Named - and worthy of note

By Pepper Parr

December 23rd, 2021



We want to do something a little different this year.

We want to recognize those people who left an impression on us with the work they did in the community which we define as the Region of Halton.

Joan Ford, the city’s Director of Finance, knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar gets spent.

The GoTo person when you wanted something in the budget explained was Lori Jivan,

That Burlington city Council actually passed two budgets in the 2021 calendar year is not something many people realize. Joan Ford, an Executive Director with the city and Treasurer for the Corporation of Burlington, and Lori Jivan, who stick-handled a lot of the data and information requests during both budgets, served in a way that the public has a right to expect.  These two women went beyond.  We are fortunate to have them.

Julie Neal looking pretty pleased with the cans and bottles collected – funds went to the Food Bank and Compassion Society

The Neal family; new to the city, were overcome with how open, friendly and welcoming people were.  When there was an opportunity to give back to the community Julie Neal jumped in and pulled off what is probably the biggest bottle and can drive the city has ever seen.

Robin Bailey is a quiet individual.  He took on the job of running the Burlington Food Bank – it had experienced some administrative issues that Robin fixed. The city now had someone who could adapt the organization to the changes that were being seen in food scarcity for a lot of people.

Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Burlington Food Bank

What Robin did not foresee was the role the Food Bank would play in the midst of a pandemic.  It is an ongoing challenge Robin has succeeded in meeting and at the same time planning for the growth of the Food Bank’s services that are, regrettably, going to be necessary.

Lisa Lunski, listening carefully to what a Wellington Square volunteer is explaining.`

Lisa Lunski at Wellington Square United Church found she had to pivot in order to continue the incredible success she directed.  The Pandemic meant getting food to people instead of drawing people to the Church for a meal and some excellent community fellowship.  She attracted, nurtured and mentored a crew of volunteers that are the envy of many NGO’s in the city.

Dr Hamidah Meghani was delighted when she was appointed Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Halton.  It was, she said at the time of her appointment, the best job she could possibly imagine.  Not long after she had her business cards printed she found herself in a job that took mental dexterity, patience and the ability to cope with a provincial government that always seemed to be just a little behind the curve and municipalities who wanted solutions she could not always deliver.

Dr Hamidah Meghani had no idea the job she said was the best she would ever have would require her to serve in a critical capacity. The Region was lucky to have someone with the skills she had to get us through the pandemic – and it isn’t over yet.

Being a Medical Officer of Health for a Region with municipalities that had different needs and problems and at the same time creating policies and directions that would keep students in schools and safe at the same time proved to be very demanding and she prevailed.

Dr. Meghani went from running a reasonable sized operation to one that ballooned and required sums of money that she could not have even imagined when she took on the job. She is one of those unsung heroes.

Craig Gardner: If you want to get it done – give him a call. He is however still waiting for the federal government to decide to put Terry Fox on the next version of the $5 bill

Craig Gardner is a full time volunteer involved in the Festival of Lights, drives for the Food Bank, runs the annual Terry Fox Run for a Cancer cure.  Craig somehow managed to raise more money during the first year of the pandemic for the Terry Fox Run than in the history of the organization.

Burlington would be well advised to clone Craig Gardner.

There are others who have served the city well in 2021; these are the seven we wanted to name.


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1 comment to Named – and worthy of note in 2021

  • Allan H

    God bless them all…where would we be without their spirit of generosity. Yes, we as a community, need to salute folks like them.