KAGAWONG – If it’s involving things like nature, history and libraries, you will no doubt find Kagawong couple Sabine Huege and Marcel Beneteau involved as volunteers.
“When I retired it gave me the chance to get more involved in the community and volunteer for things that are important to myself and Marcel,” Ms. Huege told the Recorder. “One thing I have always loved is history, and when we moved to Kagawong I discovered it had a beautiful little museum.”
“Dianne (Fraser) had invited me to join the museum committee and to help put up the great displays the museum has every year. Right from the start we worked very well together, and with Rick (Nelson, museum curator) over the past few years,” said Ms. Huege.
“And I’ve always been involved in the (Billings) library. A few years ago there was the possibility there might be some serious (financial) cuts to the library, so a few of us got together to see what we could do. We certainly didn’t want to lose our library,” said Ms. Huege.
As a member of the Friends of the Billings Library she helps out with the summer market at a table the group has set up there. Any funds the group raises goes toward buying books, along with audio and e-books.
“As well, the Friends-of group has an annual book and bake sale and I help out with that, and the silent auction we hold every year at the Christmas celebrations held in the community. These events are also used to raise funds for the purchase of books.”
“I’m also a member of and on the refreshment committee for the Manitoulin Nature Club,” said Ms. Huege.
“Well I guess because of the things I get involved in are based around nature activities,” said Mr. Beneteau on why he is such an avid volunteer in the community. “When we moved here I joined the Manitoulin Nature Club, which is made up of a great group of people.”
When John Smith stepped down as president of the nature club, Mr. Beneteau took over that position and has been president of the club for almost four years.
Mr. Beneteau is also on the Friends of Misery Bay (FOMB) board. “We both joined the Friends of Misery Bay, which is a great cause,” he said.
Mr. Beneteau puts out the FOMB newsletter, Turtle Tracks, for its members. He also helps visitors to Misery Bay park as a trail guide. “We put on three or four of these hikes of Misery Bay last summer, but I don’t think there will be any this summer because of COVID-19.”
“Marcel and I are big-time into nature,” said Ms. Huege. “We have both loved Misery Bay since the first time we visited.”
Mr. Beneteau is also a very talented musician, being a member of the Kagawong Folk Roots Collective band. “It is fun, and the band has done several benefits and gospel shows for the church over the years.” He is also a member of Manitoulin Active Living Trail, working to develop and preserve hiking trails on Manitoulin.
“We moved here in 2006, at first just staying here on weekends,” said Mr. Beneteau. “At that time we were still living in Sudbury, and then Sabine retired in 2011 and I retired in 2015 and now we live here on a full-time basis. We love it here.”