If you measure the strength of community by its capacity for compassion, then the tiny town of Mono is one mighty place.
In December, a horrific attack left area resident Shelley Lorraine Loder in critical condition in Toronto’s Sunnybrook hospital. On Saturday, I attended a fundraiser at the Mono Community Centre that drew 240 people and raised well over $20,000 for the Loders, according to co-organizer Hazel McGuiness. The event featured a five-course dinner provided by five of the Hills of the Headwaters’ finest restaurants, as well as a silent auction, a live auction, a cash bar, and an abundance of camaraderie and goodwill in a community that needs it.
“It’s really left people feeling shaken,” McGuiness said of the attack. “It’s true that no one here locked their doors before this happened and now they do. A lot of the women in the area are frightened.”
The unknown assailant, who broke into Loder’s home, has yet to be arrested, which is cause for anxiety.
When McGuiness learned that one of her Hazel Tree clients had been assaulted she immediately wanted to help. She got in contact with Wayne Biegel, everyone’s favourite pubkeep at Peter Cellar’s Pub at the Mono Cliffs Inn. Together, they sparked interest from businesses and benefactors, got Mayor Laura Ryan involved, and in just 11 weeks pulled off a really fine event that served as both a fundraiser and a spirit-lifter.
Glen Loder, Shelley’s husband, said during his speech on Saturday he was “overwhelmed by the generosity and support” his family received from Mono, a town of about 7,500 people.
Shelley Lorraine Loder, an accomplished photographer who often volunteered her services to community events, is steadily improving.
If you’d like to donate, a trust fund has been set up under her professional name (“Shelley Lorraine Trust Fund”) and you’ll probably be able to deposit money into its TD Canada account. Better yet, get to know this community.
Take a drive up to the Mono Cliffs Inn and drop in on Wayne (pictured here). You’ll find out why he runs the best pub going and he’ll let you know how to continue helping the Loders.