Mary Knowles Award
2012 Mary Knowles Award Winner
Gerry Harvieux, Editor, Tilbury Times
Work for a cause - not for applause. Live life to express - not to impress. Don't strive to make your presence noticed - just make your absence felt. These are the words written on a sign that hangs above Gerry Harvieux's desk. Not only are they the words he lives by; they are also perfect words to represent who Gerry is as a person.
Gerry is currently the editor of the Tilbury Times, a position he has held on and off for a combined total of 14 years. His career with the newspaper industry, however, began in 1985 when he was hired for his first reporter position at the Wallaceburg Courier Press. Later he was hired with the Tilbury Times and has served as editor three times, under four different owners. His name has become synonymous with the newspaper in the community.
It's evident that Gerry is as passionate for the newspaper as he is for his community, a place he has called home for more than 40 years.
Gerry has been an active volunteer in his community for roughly 30 years. He has chaired various projects, lends a hand to others when necessary and is always willing to do whatever he can to make Tilbury the best it can be.
One of Gerry's most notable involvements includes the Tilbury Family Funfest. In 2009, when he first hopped on board, the long-standing event was dying. Over the years, Gerry has helped the event's sponsorship grow from $5,000 to an amazing $40,000. An event that once drew 1,000 guests, now welcomes more than 5,000 over the course of three days.
In 2011, while covering a Tilbury Chamber of Commerce meeting, Gerry was upset when he learned the group had no financial support to continue the annual Santa Claus Parade. It was then that Gerry stepped forward and offered his time to organize the parade, promising he would find the funds to continue. Since then this event has grown and with the help of his constant promotion in the newspaper, groups who had not been involved for more than a decade, have begun to participate again.
Despite all other commitments, Gerry is an active member of the Tilbury Rotary Club and works to promote their image and projects in the community. He helps provide poster and billboard designs and marketing advice to the Tilbury Drug Awareness Team. In the past he has served as a member of the Tilbury Optimist Club, the Tilbury Minor Hockey Association's Executive Board and has volunteered with the Tilbury Youth Centre.
Gerry has served as a volunteer judge for the OCNA Better Newspaper Competition and the OCNA Junior Citizen of the Year Awards.
Gerry is always willing to help those in need. He is not one to turn the spotlight on himself. Instead, he prefers to downplay his efforts and focus the attention on those who helped him accomplish the various projects.
The Mary Knowles Award is coordinated by the Ontario Community Newspapers Foundation. It wishes to recognize those in the community newspaper business who contribute their own time to the betterment of their communities. The award also recognizes the intimate connection community newspapers have with their communities.
Congratulations to Gerry and all of this year's nominees for showing such leadership and dedication to your communities.