ST. LUNAIRE-GRIQUET, NL – Residents of the Town of St. Lunaire-Griquet came out to show their appreciation for a long-time community leader.
On Jan. 20, 76-year-old Gerald Hillier was honoured with an appreciation dinner hosted at the town’s fire hall.
Hillier served on the town’s council from 1975 to 2017, including multiple terms as mayor from 1977 to 1986, 1988 to 1990, 1992 to 1997, and 2009 to 2012.
During the 2017 municipal election, he narrowly missed out on regaining his seat as councillor and is now stepping aside from municipal politics for good.
St. Lunaire-Griquet town council decided to host the dinner for Hillier to show its appreciation for his service to the town.
“Gerald has given a lot to our community – he’s been on council for 30-odd years and before that he worked with the town,” Mayor Dale Colbourne told the Northern Pen. “He’s been an important part of our town council and I think this (appreciation dinner) is very necessary.”
During the dinner, guest speakers – including Colbourne, Deputy Mayor Wanda Hedderson, St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows MHA Christopher Mitchelmore, Reverend Gus Pendelton, as well as Edgar Burden and Ambrose Pilgrim – recalled Hillier’s many accomplishments during his years as mayor and councillor.
And some told stories about how Hillier went out of his way for the town.
Mitchelmore presented Hillier a certificate congratulating him on a lifetime of volunteering for his town and province.
And it got a little emotional when the town council presented two gifts – a gavel and another certificate of recognition for his volunteer service to the town.
Hillier tells the Northern Pen he’s always been interested in council.
“I have always had a keen interest in municipal politics,” he said.
In fact, he thinks he may have even attended the first-ever meeting of the community council in 1954 as a teenager.
Up until he became a councillor in 1975, Hillier frequently attended council meetings. He became the mayor in 1977.
His proudest accomplishments came in those first couple of years when the town completed its waterline, bringing running water to the taps of 62 homes in St. Lunaire and Griquet in 1978, and continuing the following year with further waterlines to Camel Island and Dark Tickle.
It was the first time there was ever running water in Griquet.
Hillier served on council for most of the next 40 years.
He has also served the town working as an ambulance driver for 32 years, school bus driver and contractor, and fire chief. He was on “every committee going on in town” including the recreation committee and rural development board.
“My nights were all taken up,” he said. “We had six youngsters – five boys and one girl – and my wife raised the family and I spent (my time) out working for the town,” he said.
While Hillier is stepping away from municipal politics, he remains involved with the NorPen Waste Management board.
As of Jan. 17, he serves as the board’s acting chair.
And he hopes to remain involved until he hits 80. Then he figures that’ll be time to step aside for good.