Since Fred Larsen’s arrival in Orillia in the early 1970’s, he has given back to his chosen community a hundred-fold. Earlier this month, City Council celebrated Fred’s long history of community service, when they voted to confirm him as Orillia’s 2020 Citizen of the Year. Here at Sustainable Orillia we are very proud and grateful to have Fred’s wisdom, guidance and helping heart around the board table – as he continues to provide leadership, time and commitment to make our community a more sustainable place for all.
This recognition is well deserved, as Fred has tirelessly served the Sunshine City in numerous volunteer capacities. In addition to his work with Sustainable Orillia, Fred is a past president of the Orillia Kiwanis Club, President of the Orillia Vocal Ensemble Board of Directors and founder of the Orillia Centre Arts and Culture, as well as chair of their Program Committee.
Fred has been a central contributor to Sustainable Orillia from Day One. He was an original member of the ‘Mayor’s Task Force on Sustainability’ and currently, he is Sustainable Orillia’s Treasurer and a central member of the communications team. Over the past year, despite the impact of COVID-19 on the organization’s ability to do things first-hand, Fred ensured that the communications pipeline remained full with relevant articles and publications. There’s no doubt that his background teaching high school English, played a role in assuring a high standard throughout our communications, while his relationships across the community have been instrumental in building strong partnerships with many diverse stakeholders.
As countless people in Orillia know, Fred is terrific to work with; his thoughtfulness, patience and support for others transcends whatever challenge is at hand. Never one to rest on his laurels, Fred doesn’t hesitate to roll up his sleeves and pitch in to make things happen. Whether it’s working with the Sustainable Orillia Clean Up Team, or helping to demonstrate electric vehicles… Fred and his wife Lois are always among the first to lend a hand.
Fred is the second member of Sustainable Orillia’s Board of Directors to receive this honour. Orillia’s 2019 Citizen of the Year was Stan Mathewson, Sustainable Orillia’s Chairman. Although the community contributions of both gentlemen extend beyond their participation with Sustainable Orillia – it is very encouraging that the City of Orillia has chosen to recognize two champions of sustainability for this high honour – particularly as the race against climate change intensifies.
Congratulations Fred. Everyone here at Sustainable Orillia is very grateful to share this journey with you and we are delighted that you back on the screen, lending your voice and wisdom to our plans once again.