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Dee Dee Haynes-Ridley's Tireless Volunteerism will be Greatly Missed

Dee Dee Haynes-Ridley's sudden passing on April 29 was a huge shock. Most people in Georgetown knew the 51 year-old Halton Hills native as a tireless worker with a multitude of organizations and causes. She wore many hats: education assistant, mentor, trainer, league administrator, wife and mother. In 2019 she was named Georgetown's 2018 Citizen of the year.

Mayor Rick Bonnette made special mention of Haynes-Ridley at Town Council on Monday. “Dee Dee was the well-deserved 2018 citizen of the year. She touched many lives, from working with special needs kids to her beloved involvement in kids baseball. She was a wonderful kind person who will be truly missed,” he said.

“She was born and raised here and she probably knew most of Georgetown. If you don't know Dee Dee, you knew of her,” according to her long-time friend Janet Hanlin. Hanlin and her family have a long association with Dee Dee. At one time, both women operated the Sweet Spot snack bar at the Georgetown Fairgrounds to raise money for the ‘Field of Dreams’ project at the Trafalgar Sports Park. Halton Hills is known for its community spirit, but Haynes-Ridley took volunteerism to another level. “She was everywhere. Dee Dee was involved in so much. She knew everyone and all the businesses, and she was the one who got sponsors for our house league baseball teams. I know she went above and beyond for the special needs kids and families she worked with,” added Hanlin.

Lynn Haines got to know Haynes-Ridley when her son got involved in bowling and minor league baseball. “Dee Dee ran a youth bowling league, bought the gifts and prizes for the kids. When the bowling alley closed down in Georgetown, she moved the league to Streetsville. She was heavily-involved in the Women's Powderpuff Baseball League and a number of other baseball organizations at the same time.”

Whether she was involved in bowling, baseball or a myriad of other causes, Haynes-Ridley took on the role of organizer and made sure those activities ran smoothly, according to Haines. “Her resume was huge because she volunteered for everything. She'd do anything for you, she never said no. She just dropped everything to help you. Honestly, I've never met anyone like Dee Dee, so kind and considerate, an amazing soul.”

In recent years, Haynes-Ridley held two positions simultaneously on the Halton Hills Minor Baseball Association executive board, serving as director of communications and community relations, as well as director of umpires. “She was the Halton Hills Minor Baseball Association in many ways,” added Haines. “Doing the media and answering any questions people might have—she worked seven days a week. She was all about kids. All about kids and enriching other people's lives, she just wanted to make everybody's life better. She was here to serve people.”

Brittany Barrett also got to know Dee Dee at an early age when she was involved with youth bowling. Years later she ended up working beside her teaching special needs students in the Community Pathway Program at Georgetown District High School (GDHS). “She taught me so many things, supported me everyday and guided me. She was and is the heart of GDHS and was always there for anyone no matter what she had going on. She would drop what she was doing to help others—always,” she said.

“She was the most passionate about her job, community and family. She always shared stories from her past and lessons she learned. She knew every student in our Community Pathway Program: their name, their story and their passions. She connected with every student and staff.”

The suddenness of Haynes-Ridley's passing surprised many. She had hundreds of followers on Facebook and wanted them to know that she had received the Moderna vaccine at the Gellert Centre on April 26. She subsequently posted messages saying she was not feeling well after receiving the vaccine, but seemed to be feeling better on her last post. Haynes-Ridley passed away unexpectedly at Georgetown Hospital on April 29.

While some friends and family who wished to remain anonymous told Acton UP that Dee Dee’s demise was due to blood clots, they said the blood clots "cannot be linked to the vaccine".

The Halton Hills Minor Softball Association is considering ways to honour Haynes-Ridley, according to Hanlin. “They're debating putting a memorial bench at the Fairgrounds where she loved to sit and watch the games,” she said. “They are also talking about naming one of the diamonds at the Trafalgar Sports Park after her, all kinds of things are being considered.”

Hanlin thinks that people should remember Haynes-Ridley's many contributions. She loved a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson and would include it in all her emails: “The purpose of life is not to be happy, but to be useful....”

“She wouldn't want us to be sad,” added Hanlin. “She had such an effect on people on so many different levels. Her passing is more than a ripple in our community. It's more like a tidal wave.”

Clarification: Dee Dee Haynes Ridley was named 2018 Citizen of the Year in 2019. We added '2018' to first line to clarify.

Retraction: We have also changed back the Mayor's quote to “2018 citizen of the year” which he originally stated. Our reporter suggested for the Mayor to change his quote to "2019" in the belief that was when Dee Dee was named 2019 Citizen of the Year. Acton UP apologizes for any inconvenience this has caused.


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