What does it mean to leave a legacy?
The dictionary defines a legacy as anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor. In the legal sense, a legacy is defined as a gift of property, especially personal property, as money, by will or bequest.
When Ladysmith council presents the Community Legacy Award, it means making a difference and doing or creating something that’s going to last a long time and benefit the community for many years to come.
Ladysmith council started recognizing people who have been leaving a legacy in the community in 2011. The first Legacy Award was presented to Bill Fitzpatrick, a guiding force behind the Festival of Lights, that year. In 2012, council presented the Legacy Award to the late Tom Wickham and his wife Wilma. In the last days of his life, Tom Wickham contributed significant funds to purchase artifacts for the Ladysmith Archives, and the Wickhams have donated money for a scholarship.
This year, council chose to recognize two people with the Legacy Award — Doug Bell and Barrie McDonald from the Ladysmith Maritime Society (LMS).
While the Ladysmith Celebrations Society presents a Citizen of the Year award and the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce presents a Volunteer of the Year award, council decided in 2011 that it wanted to recognize people who give of themselves and create a legacy that goes on and on, explained Ladysmith Mayor Rob Hutchins.
Bell, a director with the LMS, and McDonald, the society’s president, were instrumental in obtaining the funding needed to make the new Visitor Reception Centre at the LMS Community Marina a reality.
“These two individuals weren’t the foundations of our community, but they came on board and shared a vision not only with our community but with the provincial representatives and also the federal representatives, saying ‘we can bring life to not-such-a-nice area of our waterfront, the industrial wasteland of our waterfront, by creating a floating visitor welcome centre,” said Hutchins. “What was so unusual about their work besides the thousands and thousands of hours they put into it is that they did capture the imagination of the provincial representatives and what was so unusual was their ability and vision to obtain grants from the federal government not once … but twice. It was through hard work and dedication. I know firsthand and from staff there that the representatives of the LMS in terms of Doug Bell and Barrie McDonald produced exemplary, exemplary grant material that helped compel staff to recommend that this organization, this community is worthy of such a grant.”
McDonald was humbled by the award.
“It must be difficult to isolate two people out of such a huge team that does something like this,” he told council when he received his award.
One person who stands out for McDonald is Brian Bancroft, who was the chairman of the Advisory Design Panel when LMS first put forward what he describes as a “hum-drum proposal” for the reception centre. Bancroft told them it needed a “wow factor” and provided recommendations for architects.
“It was a team of hundreds of volunteers from LMS putting in thousands and thousands of hours, town council supporting it all the time, [city manager Ruth Malli] and her staff very supportive, and it was a community team that made this happen,” said McDonald. “I really appreciate being singled out; I probably don’t deserve to be, but thank you very much.”
Bell also uses the word “team” when he talks about this award.
“It’s a tremendous honour,” he said. “There are simply so many people who have contributed to making the Visitor Reception Centre and the Marina a success, really, the award should go to many people than Barrie and I. It’s been a real team effort.”
Bell was surprised and humbled by the recognition, and he is happy to be sharing the award with McDonald.
“It’s awesome; we’ve worked together for many, many years,” he said. “Really, the award, it’s an incredible team effort that has worked so hard to make it the success it is.”
Bell is really appreciative of all the support they have received.
“The support from town council and town administration and the support from the Stz’uminus First Nation has been absolutely critical, and the support of our membership and our moorers and the tremendous support of the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association, Chamber of Commerce and business community. We couldn’t have accomplished it without such a broad cross-spectrum of individuals and groups.”