Two of 19 provincial awards go to deserving Barrie men

When Rayner McCullough and Dr Al Scarth were called to the Lieutenant Governor’s quarters at Queen’s Park, it marked a lifetime of achievement.

Both were nominated for Senior Achievement Awards by the Province of Ontario. The lapel pins are one of the province’s highest awards, given in the morning last week for charitable effort in a specific area by a senior.

Dr Scarth remained for the evening presentation, the Ontario Medal of Good Citizenship, which is an actual medal of honour.

While Rayner’s nomination (by former MP and MPP Aileen Carroll) centred on his tireless work for Royal Victoria Hospital and the Regional Cancer Centre, he, like Al Scarth, has a mile-long list of worthy causes he has championed and won.

In fact, Rayner sums up his philosophy on doing good in our community: “Volunteerism is the rent we pay for the space we use while we’re here.”

For the last quarter century Rayner McCullough has been focussed on Royal Victoria Hospital, raising funds to build the new hospital, planning the expansion and move. The just kept on raising money to include the Regional Cancer Centre, heading up Lead Gifts committee. But, don’t stop there. Rayner has a high service profile in the insurance industry in which he has worked for more than 50 years. A stellar Rotarian, he’s a Paul Harris Fellow. He’s also been chair of the United Way, president of Sheba Shrine Club, chair of Royal Victoria Hospital Foundation, chair of the RVH Board of Governors. He’s served diligently on the Community Care Access Centre and received a commemorative medal from the Governor General to mark Canada’s 125th birthday.

The coffee table book, entitled Beautiful Barrie: The City and its People is a project Rayner is particularly proud of. In fact, as he met the Lieutenant Governor last week, David Onley, who hails from Midland, he gave him an inscribed copy of the book, ‘from one Simcoe County boy to another.’ Rayner is 82 with no signs of stopping.

Dr. Al Scarth’s contributions to Barrie are equally prestigious and just as broad in their base. In fact, Rayner and Al share many projects and attitudes towards community betterment. They both expressed delight at being awarded together.

CCAC CEO Bill Innes nominated Al for both awards. The committee assessing the awards was particularly impressed with Al’s commitment to children and health, though his CCAC commitment mirrors Rayner’s in so many ways.

Al served on the steering committee that established the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) in the late 90’s. He served on that board for over 10 years, recently as chair. It was while he chaired a task force on the district health council in 2002 that he proposed a Children’s Health Network, which came into being in 2004.

The Children’s Treatment Network today offers full service to children with multiple medical needs, allowing parents to deal with one source of service throughout their child’s life. In Barrie, the treatment network is a virtual treatment centre directing children to specialists in they need most. It provides a single point of access and a single plan of care. Dr Scarth’s medical background (first as a family practitioner and later as radiologist) is written all over this sophisticated team. It saves parents having to repeat their stories again and again and forms support teams around children and families.

Al (now 85) retired in 1998 but works as hard today as he always did. He and Rayner both put their considerable influence to work in construction of what’s commonly known at the RVH Detox Centre on Wellington St. Al also served on Barrie Planning Board and Committee of Adjustment for 15 years and has given substantial support to his church, Burton Avenue United.

He expressed true humility about both awards, sharing the honours with his wife, Joanna, and children Janet, David and Jim.

Al is philosophical about his volunteer work: “you don’t volunteer to change the world. You do what you can when you can where you are. And sometimes good things happen.”

And sometimes good things happen. How right. Thanks, Al. Thanks, Rayner.