CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - After shining a light on important issues in her community, Doreen Huestis found herself in the spotlight this week.
The Orwell resident was one of five Islanders honoured in a special ceremony at Fanning Bank in Charlottetown.
“I was shocked to receive the phone call. It completely came out of left field,” says Huestis who, along with Dr. Colin McMillan, Stratford, Rev. J. Charles Cheverie, Charlottetown, John J. MacDonald, St. Nicholas and Chief Matilda Ramjattan, Lennox Island was presented with a Senate 150 medal on Tuesday by Senator Diane Griffin and Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry.
The awards are given to Canadians who have made substantial contributions to their communities.
“I’m incredibly honoured,” says Huestis, who has donated thousands of volunteer hours in her community.
She’s involved with the Mt. Buchanan-Point Prim Women’s Institute.
She is the treasurer and a board member of the Point Prim Lighthouse Society, which has taken on the protection and management of the oldest lighthouse on the Island from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
At first there were challenges.
“The lighthouse needed a great deal of work. It never had washrooms. We have over 15,000 visitors every summer. Also, the shore was greatly eroding and, because it’s the only round, brick lighthouse on Prince Edward Island, it could not be moved,” says Huestis.
So, with funding from ACOA and Heritage Canada, the society built a light keeper’s cottage that houses washrooms as well as a gift shop that featuring P.E.I. artisans.
“We have also reinforced the erosion protection around the shoreline.”
Huestis is also treasurer and a board member of the Sir Andrew Macphail Foundation, an organization which preserves the Macphail Homestead.
“Our recent project is the 150-acre parcel of land at Orwell Corner, which has been in the Macphail family now for over 100 years.”
The foundation approached the family and asked if they were interested in donating the land.
“The project is virtually completed. It’s been a year and a half process and it’s wonderful to see it come together,” says Huestis, who is also involved in the Belfast Rink Renovation Project.
“The rec centre is the hub of the Belfast area. But the kitchen is sadly lacking.”
A designer by trade, she drafted up plans for a new kitchen.
“That’s where things are at, right now.”