Award recipients during the National Philanthropy Day award ceremony on November 15, 2023. (Photo by Greg Hetherington)

A local councillor and a business owner have been recognized for their philanthropic contributions within the Chatham-Kent community.

West Kent Councillor Melissa Harrigan and local Tim Hortons franchise owner Mike Grail were both awarded by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Canada South Chapter on National Philanthropy Day, during a breakfast event on Wednesday.

Harrigan was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma, a type of breast cancer, in late 2022. While taking a leave of absence from her council duties to focus on her health, Harrigan started the “Her Fight is Our Fight” campaign.

During this week’s ceremony, Harrigan was presented the Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award for raising over $30,000 through her campaign to purchase a new VELA Mammography Chair and fund needed enhancements to the mammography room at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

“I did really feel like it was just a nice ending for a year that has had so many ups and downs. But the constant of the ups was the Her Fight Is Our Fight fundraiser,” she said. “It really was a great way to wrap up that campaign and recognize, not just myself, but all of the efforts and donations from the community that went to the He Fight Is Our Fight campaign.”

Grail, who was presented the Outstanding Community Champion Award, is credited for helping to raise over $17.5 million for the Chatham-Kent Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation over the last 17 years as part of its board of directors.

“When we started we were more worried about getting kids off waiting lists and just increasing services where we could. We never really dreamed of being part of a 55,000 square foot facility and all of the different things that have come over the years,” he said. “I’m so grateful that people do recognize our efforts.

This National Philanthropy Day awards event recognizes outstanding philanthropic achievements by individuals, foundations, corporate philanthropists, and fundraising volunteers each year.