The heart and hands of the community

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Kate Aley

MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC ­– Mona (right)  and Laurie (left) McKechnie have been     volunteering in their community for decades. “My family owned a grocery store here and it was easy to see that sometimes people needed a hand,” says Mona.


Kate Aley

MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC ­– Mona (right)  and Laurie (left) McKechnie have been     volunteering in their community for decades. “My family owned a grocery store here and it was easy to see that sometimes people needed a hand,” says Mona.
Laurie helped create the Quyon Lions Club in 1967 and has been a member ever since. Mona was a Charter member of the Quyon Lionettes when it was formed 30 years ago and attends every meeting. They’ve also participated in organisations such as Quyon Ensemble, the United Church, Quyon Community Days, the Quyon Waterfront Revitalisation Committee and the Board of the Pontiac Reception Centre.
In 1998, Mona began her own beautification organization. Wanting Quyon to look its best, she began planting flower gardens around town. Today, the Quyon Community Days group helps fund the upkeep of the many flower planters and pots around Quyon, with a summer    student hired to maintain them; they also have         seasonal banners and Christmas lights.
“There is a sense of pride in knowing you can so easily make a difference,” says Mona. “The little touches you see when you enter a village, such as flowers or flags, show that you are in a place where people care.”
The McKechnie’s claim things have changed in Quyon in regards to neighbourly actions and social events. “At one time you would meet everyone at the store, at church, or in the streets. Television spoiled all that! The Women’s Institute was a huge gathering place for farm wives, and it’s almost completely faded now. As a result, it can be harder to get volunteers nowadays,” says Laurie.
“The next generation will naturally take to volunteering when they see it in action around them,”       concludes Laurie.  “Many young people like to help and want to feel involved in the community. All you need to do is spend ten minutes showing them how.”
“A little effort goes a long way – and it’s contagious,” affirms Mona. “You help your neighbour, they help their neighbours, and soon everyone is helping someone – and then you have community.”