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If you or your child has ever set foot on an Aurora field in any form of organized sport, chances are Lenard Lind has helped pave the way – and his decades of giving back to the community he calls home have been recognized in the 2020 Portraits of Giving photography exhibition.
Portraits of Giving, an annual tradition spearheaded by Richmond Hill photographer Karen Merk, aims to shine a light on individuals from all nine York Region municipalities who have made a lasting mark in philanthropy.
2020 Honourees were announced earlier this year and have been touring various locations around York Region, including the York Regional Police headquarters on Don Hillock Drive in honour of recently-retired York Regional Police Chief Eric Jolliffe, who features in the Class of 2020.
Now, through October 9, the exhibition is on display at the historic Aurora Armoury at Mosley and Larmont, now home to Niagara College's Canadian Food & Wine Institute.
The installation was unveiled by Ms. Merk last Tuesday in the presence of Mr. Lind, Mayor Tom Mrakas and sponsor Benny Socia.
“This year's honourees, I think, really reflect people from across York Region who are true leaders and they make giving back to their community a priority,” said Ms. Merk. “We are really proud and honoured to celebrate each one of them as we tour across York Region. Today, we're celebrating Lenard Lind who has been giving back for many, many years in the Town of Aurora and we're just honoured to share his story this year.”
This is a story that goes back more than 30 years, as noted in the tribute that accompanies his portrait: “Lenard Lind is the Broker of Record and Owner of the Lind Realty Team., Centrum Lind Financial Services, Inc., and L.H. Lind Holdings Inc. His companies' philosophy is service with professionalism. He believes that our integrity is all we have, and he strives to demonstrate it daily. This is exemplified by his philanthropic efforts, as well. Lenard is a current member and a past director of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and actively participates in the Newmarket Chamber as well. Committed to and engaged in his community, Lenard dedicates both time and financial resources to numerous causes. His professional credentials are lengthy. His list of charitable works is even longer, from Southlake Regional Health Centre and Heart & Stroke Foundation, to local youth sports teams.”
Speaking to The Auroran just prior to the unveiling, Mr. Lind said he was a reluctant honouree but said he appreciated the recognition.
“I think everyone should give back to their community if they can,” he said. “I have the ability to do that, so I try to do that. I think a lot more people should get involved with giving back to the community, especially during these times. Lots of groups need support at this time.”
These groups include organized youth sports, which Mr. Lind says keeps minds active, healthy and focused. Helping youth grow up to be the best they can be is a priority, he said, and giving in this way has extended to scholarships and other educational initiatives.
“The things you have done for the community over the span of [decades], the tremendous work you have done in our community, this is a well-deserved honour to showcase what you have done and what you have contributed,” said Mayor Mrakas.
Following Portraits of Giving's time at the Aurora Armoury, the exhibition will travel to East Gwillimbury from October 12 – 30, the King Township Municipal Centre from November 1 – 13, followed by additional stops in Markham and Richmond Hill, before a Grand Finale Celebration at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel in Richmond Hill on December 17.
After the close of the 2020 Portraits of Giving Season, 2021 Honourees will be introduced in the spring and next year's exhibition will have a decidedly different – but timely – focus.
“I am working on next year already [which] highlights frontline workers and essential workers,” said Ms. Merk. “I feel that is the right thing to do given what we have been going through this year. I am actively looking for nominations if anyone knows of anyone who has stood out to them in the community. There is one for each Town and we'll have our special categories.”
For more information on the Portraits of Giving program, including a full roster of 2020 Honourees, visit merkphotography.com.
By Brock Weir
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Excerpt: Portraits of Giving exhibition on now at Armoury
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