Queens County vol­un­teers hon­oured

The Queens County Advance - - COMMUNITY - By Aethne Hinch­liffe

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.

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