Since the day she moved to the Halton Hills area in 1956 to work as a practice teacher, Glenda Benton has been a people person, volunteering her time with a genuine concern for the well-being of those around her. It's only fitting that 50 years later she'd be chosen as the Georgetown Citizen of the Year for 2006. "I didn't believe (Georgetown Lion) Noel Duignan when he called to tell me I was chosen," said Benton, "It was late at night and I was totally at a loss for words-- actually I thought he was joking." Nominated by the Georgetown Agricultural Society for her numerous volunteering efforts over the years, Benton was cited for her longtime association with Limehouse Presbyterian Church, as choir leader for 44 years and then taking on the additional duties as organist for the past 22 years, as well as her work with the Women's Association in the church since she married her husband Bert in 1959. Benton has also been a member of Georgetown Agricultural Society for more than 40 years, holding various executive positions, including president of the Home Craft Division, and also sitting on various fundraising and appreciation committees as well as remaining an active director today. Benton is a charter member of the Halton Hills Quilters Guild, and has had a longtime association with Limehouse Women's Institute (W.I.). With her 40 years of W.I. involvement, Benton has never turned away from taking on another responsibility, sitting on every executive position in the Halton District W.I., as well as serving as secretary of the Guelph Area W.I., and presently sits as District Director for Limehouse W.I. on the Wellington Halton District W.I.
In addition to all those activities, Benton has also maintained a close eye on the running and upkeep of the Limehouse Memorial Hall, sitting on the board since its inception in 1997 when the community accepted responsibility for the hall (from Limehouse W.I.). She has been a driving force for many years, helping organize the bi-weekly euchres at the hall to help cover the operating costs. Benton taught for 22 years in the Halton Hills area, beginning at the SS#9 Gilbralter one-room school at Limehouse for two years, beginning in 1956, then after attending Toronto Teachers' College, she returned to teach for nine years at M.Z. Bennett School in Acton, followed by eight years at the new Limehouse School, before health problems caused her to leave the profession in 1991. She has also been active in community groups like GUARD (Group United Against Rural Dumping), POWER (Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources) and worked on campaigns to prevent the Acton quarry from having garbage dumped in it. The one thing that has always been a huge part of her life has been her love of music. Whether it's at a seniors' residence, a community gathering or at her church, Benton is the most comfortable at the piano or organ, bringing a smile to those she is entertaining-- the main reason that motivates her to be so active as a volunteer. "I guess I enjoy doing all those things because I get so much gratification seeing people respond to the music," said Benton, "Whether it's at a seniors' residence or a church function, I get so much satisfaction seeing an event come together and making people happy. I don't do it alone-- I have lots of help and I feel that those people who help me are as deserving of this honour as me. I don't feel like I do that much that is really significant. "I had wonderful mentors in my parents," said Benton, "My mother was very musical, and she instilled that love of music in me. I was out playing in the community when I was 12, following in her footsteps, when I lived in Meaford as a girl." "I can't think of any better honour than to be recognized by my peers," added Benton, Benton has one more person who she says has been her best supporter through it all-- her husband Bert. "If it weren't for Bert and his support, I'd have never done any of those things," said Benton. Benton will be formally recognized at the annual Citizen of the Year Awards Banquet April 25, at the Georgetown Lions Hall. Tickets are available at The Carpet Barn, or by calling 905-873-1398. Cost of tickets is $30.