Library, community salute Dr. George and Norma Fisher with sculpture
Posted Aug 16, 2012By Ashley Kulp
EMC News – A sculpture in tribute to community leaders Dr. George and Norma Fisher will see them forever dancing in the town they love and have called home for 43 years.
The program room at the North Grenville Public Library (NGPL) was filled to the brim Aug. 11 as the community came out to help the library unveil a sculpture in the Fishers’ honour. Friends, family and government representatives were on hand for the special event, of which NGPL board chair Jim Armour served as emcee.
“What a great day for all of us,” George remarked to the crowd prior to the statue’s unveiling. “Norma and I feel very humbled in this recognition because we believe it’s the duty of everyone in the community to get involved in their community.”
He admitted that he and Norma had no intentions of staying in the community when he was posted here 43 years ago with the Ontario government, but once their children settled here, Kemptville “became home.”
His involvement in Rotary International has taken him around the world and he has seen firsthand how others live.
“I firmly believe home is where you make it and thank you everyone for all the support we’ve received from so many people,” he continued. “By working together, we can realize our dreams and make (life) a dance to enjoy.”
The idea to pay tribute to the Fishers came in 2008 when then-Advance reporter Chris Hofley made mention of their community involvement in his farewell column. When the Fishers were named honourary co-chairs of the NGPL’s Room to Read campaign in 2010, it became clear some way to honour the couple was needed.
“The biggest challenge was how we could possibly reflect what George and Norma have done to this community with a piece of art,” noted Armour. “We (library board and Room to Read campaign committee members) thought for a few seconds and then all said ‘dancing’. It’s what immediately came to everyone’s mind. There isn’t a social event that hasn’t involved the Fishers cutting a rug, but it’s much deeper than that. It’s a perfect metaphor for all that George and Norma Fisher have done for North Grenville.”
Ottawa-area artist Rosemary Breault-Landry created the 35-inch tall sculpture, which features the Fishers in an often seen pose: dancing.
She began work on it back in the winter and once it was perfected, Gary Briggs was tasked with casting the statue in bronze. Kevin Allen of Eastern Ontario Monuments also provided the granite on which the sculpture sits.
It bears part of the Voltaire quote “Let us read and let us dance, these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”
Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark, who credits the Fishers with inspiring him in his own involvement with his local Rotary Club, said they are an inspiring couple.
“Sitting on top of the gold medal podium today are Dr. George and Norma Fisher,” he remarked, making mention of their financial contributions to countless community projects, including the Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) and NGPL. “…You’ve touched pretty well every citizen since you arrived here.”
It’s that active role they have played in their community that makes the tribute to the Fishers so fitting, Clark said.
“You’re a testament to what an active citizen should be in our community and I truly believe your legacy will be and will always be how you’ve helped build this community of North Grenville,” he commented.
Referring to Norma as the Ginger Rogers to George’s Fred Astaire, Clark shared a quote about how Rogers did everything Astaire did but backwards and in heels.
“So thank you as well to Norma and to both of you for being an inspiration to me,” he said.
North Grenville mayor David Gordon echoed Clark’s comments, calling the community blessed to have the Fishers among its residents. “George and Norma were always the mentors of the community and the builders of the community,” he said.
Councillor Barb Tobin presented the Fisher with a certificate of recognition for their leadership and for being ambassadors of North Grenville. She said a piece of artwork is great way to honour the couple.
Leeds-Grenville MP Gord Brown couldn’t be in attendance for the statue’s unveiling, but Armour read a brief note expressing his congratulations.
“Your lives reflect the values we should all strive to meet in our own lives,” he stated in his remarks.
Armour noted that the Fishers serve as examples of how all North Grenville citizens should live their lives.
He said they have served their community with purpose, partnership and passion.
“…This recognition is long, long overdue,” he remarked. “…And I know when I drive by the statue, I will be thinking of the purpose, partnership and passion I can bring to their (Fishers) goal of making this community a better place.”