For any of you who have ever had to use our healthcare facility, you will know how efficient and effective excellent care can be. I have heard horror stories from numerous people, outside of Durham Region, who have been victims of poor healthcare. Fortunately that is not the case for us.
Lakeridge Health is a first class facility, but in addition to its wonderful staff and competency, we have the Hospital Foundation designed to fill financial gaps, as well as to shore up much required additional services.
The person who heads up the Port Perry Hospital Foundation is our very own, Mark Fletcher. Mark follows in the shoes of Diana Chambers, Doug Brown, John Stewart and Jim Lawrence, to name a few, in this amazingly tough role of raising and managing funds for special projects associated with the hospital. Best of all, his dedicated work, is done without compensation.
Mark Fletcher was born in Scarborough to a banking family. His mother was a teller for TD and his dad, a data program manager, also worked for the bank. When Mark was still quite young, the family moved to Oshawa, and while going through the school system, Mark subsidized his allowance with a job at McDonalds, where he was a crew manager.
Mark actually considered joining McDonald’s Manager in Training program, but his love for the outdoors took over, and he became a part of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Junior Rangers in Chapleau, Ontario, a small township near Sudbury
For Mark, the job was a dream come true. Although he started planting trees, his vision had always been to work in a Provincial Park and be a conservation officer. One area which fulfilled his outdoor desires, was the Scouting movement. Throughout his life he was involved in Cubs, Scouts, Ventures and Rovers, and was awarded the Chief Scout Award, the highest, most prestigious award the organization offers. It also gave Mark an opportunity to meet Lincoln Alexander, the former lieutenant-governor of Ontario.
In 1986 Mark was selected to represent Oshawa in the International Scouting Jamboree, and was able to spend a month in Australia. “It was a great opportunity for me, and an educational experience which will last a lifetime,” he said, proudly.
Mark, a very hard worker, pursued several part-time opportunities. It was no surprise when, through a friend of his mother, he was offered a position as an assistant funeral director at McIntosh Anderson Funeral Home in Oshawa.
He was actually intrigued with the position, and enjoyed it so much, he enrolled in the funeral director course at Humber College. He supplemented his income by working at Ward Funeral Home in Weston. After graduation, Mark started with Wagg Funeral Home in Port Perry, and two years later, married the love of his life, Stephanie.
Mark, Stephanie and their two children reside in Port Perry. In the early 2000’s Mark became president of the Bay of Quinte Funeral Services Association, which represents funeral homes from Kingston to Whitby.
In 2010 Cheryl Timbers asked Mark if he was interested in joining the Hospital Foundation. The association is an integral part of the hospital’s performance and services. The main goal of the foundation is to raise funds for equipment, necessary, but not part of the province’s mandate. The mission of the Foundation is to support excellence in healthcare at Port Perry Hospital for our community. Mark rose to the ranks of Vice President of the Foundation, and in 2018 was named its President.
“I was really excited,” Mark said. “However, a month after I was on the job we had the fire, which was an unprecedented event.” It was also the year when long time Executive Director of the Foundation, Cindy Lister, retired. “I am so grateful to all the people who helped pull everything together, and keep us on track to achieve our goals.”
Fundraising was new to Mark. He had been involved in raising funds for Port Perry High School’s music programs, as well as new equipment for a playground. In 2018, Mark was flattered by becoming a member of the prestigious Mayor’s Honour roll.
Mark Fletcher’s future includes his family, career and dedicating as much time as possible to the betterment of our community. If his past record is any indicator of his success, we will all benefit greatly from his ambitions.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. His show, ‘The Jonathan van Bilsen Show,’ on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube, features many of the people included in this column.