They're all over Barrie, really. People who reach down inside of themselves and do something that helps somebody else. People who have an idea for a product or service that will make life better for someone else. People whose ingenuity expresses itself with kindness. People who leave the world in better shape than they found it.

With that basic premise, four years ago Barb and Krista Richards, auctioneers and community activitists themselves, joined forces with Wendy Guillemette and Andrea Taylor of Flags Unlimited. Spurred on by Oprah's Legacies Ball, the team developed the Legends and Legacies Gala event and each year they've honoured a number of women in the community AND raised money for a charity.

On Saturday, April 10, the ballroom at Tanglecreek Golf Course will be aglitter with a women-only event which celebrates legends, their legacies, and food. The beneficiary of the evening will be the Elizabeth Fry Society. "E Fry," as it's commonly known, offers retraining, community re-entry, life re-building for women who've been sidelined by life. E Fry also offers the Grocery Assistance Program from its Maple AVE location, feeding literally thousands of people who run out of money before they run out of month.

Other evenings have raised money for Hospice Simcoe.

Each year the committee receives nominations and selects five or six women to honour in our community. A junior legend or two is also recognized during this evening. The evening always has a theme, and last year's food and dress honoured Africa. This year, it's a Chocolate Affair.

This year's legacies to be honoured include Catherine Frechette, community fundraiser; Andrea Michael, chaplain and youth supporter at St Joe's High School; Cheryl Simpson student mentor and Rotarian; Vicky Montague, the tireless activitist behind Site 41; and Lori Prince, Special Olympics coach and advocate.

These women will join a small army of earlier legends whose efforts have changed the very fabric of Barrie's life. In its first year recipients included Kathy Irvin, posthumous, (founder of Hospice); Christine Eisses (Emmanual's Wish Foundation); Diane McGee (WINGS & Heroes founder); Donna Danyluk (writer); Ellen McBride (Hospice, Seasons Centre, Dragon Boat Races and more); Joan Morris (Canadian Mental Health, Out of the Cold, E Fry and more); Pat Fram (Festival of Trees, Hospice, church); Patricia Gilbert (Gilda's Club); Paula King (E Fry and much more); Susan Laycock (Season Centre, United Way and more).

In 2008 winers included Ann Andrusyszyn (Dragon Boat Festival); Janice Laking (Barrie alderman and mayor for many years); Dr Sheila Nazerali (palliative care and medical ethics); Rose Romita (Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the less fortunate); Barbara Sinton (Sinton Transportation).

Last year's winners include junior legends Sydney Grace (fundraiser for juvenile diabetes); Ky-Lee Quilty (anti poverty work for Youth Haven, and wigs for cancer kids). Legends include Dr Laura Crook (founder of Best Start program for disadvantaged moms); Marg Bodenham (many charities); Sherry Lawson (speaker, author, HR activitist, aboriginal leader); Patricia Hipwell-Quansah (Hospital, RVH, Arthritis, Grandmothers & Grandothers); Amy Veen (burn victim who now speaks about inner beauty); Tara Dawn Winstone (community energy and voice and so much more).

This year's winners bring equal energy and grace to our community and the organizers for The Chocolate Affair include Kim Dobney, Barb Barrie, Christina Raven, Betty Matos, Ellen McBride and the original four.

In order to celebrate this year's legends, organizers are hoping for an enthusiastic turnout.

Tickets, at $100 each, can be ordered by
email: krista.richards@rogers.com
phone: 705 797-2002, 705 726-2120
online: www.legendsgala.com

What a great opportunity to win-win-win. Win with an evening out with friends; win by honouring our community legends; win by helping E Fry continue its crucial work.

Thanks, Legends team, for providing this opportunity for so many!

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