Mayor bids farewell to long-serving councillor

By Cecilia Nasmith

Alnwick-Haldimand Township Mayor John Logel has issued a statement eulogizing long-serving Councillor Raymond Benns on his passing, March 21 at his home in Baltimore.

Last year marked Benns's 20th year on council, a span which includes four years as Deputy Mayor. Over that time, Logel said, the township achieved many significant outcomes for the community, far too numerous to mention.

He never tired of connecting with residents and businesses at community events, from the Mayors' Race for Hospice each year at the Brighton Speedway to the annual 100 Mile Diet exhibitions (where he also played the role of proud father, as his son Steven demonstrated wonderful recipes using local ingredients).

He also tirelessly committed his time and energy to the boards of such organizations as the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, Safe Communities Northumberland and the Centreton Community Centre.

“Ray was staunch in his support of activities that would sustain and grow the health and prosperity for our township,” Logel commented.

Benns was also a mainstay of the local agricultural community. Together with Marg, his wife of more than 50 years, he managed a successful hog-farming operation until his retirement.

Logel praised his colleague's devotion to his family, recalling the joy he took in time shared with his wife, sons Steven and Jeremy, and their families – especially any opportunity to go fishing with his four grandchildren.

The mayor said he had known Benns from a very early age.

“Whether he was staring me down from the pitcher's mound, getting ready to sail one of his fastballs past me when we were teenagers, or later in life sharing measured perspective on an important policy issue across the council table from me, I always knew – as anyone who knew him knew – that I could count on his heart of gold.

“Ray kept the best interests of Alnwick-Haldimand residents in mind with his every step. He was a dedicated township councillor, a respected community member and a true friend, and he will be greatly missed,”