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Home Hardware, generous citizens step up to aid Hillcrest Lodge

'I was amazed how eager the people were in our community to step forward' to help purchase new riding lawn mower for Orillia facility for vulnerable seniors
home hardware donates lawn mower to hillcrest
John Locke, one of the owners of Orillia's Home Hardware, is shown with the new riding lawn mower the store provided, at their cost, to help support the Hillcrest Lodge. The campaign was spearheaded by volunteer Reed Ellis, also shown above. Contributed photo

Reed and Helen Ellis began volunteering at Hillcrest Lodge, a geared-to-income apartment building for vulnerable seniors in Orillia, about a year ago.

They believe deeply in the concept and, like many of those who volunteer at the Matchedash Street building, wanted to do their part to help the non-profit organization and its mission.

The local couple principally helps tend to the gardens and to maintain the park-like grounds at Hillcrest Lodge, a former retirement home.

Upon putting his green thumb to work, Reed Ellis soon realized that some upgraded equipment would make things a lot easier. 

"It became clear quite quickly the push lawn mower that they owned was not up to the job of looking after their massive yards," Ellis said. 

So, prior to returning to his duties this spring, Ellis decided to spearhead a campaign aimed at raising money to acquire a new riding lawnmower for the facility.

"The first place I turned to was Orillia's Home Hardware and (owners) John and Chris Locke," Ellis expalined. 

"They went to work for me and arranged to provide a beautiful new riding lawnmower at their cost," he said with gratitude. "It was then my job to go out in the community to raise the money required."

Much to his surprise, John Locke stepped forward again, donating "$250 on top of his already generous gesture" to provide the mower at cost.

Buoyed by the generosity, Ellis began to seek donors. He was pleasantly surprised.

"I was amazed how eager the people were in our community to step forward in support of my project," said Ellis, noting he was able to raise the necessary funds in a matter of days.

"Bravo Orillia!" he said.

The contributors included:

  • Chuck and Irene Doubrough 
  • Jim Dykes
  • Helen and Reed Ellis
  • Sylvania and Bill Farewell
  • Douglas Gilbert
  • Don and Jackie Ingram
  • Barbara and Michael Lock
  • John Locke
  • Jon and Cindy Malik
  • Rick and Maureen Matias
  • John and Marg Mayo
  • Stewart McNeely
  • Greg and Marg Reid
  • Cheryl and Rick Rimkey
  • Orillia Volkswagen (Colin Koprowski) 
  • Andrew Westelaken 

Ellis and Hillcrest Lodge "gratefully acknowledges all of these people for their generosity."

Hillcrest Lodge is committed to providing safe affordable housing, including meals, for 30 vulnerable seniors in our community.  

"It is an honourable task, but it also presents financial challenges for their board," noted Ellis, adding that's why this campaign and the community's support is such a blessing for the facility and its inhabitants.

"I just can't thank the community enough."


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Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
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