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Most recent award came as a surprise to Margaret Stinson

Margaret and her husband Ivan have spent their lives together volunteering
20171204 Margaret and Ivan Stinson KA
Margaret and Ivan Stinson pose for a photo in their home in Guelph. Last week Margaret received the Ontario Senior Achievement Award at Queen's Park in Toronto. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday

Margaret Stinson, who has been recognized numerous times in recent years for her volunteering, says she was completely taken by surprise by the Ontario Senior Achievement Award she received last week.

Margaret, age 88 and her 90-year-old husband Ivan are both former teachers at Centre Wellington District High School and have spent their lives volunteering together.

“We have been married 65 years, so when we get up in the morning we are happy we know one another,” said Margaret.

Of the recent award, Margaret said she is ‘humbly proud’.

Margaret said she caught the volunteering bug from her parents.

“We lived in the country and my father would cut weeds along the roadside. There was always the neighbourhood threshing bees and my mother would go across to our neighbour — who was a widow — and she would scrub her floors and dust,” said Margaret.

Ivan said volunteering keeps them going.

“At 65, life is not over. I think it keeps you young to be involved,” he said.

As teachers, the pair also regularly volunteered their time helping children with extra-curricular activities.

The couple passed the importance of volunteering, which they said can be described as infectious, to their own children as well.

The couple is active in the horticultural community, community theatre and a number of other endeavours. A complete listing of awards and recognition for their volunteering are too numerous to mention.

Margaret said she and Ivan will do anything — little or big — to put a smile on someone’s face or to improve the world around them.

“The rewards you receive are greater than anything on paper,” she said.

Ivan added, “almost every day you can see some little thing that you can do on the spot that is going to help people.”

The pair couldn’t have accomplished all that they have, said Ivan, without the help of others.

“It’s not just what you do yourself, it’s usually a team. You need support for it, but you have to project some enthusiasm for it,” said Ivan.

In 2014, Ivan and Margaret were recipients of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award and both were invited to be honorary hosts of 2014 Communities in Bloom Symposium and Awards in Charlottetown, PEI.

In 2015, the pair were recognized with the Legacy Award from Landscape Ontario for their lifetime contribution to the horticultural community.

Margaret was honoured earlier this year as one of the local YMCA’s 2017 Women of Distinction. 

The Ontario Senior Achievement Award was presented to Margaret Nov. 29 at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

“I knew I was being nominated for the Governor General’s award because people wanted to add to what they were putting in the nominations, but the one for the Ontario Senior’s Achievement Award was a total surprise,” she said.