2024 Order Of Orillia

By John Swartz

The Order of Orillia will be awarded to four dedicated volunteers at a special award presentation at the meeting of council on Monday, May 6.

The award acknowledges volunteers who have enhanced and inspired the community through a decade or more of hard work and dedication involving community service to improve Orillia and the surrounding area.

The commemorative awards selection panel selected Madeleine Fournier, James “Jim” Saunders, Fayne Bullen, and Richard “Rick” Purcell as recipients of the Order of Orillia for 2024.

Madeleine Fournier

Madeleine Fournier is known in the community as a passionate, hands-on volunteer who dedicates her time to various initiatives related to youth, the environment, and those experiencing homelessness.

Her enthusiasm is evidenced by her commitment to research, volunteerism, and community oriented projects. Madeleine has been a regular volunteer at the Emergency Weather Overnight Warming Centre in Orillia. She has assisted with intake, meals, programming, and providing a welcoming environment engaging in music and games with participants.

Local youth are also beneficiaries of Madeleine’s time and effort. Her volunteerism at the Orillia Youth Centre has had a meaningful impact on the youth there who have flourished with her engagement. Madeleine has taken the time to make meaningful connections so that young people can be successful and have a better understanding of community and connections.

Madeleine’s participation in Ladies Skate Night at the Orillia skatepark saw her sharing equipment and teaching young girls how to skateboard at a time when their normal routines and opportunities had vanished during the pandemic.

Madeleine spearheads the grassroots group Green Orillia, taking leading roles in campaigns for climate justice, democratic engagement, Indigenous rights, and local sustainable food systems. Madeleine is an advocate for a compact urban form. She has led many rallies, events, tabled initiatives, and organized public speaking presentations in the community.

James “Jim” Saunders

Jim, born and raised in Orillia spent most of his professional career away from home, returning to Orillia with his wife, Ann, in 1988 upon retirement.

Shortly after returning home, he began volunteering as the chair of the finance committee at St. Paul’s United Church before embarking on what would be a 17-year commitment serving on the board of directors as treasurer of Hillcrest Lodge.

Jim advocated for the residents of the Lodge, working to ensure seniors had safe, secure, and affordable housing options available. Jim is one of the three longest serving board members and a testament to the success of the facility.

After stepping back from Hillcrest Lodge in 2021, Jim refocused his time and energy at The Sharing Place Food Centre, where he currently serves on the board of directors as treasurer, helping to ensure food security assistance is available to those who need it.

Beyond these two significant contributions, Jim has freely given his time serving with the Champlain Seniors Service Club. He focused his time on a school breakfast program visiting elementary schools once a week to provide meals to students, in addition to serving as club treasurer. Jim is humble, kind, and generous, never seeking recognition as he works to serve his community. He is incredibly proud of his family, just as they are of him, inspiring them to become involved in the community

Fayne Bullen

Fayne is widely known for his incredible community engagement as an educator, leader, historian, philanthropist, politician, activist, and builder. He served on Orillia City Council from 1988 to 1997.

Fayne was one of the founding members, and has been a board member of, the Community Legal Clinic for Simcoe, Haliburton, and Kawartha Lakes since its inception 42 years ago in Simcoe County.

For over 20 years, Fayne has been a board member for the St. James Court Non-Profit Apartments and served as its president. He was one of the founding members and continues to serve on the board of the Orillia Community Non-Profit Housing Corporation since it was established in 1991.

Fayne has been a long-time member, and served as chair, of the Orillia Historical Society. He was a member of the committee that wrote the guidelines for the Orillia Museum of Art & History. In 1991, Fayne was the president of the Champlain Seniors Service Club and initiated a breakfast program in schools. Additionally, he volunteered for the events the club participated in.

For over 25 years, Fayne has been a great supporter of the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation.

He has also been a long-time member of the St. James’ Anglican Church and served as a church warden. Fayne, along with other church members, was instrumental in starting The Sharing Place Food Centre. Fayne’s selfless hard work and dedication has made these organizations successful and enabled them to improve the lives of countless individuals in the city of Orillia. He truly has been a champion for persons with low income in the City of Orillia and beyond.

Richard “Rick” Purcell:

He has served in a variety of positions on the executive of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 34 Orillia. Rick is currently serving his eighth year as President. Rick was the key person to guide the legion through the COVID-19 pandemic ensuring proper protocols were established and followed and appropriate activities were still offered.

Rick served as liaison for many years between the Legion and Orillia Minor Baseball and 99 Lynx Air Cadets. Rick is actively involved with 99 Lynx Air Cadets as chair of the sponsoring committee of the Orillia Air Cadets. This committee is responsible for all fundraising for the Cadets. He has assisted with the coordination of trips, camping weekends and parades. Rick has served as a volunteer with the Air Cadet movement for 50 years.

For over 20 years Rick has been involved in a variety of functions with the Orillia Scottish Festival. Rick was the driving force behind the Geneva Bingo Hall being formed to the benefit of numerous charities in the area. He was instrumental in moving the hall to its current location at the Orillia Legion to allow the continuation of fundraising efforts. Rick also volunteered with Mariposa Folk Festival for many years and Orillia Terriers Junior Hockey

The public is invited to a reception on Monday, May 6, at 1 p.m. at the Orillia City Centre, followed by the award ceremony, which is planned for the beginning of the council meeting at 2 p.m.

The Order of Orillia was established in 2000 to recognize recognizes individuals and groups who dedicate their time and effort to bettering the community.

See a list of previous Order of Orillia recipients online.

(Photos Supplied) Main: 2024 Order of Orillia recipients, James “Jim” Saunders, Richard “Rick” Purcell, Fayne Bullen and Madeleine Fournier


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