Grey Highlands resident Lynn Silverton was awarded the 2022 Peace Medallion by the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce.
Silverton was presented with the medallion at a recent ceremony in Owen Sound. Silverton is a former member of Grey Highlands council and a long-time volunteer on a number of local boards, committees and civic institutions, including the Grey Highlands Peace Committee, which nominated Silverton for the award.
Silverton said she was surprised when she received the honour.
“It was gobsmacked. I was like: are you kidding?” she said, and thanked members of the peace committee for their help and support. “You’re only as good a leader as the team you’ve got with you. At our next meeting, I’m going to thank them individually. I feel (the award) is theirs as much as it’s mine.”
Peace Medal recipients should demonstrate the values of participation, empathy, advocacy, community, and empowerment (PEACE).
The YMCA describes the values as:
- Participation: getting involved and encouraging others to get involved in community-building activities.
- Empathy: listening and understanding diverse perspectives to create a sense of belonging for all.
- Advocacy: making the case for positive change in the community.
- Community: building and strengthening community connections and capacity.
- Empowerment: inspiring others to foster peace and helping them gain the skills and tools to succeed.
YMCAs across the country give out the medals each year. Over the years, the local YMCA has awarded the medal to 24 individuals and 14 groups.
“Silverton is an inclusive community leader who identifies and shares community-building tasks, challenges and opportunities rather than hoarding them. Her 'You can help' message is inspiring because it reinforces the idea that we all own the pursuit of solutions to community problems,” the YMCA said in a news release.
Silverton is no stranger to community service and volunteerism.
She chairs the Grey Highlands Peace Committee, which she founded several years ago, the Grey Highlands Police Services Board, the Grey Highlands Seniors’ Advisory Committee and Grey County Cares. She is vice-chair of the Grey Highlands Public Library Board and is president of the Flesherton-Markdale Legion and the Markdale Rotary Club.
“On behalf of the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce we congratulate this year’s Peace Medal recipient, Lynn Silverton. Her advocacy and commitment is truly inspirational,” said Sarah Cowley, CEO of the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce.
Silverton’s dedication to community causes had her involved in a number of local projects including:
- As the chair of Grey County Cares, an organization raising funds and supplies to help Ukrainian newcomers, Silverton drew on her own experience as an immigrant to help ten Ukrainian families escape war and settle in Grey County.
- In October 2022, Silverton took the lead in bringing together the Peace Committee, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Priceville), the Grey Highlands Public Library, the Old Durham Road Black Pioneer Cemetery Committee, JunCtian Community Initiatives and the Sheffield Park Black History and Cultural Museum to hold a community event in Priceville honouring an early Canadian Presbyterian abolitionist leader, Michael Willis.
Silverton said she plans to continue volunteering and serving the community and said she enjoys the work. She has offered to help any local municipality interested in forming its own Peace committee.
“I really like it. I was born in 1942, I remember the war. Everybody helped everybody. That’s basically why I do it. I got involved because it was a natural thing to do,” she said. “I enjoy and like people and I hate housework.”