By Nancy Abra
Every community needs a hub – a common space where people can come together to share, to celebrate and support local organizations. It was devastating to the community when the Thorndale Community Centre was destroyed by fire last February. Fortunately, there were plans in place for a new modern and larger community centre to be built.
The Heeman family has always believed in building community and giving back to the neighbourhood that has supported their family and helped them grow over the years. “One of the guiding values for Heeman’s is ‘cultivating community’ and this donation not only supports the growing village of Thorndale but helps us to support our core values as a business and as a family,” said Will Heeman, a 3rd generation operator of the family business.
Second-generation Rita Heeman added, “When the need for a new community centre came about, it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ we would support the new build but ‘how’.”
“Many of our favourite family memories raising our four children here have a common tie – the Thorndale Community Centre,” remarked Florence Heeman, wife of 2nd generation Rudy Heeman. “There were school play productions, community dances, opening night of the Thorndale Fair and supporting the Lions’ breakfasts.” Rudy added, “while this year’s Thorndale Fair annual Pie Auction fundraiser will be virtual instead of at the community centre, our family can’t wait to come together with our neighbours in support of many great community events once again inside the new Thorndale Lions Community Centre.”
The donation of $50,000 from Heeman’s will support ‘Meeting Room 3’, the main meeting space in the new Thorndale Lions Community Centre for community groups like the Lions, Optimist, Women’s Institute, Agriculture Society, and the Horticultural Society. Third generation and area councillor for Thames Centre, Tom Heeman said, “these community groups are the backbone of our community and donate their time and talents for the betterment of all our area residents. I am very proud to help once again to give these groups a space they can call home.”
Larry Jones, Thorndale Lions member and fundraising committee member, said “this project has been years in the making with lots of input from all members of our community. This donation is an example of how our local businesses have stepped up to make this project successful. The Heeman Family has always been a large supporter of the community. This donation is further proof of their commitment to the continued success of the community of Thorndale.”
By Nancy Abra