funds and awareness for youth at risk.
CARE’s popular fundraising event, Movie Under the Stars, has brought in thousands for the youth centres over the past five years.
Other organizations that have benefitted from MacDonald’s efforts include the Salvation Army, Georgetown Breadbasket, local schools, Business Cares Christmas program, Classics Against Cancer and many more.
The father of two also served on the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors for 11 years, including a term as president and some time spent as co-chair of the organization’s golf tournament.
“Glen has been a four-time cancer survivor. He's an avid cyclist. Cancer Assistance Services (CAShh) wanted a new fundraising program. Glen stepped in to help organize Tours the Hills,” said Lions Club President Doug Penrice.
Tour the Hills is a cycling event that raises money for CAShh, which provides services to cancer patients like transportation, equipment and respite care.
“Whenever I talk to Glen, I’m impressed with his passion for life and everything he does. You can't help but like the guy, right?” Penrice added.
The accolades did not stop there. Mayor Rick Bonnette awarded MacDonald with a key to the town.
“There’s an old adage that good guys finish last. Well tonight, the good guy finished first,” Bonnette said.
MacDonald was also presented with a written congratulations on behalf of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, the Parliament of Canada, Halton Region, and the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce. The Independent and Free Press awarded him with a framed front page of their paper with his story on it, while CAShh's Julie Liddle gifted him a figurine of Batman.
This was the first COTY ceremony since the beginning of the pandemic. The event was repeatedly postponed in the uncertain early days of COVID arriving in Canada. Marilyn Serjeantson was named the 2019/2020 COTY and was also recognized at the June 21 event.