At the 9th annual YWCA Women of Distinction Gala held on October 9th Phyllis Parker was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award.
Over 250 guests at the Delta Grandview ‘s Mark O’Meara Clubhouse gave Mrs. Parker a standing ovation at the gala event. To quote from her nomination: “ Phyllis Parker is an ideal candidate for a Lifetime Achievement Award. Her contributions to various communities span over half a century. It would be impossible to list every organization she has belonged to, every committee she has served on, or every time she has reached out to help.”
Mrs. Parker was the first woman to be elected as president of the MLA in 1977. She initiated our efforts to work with governments and the community on environmental issues. She was involved with the Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club and was one of the founders of the Muskoka Heritage Foundation, doing the groundwork to develop the Foundation’s objective and structure. She is also a patron of the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Foundation. Her fundraising efforts for the Port Carling Museum, the Muskoka Lakes Library renewal, The Muskoka Heritage Foundation and the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Foundation are well known.
At the age of 85, she spearheaded a movement to fight the provincial government’s plan to close down the Emergency department at the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital, a success for which we are all grateful.
Her nominator notes that in her vision, Mrs. Parker, through the Muskoka Lakes Association, urged actions to make the area a haven for healthy relaxation, enjoyment and appreciation of life, particularity family life.
In her own words Mrs. Parker stated: “Throughout my life I have recognized how blessed and lucky I am. The appropriate response to such good fortune is to respond by contributing to other individuals and to my community. As a child, I was brought up to believe that contributing to the wellbeing of others is a privilege and a pleasure.
The instructions to the nominee indicate that I should describe how my experiences meet the description of the award category. The Lifetime Achievement Award is intended for someone who has responded to individual and societal needs with dedication, compassion and courage. I anticipate that everyone who has a passion for making a difference in individual life or in a community would hope that they do show courage, compassion and dedication, but I am not comfortable in asserting that I have achieved success in those areas. I can only say that they are qualities that I would always strive to achieve. I leave it to others to determine if I have achieved those goals. Because I am 92 years old I have had twice as long as some others to achieve my goals.
A quote from George Bernard Shaw resonates with me- “some people see things as they are and wonder why. We dream of things that ought to be and ask why not.” I have tried to be one who dreams of things that ought to be, and then to work to make it that way”.
The Muskoka Lakes Association joins the YWCA in congratulating Mrs. Parker on a significant and meaningful body of achievement in improving the quality of life in Muskoka for all and congratulates the YWCA on it’s recognition of her efforts.