Before he retired, Bill Marks was lead hand at the Bradford Post Office. He was also a member of Bradford Town Council, where he served on the Public Utilities Commission, and on the Library Board.
For most people, that might not have left a lot of time for other activities – but Marks has always been involved in the community on many levels: playing hockey, coaching hockey as a volunteer, serving as president of the softball league, working with Big Brothers, and active in the BWG Local History Association.
In fact, he was one of the founding members of the Local History Association, “way back in the days with Barb Verney and George Jackson. From day one.”
In 2001, he was part of the WEGWHIST project, that put together the seminal two-volume history of West Gwillimbury, ‘Governor Simcoe Slept Here.’ He worked on the chapter on the military history of the township.
And for years, he has served as the association’s treasurer – keeping the books, filing paperwork for the non-profit organization, and applying for grants that permitted the group to hire an expert to conduct a ground-penetrating radar search to locate hidden graves at the Auld Kirk, a heritage site on Line 6.
He has also helped spearhead the initiatives to preserve and restore the Auld Kirk, a church in the Scotch Settlement, that was built in 1869.
Both Marks and his wife Erica have volunteered at Bradford Valley, raised funds for charity, and supported the BWG Public Library – even before he retired.
Marks noted he always tells people who are retiring that they need to fill the hours that they used to work. “Do something – volunteer!” he said. “It’ll make you feel good, and your days will be filled.”
He added, “Where would the town be if people didn’t step up? There wouldn’t be anything. What if all the volunteers here quit?”
No chance of that with Bill Marks. Although he and Erica now live up in Tiny Township, Bill still comes down to Bradford regularly, to play with his old-timers’ hockey team, and to keep up his involvement in the BWG Local History Association.
Marks’ commitment to the community has been recognized. In 2007, he received the Volunteer of the Year award from the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury.
And in 2011, he was inducted into the South Simcoe Wall of Honour at the Museum on the Boyne in Alliston, for his long-time support for and commitment to preserving the history of the area.
“It’s nice when you can volunteer and look back and think that you’ve made a difference and some good has come out of it,” he said.
Marks was asked if he had found any new volunteer opportunities, up in Tiny Township. Has he become involved in any local organizations?
“Not yet,” he said, “but I’ve been asked.”