The success of the sports program of any small town often depends on the quiet and determined work of unassuming volunteers who work behind the scenes far removed from the publicity and accolades. Such was the case of Donald Stewart – a man who quietly and without fanfare laid the foundations for many of the youth programs now taken for granted in Berwick.
In 1960, Don was the driving force behind the efforts to have artificial ice installed in the Berwick Arena. A group headed by Don was successful in raising over $20,000 to allow the artificial ice system to be installed in time for the 1961 season. In the same year, the Berwick and District Athletic Association was formed and Don served as its president for over eight years. Don also held the position as Director of the Berwick Arena for six years and was chiefly responsible for organizing bingo and wrestling events to raise funds for the arena. At the same time, he was the secretary and Director of the Berwick and District Community Association from 1962 – 1968. In his “spare time”, Don ably served as Chair of the Berwick Gala Days Committee from 1965 – 67. Don was always very active in seeking grants for figure skating, hiring coaches and skating pros, or acting as a coordinator and organizer for minor hockey and baseball programs. He also served as a Director of the Atlantic Figure Skating Association in 1963 – 64.
Don’s tremendous contributions to Berwick and its youth were recognized in a newspaper article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald in December, 1966. The article cited Don for his community mindedness and praised him for “utilizing all his spare time for the promotion of youth projects through the development of the town’s athletic association.”
Don also helped to organize the Metro-Valley Junior Hockey League and was its first league president for two years and at the same time was paramount in the development of the Junior B hockey program in Berwick. As the Chronicle Herald so well recorded, it is appropriate and vitally important that we recognize and praise Donald Stewart for “voluntarily contributing his time and imagination to provide programs which are both recreational and character-building” for our youth.