After volunteering throughout Huntsville for more than 40 years, Diane Litchfield’s efforts were recognized when she received the Transformational Award at the 2019 YWCA Women of Distinction Gala.
The event hosted nearly 200 people, more than 30 of them Diane’s friends, family, and fellow volunteers, demonstrating just how significant her impact has been on the community.
“It was an amazing night and I was lucky to have so many people cheering me on,” said Litchfield. “I think this event is really important to make people aware of all of the incredible work the YWCA does for just not our community but across the country.”
Litchfield was nominated by two of her fellow volunteers at the Huntsville Hospital Auxilary, where she has been a volunteer for 42 years.
“Back when I was 14 I had polio. Here in Huntsville we didn’t have a hospital or even a single physiotherapist so I had to move to Toronto for the year to receive treatment. This was what sparked my passion for making sure our hospital in Huntsville is taken care of and supported,” she said.
After leaving Huntsville, where she was born and raised, to attend university, Litchfield and her husband moved around all across Ontario and even to Calgary due to his job in industrial water treatment; she worked as a high school teacher.
When they decided to settle down and return to Huntsville, they started their own business and Diane worked as a real estate agent for 23 years before retiring.
Litchfield’s volunteer history is extensive and in addition to the hospital auxiliary includes Meals on Wheels, numerous bridge clubs, the Huntsville Ski Club (now Muskoka Ski Club), the Probus Club, and Kinsmen/Kinnettes.
The Auxilary still remains one of Litchfield’s main volunteer positions, along with Meals on Wheels where she has been an avid member for over 40 years.
Volunteering has always been important to Litchfield. With each move she and her husband made every few years, it was a great way to make friends and get involved in each new community.
“I love keeping busy and keeping my mind active. I get up every morning and have a purpose,” she said. “It’s really rewarding when you see the results, especially with Meals on Wheels.”
Litchfield volunteers in many different sections of the hospital including being in charge of the volunteers in the chemo clinic, organizing fundraisers such as the fashion show and house tour luncheons, and working in the gift shop.
One of Diane’s proudest moments was when she received the Queen’s Jubilee Award for volunteering.
“Just to be nominated for the YWCA award was such an honour, there are so many incredible stories of women in our community,” said Litchfield. “We live in a very caring town and that makes living in Huntsville even more special.”
The nominees for the 2019 Women of Distinction Awards were: Kim Aitken, Margaret Dollar, Ellen Duffield, Patti Hanrath, Erin Kerr, Diane Litchfield, Marie Lloyd, Karen Patterson, J’aime Payne, Darlene Poirer, Cailan Punnewaert, Kai Rannick, Kalleen Turchet and Sandra Winspear.
And the winners were: J’aime Payne – Arts, Culture and Creativity; Kalleen Turchet – Young Woman of Distinction; Kim Aitken – Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Darlene Poirier – Community Development and Social Activism; Marie Lloyd – Health, Sports and Wellness; Diane Litchfield – Transformational Award; Patti Hanrath– Mentorship; and Sandra Winspear – Lifetime Achievement.
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