John Wells named the 2018 Port Dover Citizen of the Year

John Wells named 2018 Port Dover Citizen of the Year.

JOHN Wells has been named Port Dover 2018 Citizen of the Year.
The choice will be met with wide approval in every segment of the citizenry. His record of devotion to community service has had no bounds, dating almost since John and Betty’s arrival here in 1975 with sons John and Dean.
Both John and Betty have roots in Canada’s East Coast. But, the Wells family came to Norfolk County from a small Quebec town when John accepted a teaching position at Langton Public School. The family of four rented an apartment on Oak Street in Simcoe.
One day Betty drove alone along country roads until she came to Port Dover. When John came home from work that day Betty announced, “we are moving to Port Dover!” That was 43 years ago.
They became local property owners with the purchase of the Smithson property. Within a year or two John joined Port Dover Lions Club and became its secretary to launch a life of working for the betterment of Port Dover.
Today, John Wells is probably the best known name in this lakeside community. That is not only because of his tenure of 25 years as this community’s representative in municipal government, but in other ways too.
John was elected to Haldimand-Norfolk Regional Council serving under Chairman John Harrison, then on City of Nanticoke and later Norfolk County Council from 1997 under mayors Harry Scott, Orval Shortt, Rita Kalmbach, Dennis Travale and Charlie Luke.
He served two 2-year terms on council before retiring to devote himself full-time as a teacher at Sprucedale School, having found that council-related day meetings kept him absent regularly from school which, he felt, was not fair to students or taxpayers. He retired from teaching is 1997 and returned to council being acclaimed to Nanticoke Council for the 1998 year.
John has announced his retirement from Norfolk County council which will take effect at the end of the current term in December this year … concluding 25 years of public service.
His voice is one of reasoned opinion for what he considers to be best for the people of Ward 6.
Besides his work on municipal council, this year’s top citizen is also heavily involved in what is happening in town with improvements always forefront in his thinking.
He was Chair of the Fundraising Committee to build the new Port Dover Area Arena that opened in the 1980s. He has also played a major role in these other community undertakings; Port Dover Lions Community Centre; the Sports Park with tennis, ball hockey, skateboard; he championed improvements at the museum, headed the new library fundraising drive, road work, subdivisions, commercial development and much more.
He says he is especially pleased with Norfolk County working to establish the Elmer Lewis parkette and downtown parking area, as well as the Riverfront Park — both of which had community involvement.
John Wells was the inspiration for, and a founding member of Port Dover Community Foundation. He served as Chair until three years ago. It has also financially supported many community projects.
Grace United Church has been a benefactor of John Wells’ guidance in his capacity as Trustee, serving as long-time chair. Recent updates include renovations with a three-level elevator to the Grace Church Community Hall.
After learning that he was chosen this year’s Citizen of the Year, John said “Port Dover is a great place to live. I hope to have made a small difference for the betterment of Port Dover.”
John Wells has attended all Citizen of the Year nights for decades and modesty made him reluctant to accept the 2018 nomination. He had to be convinced he was indeed a worthy recipient. The event is organized each year by a committee of Port Dover Board of Trade.
The recognition night for John Wells is planned for Monday, April 23rd at the Cove Room of the Erie Beach Hotel. Tickets will go on sale next Monday, March 19th at Port Dover Board of Trade office on Market Street West and Port Dover Maple Leaf.

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