Legacy is a powerful word. To some, its meaning is a bit disconnected. But here at Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, a legacy is what our most dedicated volunteers are building with us every day. And for people like John McCallum, their legacy will live on and continue to change the lives of families and volunteers for generations to come.
John was passionate about Habitat, his tireless dedication sparked by a brush with fate while on vacation in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in the early 2000s. After seeing an ad in the local paper one January, John decided on a whim to volunteer for a week-long project that built five homes for local families in Hallandale. Little did John know that his experience on this one build project would change his life forever.
“I first met John in the spring of 2005 at a Habitat for Humanity volunteer recruitment event in Mississauga,” recalled Doug Clark, a close friend and Past Board Chair of Habitat for Humanity Mississauga. “With the skills that he developed in a long successful career as a financial executive, John had much to offer to our fledgling organization.”
No stranger to a challenge, John set to work to help Habitat Mississauga incorporate as a non-profit corporation in June 2005 and later become the 71st Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Canada in October that year. As the first Treasurer and one of the 3 founding Directors, John was a “guiding force in the organization.”
“John devoted countless hours to the organization,” remembered Doug, “and he did so without complaint and without seeking recognition. As a Board member and member of the Executive Committee, John played a key role in all of the big, visible steps taken by Habitat Mississauga in our first 5 years. [He also] played an active part in the many small, behind the scenes steps taken along the way. He was almost always a quiet presence at the multitude of volunteer, fundraising, and community awareness events that took place – always willing to help out in any way that he could.”
And help he did. John’s contributions included helping the affiliate to attain major sponsorships, land donations and government grants. He was also a part of the construction of the first Habitat Mississauga home in 2009 and helped to plan the second in 2010.
In late 2015, the estate of John T. McCallum made a generous donation to Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga in his honour. The funds were put towards building a home for a family in need in Mississauga, allowing the memory of John and the great work he did in the community to live on through his legacy.
“Those of us who worked with John remember and appreciate his contributions to the early development of our organization,” said Doug. “We fondly remember his quiet manner, quick sense of humour, respect for others, and unfailing dedication to the cause. Without John McCallum’s contributions, the successes of Habitat for Humanity in Mississauga would not have been achieved. We greatly miss him.”