Queens County volunteers honoured
Martin Hilliard sits in his kitchen at the Morton House in Milton, and in the background his parrot can be heard saying, “Hello. Hello.”
About a month ago, Hilliard found out he was chosen as one of two 2012 representative volunteers for the Region of Queens.
Hillard is president of the Queens Branch of the Nova Scotia SPCA. That’s just one of the things he does in his community, and he describes his responsibilities as president as diverse. It takes up a lot of time, he says.
There are about 15 paid members in the Queens Branch, and each member has her or his responsibilities, says Hilliard.
“I oversee all those responsibilities,” he says.
He says he also takes on duties such as picking up animals, taking them to the vet and finding foster homes for them.
President for almost two years, Hilliard fell into the role when the former president asked if Hilliard would be interested in filling the position. Hilliard attended a meeting and was later elected.
Originally from Toronto, Hilliard and his partner Myles Dwyer moved to Milton to buy the Morton House Inn about six and a half years ago.
“Living in a huge city, you don’t have a lot of time to volunteer,” he says.
“Volunteerism is on a much lower level (in Ontario) than it is in Nova Scotia.”
According to a Labour and Advanced Education press release, a recent Statistics Canada survey found volunteers from Nova Scotia devoted 207 hours on average to volunteer work in 2010. This is the highest average in Canada.
In addition to his work with the SPCA, Hilliard is the chairman of the Liverpool Ukulele Ceilidh’s organizing committee. He says the committee has only five people on it, and the event is big.
Hilliard says he got involved as chairman because he’s had a lot of experience with being the head of committees, and he was in management for years.
Interest and being an animal lover are two more reasons why Hilliard volunteers for the Liverpool Ukulele Ceilidh and SPCA. Hilliard says he volunteered when he was in his teens, but that was it. He adds he’s always wanted to volunteer but just hasn’t had the time.
“Wonderful. It’s a great honour. I’m not really sure I deserve it,” says Hilliard regarding being nominated and chosen. “As we all know, Nova Scotia runs on volunteers.”
There are a number of people in Queens County and Nova Scotia who deserve this award, says Hilliard. He says he’ll certainly nominate someone next year.
“I don’t volunteer to be rewarded for it,” says Hilliard. “I volunteer because I really want to, in the case of the SPCA help animals, and in the case of the Ceilidh because I like organizing events.”
Hilliard says he thinks volunteering is important because there’s such a great need for it. He’s says he’d like to be able to do more, but running the bed and breakfast also takes up much of his and Dwyer’s time.
When not running the inn or volunteering, Hilliard spends a lot of time doing genealogy, which he says he’s really into.
“I spend as much time each day working on genealogy as I can,” he says.
At the moment, he’s researching Dwyer’s family. When Hilliard moved to Nova Scotia, he researched the genealogy of the Morton family.
He also loves gardening but says he doesn’t have enough time for it.
Hilliard and Dwyer love Milton, and Dwyer says everyone in the community is welcoming, so the two plan to stay put.
Martin Hilliard sits on the front porch of the Morton House in Milton. The Region of Queens recently named Hilliard a 2012 representative volunteer.