By John Swartz
Fred Larsen got out of the hospital just in time to become Orillia’s 2020 Citizen of the year. He was hospitalized in early November and only got out in January.
“I think I’ve very lucky to be here,” Larsen said. Surgery lead to complications with pneumonia and other infections.
“I’m not sure how the pneumonia developed, but it developed shortly after the surgery,” which put him on a ventilator. Larsen said it was not COVID. “I’m getting much stronger. I finally put the walker aside and just use a cane. I’m trying to walk the treadmill for 20 minutes a day.”
Doing some quick math while talking, it became evident Larsen only had 10 months of 2020 to rack up enough points to receive the award when everyone else had 12.
“Yeah, I guess that’s true,” Larsen said with a laugh. “You have to use the time well.”
His achievements last year include being past president of the Orillia Kiwanis Club, president of the Orillia Vocal Ensemble Board of Directors, chair and founder of the Orillia Centre for Arts and Culture as well as chair of their program committee, treasurer of Sustainable Orillia, and an active volunteer for the Simcoe North Provincial Liberal Association.
Larsen was also integral to setting up the first online Orillia Kiwanis Club Auction in response to the provinces indoor crowd size restrictions. He also assisted Sustainable Orillia with their first anniversary report, and electric vehicle promotions on Mississaga Street as part of the City’s See You on the Patio program.
“I’m thrilled. I work with so many other volunteers and so many good people who spend their time as well and it’s a pleasure to do so,” Larsen said. “I’m very humbled by the strong letters of recommendation that came from a number of organizations.”
Nominees for the 2020 Citizen of the Year Award included Fayne Bullen, Shawn and Annette Cuppage, Carolyn Marie-Goodwin, Kate Palmer, Rick Purcell, Craig Shelswell, Orillia Youth Centre Staff, Mariano Tulipano, and Amanda Wega. Tulipano and Purcell were finalists along with Larsen.
The selection panel consisted of former winners Steve Clarke (non-voting member), Leslie Fournier, Michael Gordon, Stan Mathewson and Gini Stringer, Nathan Taylor and Frank Matys.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia; Supplied)