Marilyn Skubovius has been named Morden's 2021 Citizen of Distinction.
The Morden Area Foundation designed the award to recognize and honour citizens who have a strong commitment to making the city and area a better place to live, visit and play through their long-term commitment of service and excellence in leadership.
Skubovius, a long-time business owner and community advocate, says she is honoured by the award, and grateful for the many kind words sent her way.
"Well, you just want to make things better. I mean, I was thinking when I first got involved and you know, you thought you had some abilities to discuss and talk and ideas. Yeah, you just want to make a better community. Sometimes, when I help people, you can see potential, and you give them ideas and give them a little courage to keep going."
A founding board member and first chairperson of the Morden Area Foundation, Skubovius says if you talk things out, inform people and let them know what's going on, then the right decisions are made.
One of her nominators is former Morden resident, Doug Reichert, who has known Skubovius for over 50 years. He says the foundation of any successful community relies on three basics.
"Education, healthcare, small business. Marilyn defines all of that. She's taken an interest in the education within the community; she's been on boards, the healthcare board; she's been on City Council. I think she was even a school trustee. And she started as a small business person in Morden many, many years ago. She did get help from other people. She always appreciated that and she always wanted to give that back."
And she did, not only as a city councilor but also as a tireless volunteer, helping to save the old post office and plan the Boundary Trails Hospital. Her leadership was also the driving force behind the completion of a new building for the Saint John Catholic Church.
Another nomination submission noted, Skubovius has ensured women were represented in government by running as a candidate provincially, and working for the Liberal party on both provincial and federal campaigns.
Today, Skubovius feels Morden is a good place to live.
"You know, I've lived here most of my life, except when I was away at university and I was overseas with CUSO for two years. I'm proud of it and happy to live here. There's a lot available here in Morden and in the area. You really don't have to travel a long distance to enjoy amenities plus nature in the area."
CUSO is the acronym for Canadian University Service Overseas, now known as CUSO International, a Canadian international development organization.
In his nomination, Reichert pointed out that some previous winners of this award were supported in their endeavors by Marilyn's iron will and her 'dog on a bone' determination to see things through.
"Years and years ago when I heard she started a business, she was the last person I ever thought would start a business because I thought she would always be involved in something social. I saw her struggles. And I always said, keep it up, because it'll come out in the end. I didn't have to tell her that, she knew that."
She's just a good person, added Reichert.
"She's always thinking about the community. She thinks about the area, especially with the hospital and some of the social service stuff that is going on. She doesn't necessarily want to stand out front, but she definitely knows how to motivate people in a very humble way."
Other nominators backing Skubovius included Jerry Dykman and Pat Gibson from Morden, as well as Anna Marinelli.
A presentation ceremony is being planned for August.