PERTH - When the Queen calls, you come.
Not that an invitation from the mayor isn’t important, but no one was more surprised than Hugh Colton and Brad Kyle when they found out that the award they thought they were getting from Mayor John Fenik was actually Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“As mayor, every now and again you get to present a very special award,” said Fenik during the presentation before Perth town council on Tuesday, Jan. 22, before a packed council chamber.
Fenik and council were presenting the accolade to the two men for their work on the Build-a-Mountain of Food annual food drive in the run-up to Christmas.
“Hugh is the face of our local food drive and in 10 other communities,” said Fenik, as he held the medals from Her Majesty. “But without Mr. Kyle’s generosity, the local food drive would not happen,” he added of Colton’s boss at Town and Country Chrysler.
While the ceremony was heartfelt, Fenik made sure there was a bit of levity.
“It’s like Lennon and McCartney,” said Fenik. “They make beautiful music together.”
While he acknowledged that he is the public face of the campaign, Colton was sure to stress that “it couldn’t happen without the many volunteers. I thank the volunteers.”
While there are many worthy causes out there, when it comes to providing the needy with food, “no better or more worthwhile cause than this,” said Kyle.
Kyle noted that Colton was first hired on at his car dealership six years ago, it was only for a one-year contract at first, “and now I can’t afford to get rid of him!”
“Thank you Hugh, I don’t know how you do it, but keep doing it,” said Kyle, who provides the vehicles, fuel, staff and other incidentals necessary for the food drives to span out over Lanark and Leeds and Grenville counties.
“It is important what we do,” said Colton. “Their numbers (for the area food banks) grow each and every year. You ask any manager,” of a food bank.
“We are not only helping a child who has not eaten in four days, but a couple going from a double income to one minimum wage income,” said Colton. “It’s not about me. (But the medal) means a tremendous amount to us.”
At the end of the ceremony, the two men were presented with information about when they can and cannot wear their medals.
“You can’t wear them at the Perth pool if you are swimming,” said Fenik with a laugh.