Two “sparkplugs of the County” were honoured and celebrated at a special tribute ceremony at Wellington’s Highline Hall Wednesday afternoon.
Lanny and Catharine Huff were recognized for all of their generous contributions to the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation, the County Foundation and many other organizations around Prince Edward County and the Quinte area.
The event, entitled “The Huff Family: Building a Strong Future for Prince Edward County” was a way for these two foundations to give back to the people that have made their presence widely felt with their generosity.
Some of the organizations the Huffs have supported include: the Wellington Dukes hockey club, various other sports teams, the Quinte Humane Society, the local arts and music scene, the PEC Syrian Refugee Fund and many others.
Catharine Huff says it means so much to her and Lanny to be honoured in this fashion.
The ceremony featured a speech from guest speaker Andrew Chunilall, Chief Executive Officer of Community Foundations of Canada, County Foundation President Brian Beiles and Monica Alyea, member of the PECMHF board.
Alyea presented the Huffs with a pair of sparkplugs as a token of appreciation and a way to say they are an energetic presence that keeps the community working.
Emcee of the event, Hilary Fennell, worked for the Huffs at Huff Estates Winery as a university student and says they’ve had a large impact on her family over the years.
An emotional Fennell described how the Huffs were able to make her father’s dream of owning his own theatre company come true, the support they gave her sister, Miss Emily when she started her career as a musician and when they bought her a new silk blouse to wear when she represented Huff Estates at a wine and cheese festival in Toronto as a university student with very little money.
“…For them, it was a very small gesture and for me, it’s an indication of the kind of people that they are. Because, such a small gesture to them is a memory I share with you now, almost 15 years later. And I am very grateful,” Fennell said.
Executive Director of the PEC Memorial Hospital Foundation Penny Rolinski says the level of generosity and selflessness exhibited by the Huffs is unmatched in the Quinte region.
It was revealed at the ceremony that the Huffs were one of four major sponsors to make a donation to the planned new hospital build in Prince Edward County, a group that also includes the PEC Hospital Foundation, the Hospital Auxiliary and the Municipality of Prince Edward County.
Catharine says she believes the future is bright for the County.
The ceremony also included the establishment of the Huff Family Fund, $50,000 of grants per person over the next 15 years and the introduction of the PEC Hospital Foundation’s theme and logo for their new hospital build.
The theme is “Back the Build”, with hospital construction set to begin in early 2022 based on projected timelines.