2015 King Township
“You cannot measure the benefits of giving back. Someone who gives back can be trusted.”
Hugh Heron is still young at heart at the age of 77. He has been in the construction business one way or another throughout his career, whether it was as a shipwright in the ship yards of Scotland or building factories and hospitals in the UK before immigrating to Canada in 1967. Now, as a developer, he builds houses and office buildings in what he calls his “Beloved Canada.” Hugh’s portrait was taken at the Heathwood Homes Sales Office in Richmond Hill. Hugh is the ‘face’ of the Heron Group of Companies, but behind him are his partners, financial partners and staff. They have supported many causes such as Taste of the Hill, 360 Kids, The Salvation Army, Mackenzie Health Center and Summer Fest, to name a few. “We love the opportunity to give back,” Hugh said. “The Heron Group of Companies is like a big family organization.”
The Heron Group lost one of their partners, Michael Salem, when he died on the golf course, and wanted to do something to honour Michael. They started a charity called, “The Mikey Network.” Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is not a respecter of age; annually in Ontario children and teens are among the 6,500 people who experience SCA. To date The Mikey Network have supplied over 1,700 defibrillator units which have saved over 25 lives. The ‘Mikey’ is a portable automated external defibrillator (AED) unit provided through The Mikey Kids program which gives parents piece of mind and lets them enjoy day to day living. The Mikey Network also empowers parents by providing them with training. The logic behind that is when Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs, the first few minutes are absolutely critical; first responders would not be able to arrive on the scene in time. In 2015 the youngest recipient of a defibrillator was only three months old. Her life was saved through the quick action of her parents. Hugh said, when he heard that The Mikey Network had a hand in saving the baby’s life, it was by far the most memorable and moving moment for him.
If you look around, you will notice many AED units in establishments across York Region thanks to The Mickey Network. You will find them in community centres such as the Stonach Aurora Recreational Complex, King City Community Recreation Centre and in sports clubs such as Aurora Soccer Club and Richmond Hill Gold & Country Club. You may have noticed defibrillator units at the Newmarket Library and Theater, Community Living in Newmarket, Yellow Brick House and L’Arche Daybreak. The Mikey Network has provided units for Southlake Regional Health and Cancer Centres as well as for the University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University, and schools in the Toronto District and Peel Region School Boards. There are too many to list here.
Hugh does not turn down an opportunity to speak about their cause. He was recently called upon to advise the First Minister of Scotland about the benefits of having defibrillator units on the golf courses of Scotland. The Mikey Network has an annual walk to raise funds, and has friends that give donations all the time, but the majority of the funds come from donations through Heathwood Homes. Hugh is focused on implementing a plan to enlist students to raise awareness by getting them involved through social media and volunteer opportunities and then to also educate their parents. “There should be a defibrillator everywhere there is a fire extinguisher,” Hugh maintains. “Fire extinguishers save property, defibrillators save lives.” His goal for the future is to see AED units in every school in Ontario and eventually throughout Canada.