Senior of the Year Ann McHale (C) with grandaughter Hollie (L) & son Stan (R)
Senior of the Year Ann McHale (C) with grandaughter Hollie (L) & son Stan (R)
photo by Pat O'Gorman

Each year in the Township of Johnson a dedicated Senior community member is recognized for their efforts within the community. This award, to a recipient nominated by the Recreation Committee and approved by Council, is a great honour and based on volunteerism and community involvement.

Senior of the Year awards are usually given out annually at the Trefry Centre BBQ in June and the Johnson Township recipient is then designated Honourary Parade Marshall at Community Night in Desbarats. While this year’s celebrations cannot occur due to the pandemic, the Township and the Recreation Committee wanted to ensure the recognition of Ann McHale.

For those who have had the pleasure of sharing time with Ann, her love for community and social conviviality is readily apparent. She comes from a family of hard-working individuals who, each in their own way, have found a way to make an impact on the lives of others.

Ann, along with her parents and siblings, moved to the area in the summer of 1952. One of the many activities she enjoyed was playing baseball for the Desbarats Dynamo softball team where she also took her turn attending to field maintenance. Ann worked as a teacher in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma and married Reg McHale in 1965. Together they had 3 children; Stan, Carol and Colleen, all well-known community volunteers in their own right.

Her involvement and volunteerism in the community date back many years and often revolved around the interests of her family. While her children were young she gave her time to local 4-H clubs, the Shamrock Figure Skating Club, the Johnson Township Fire Department (for which her husband Reg was chief for many years) and others. Her love for community naturally passed to her children and grandchildren and she involves her family whenever possible. There were countless turkey dinners, Community Nights, Fishing Derbies, Women’s Institute events, Breakfast Buffets, children’s Christmas parties, 50+ Club meetings and events, and United Church Women quilting gatherings, as well as Saturday mornings at the Farmers’ Market where Ann could be found “with bells on”. She never fails to find a way to help out in one way or another and it is nearly impossible to get her to sit down.

The Township of Johnson and area residents join her family in being very grateful to her for sharing her passion for community and volunteering. There is something very special about our small communities in the North, and we have people like Ann McHale and all community volunteers to thank for that. Congratulations to Ann McHale, Senior of the Year for the Township of Johnson! We can’t wait to see you on a parade float next year!!

Submitted by Pat O’Gorman-Recreation, Township of Johnson