2023 King Honouree
George Burt believes each of us has an opportunity every day to do something to contribute to society and to the well-being of others. He quotes Ben Franklin who, every morning, asked himself, “What good shall I do this day?” and, before he retired at night, asked, “What good have I done today?” It is important every day to make life more pleasant for others and improve the world around us. George humbly calls himself a regular fellow because doing good is just part of who he is. He was brought up to believe that you always leave something better behind than when you arrived. His reward is the satisfaction he has after knowing that his actions may have had a positive impact on someone else.
According to George, any deed is a good deed. Whether it is not littering, opening a door for someone, or giving someone a smile, everybody should be treated as an equal. George has been a member of the Masonic Order for fifty years. The Order is based on brotherly love, relief, and truth, where Free Masons accept everybody from every walk of life and religion. One event that stands out for George is a time when the Masons raised $50,000 for a cochlear impact for a deaf fourteen-year-old girl. He was at Sick Children’s Hospital when the girl heard for the first time; a very impactful and humbling moment indeed. Recently, George has been involved in a Child Find program where Masons provide kits to parents containing recorded vital information about their child including fingerprints, voice imprint, and photographs. Should a child go missing, the parent can take the kit to the police to aid them in their search. Since they started helping, Masons have supplied 72,000 kits to parents throughout Ontario. Sadly, 6,700 children in Ontario go missing every year. While a lot of hours go into this initiative, the Masons’ fervent hope is that the parents never need to use the kits. The families of people with Alzheimer’s are also beneficiaries of this work.
George will be ninety years old this year and he strongly believes that doing good is what got him there. He happily donates items from his woodturning craft to organizations who are raising money for charitable causes. His retirement goal is to open up a used book store in Schomberg, providing over 14,000 books from his own library, including a significant number of Canadiana books.
George positively reflects on the impact the pandemic has had on people and society. Before the pandemic, people were all living normal lives, and in the last two-and-a-half years, we have become more concerned about each other’s well-being. We wore masks, not because they protected ourselves, but because they protected others. We really are all dependent on each other and can’t enjoy the benefits of life without each other.