Congrats, Don

Don Cumming received a very special award from the Canadian Community Newspapers Association last Thursday evening at the Royal York Hotel.
He was the recipient of the “Gold Quill” Award, which is bestowed upon individuals who have worked within the newspaper years for 50 years and have been involved in their community.
I was fortunate to offer Don’s name to the CCNA and to actually present him with the award.
Today it is almost unheard of for someone to work in a profession for 50 years. In the last 15 years that I have attended the CCNA’s annual meetings, I know of only one other person who received a “Gold Quill.”
The award now only goes to someone who has born into the industry. Previously, the award has been given to people who began as copy boys, or served in a war and began their careers at a very young age. Most recipients were well into their 70s.
Don, too, began his career at a young age, delivering papers from the paper mill to the arena along the south side of First Street East for almost five years.
On Saturdays, waiting for papers in the carrier room in the basement of the old Times’ building on Church Street (where Canada Customs is now located), Don would be conscripted to carry lead “pigs” from the basement, where they had been made, upstairs to the main floor, where they were melted and consumed by the linotype or Ludlow machines.
By the time Don was 14, he had advanced to cleaning presses at the end of the school day. Washing up rollers, forms, etc. and wrapping printing for delivery were his job, as was making deliveries of letterheads, envelopes, and invoices to customers of the Fort Frances Times.
When he graduated from high school, Don was a journeyman pressman and chose to go into the family business. He became the operating manager of the production department of the newspaper and chose the make and model of the press that we print the newspaper on today.
Through a myriad of computer production equipment, Don has kept on top of the industry. No problem was too big for him to tackle, and he constantly sought out service manuals from every service technician who came to the newspaper.
Don always has kept to the background, yet he has been active on many Fort Frances boards. His biggest enjoyment is his participation with Ducks Unlimited but he also has been active with the Rainy Lake Fisheries Trust.
It is a rare individual who, even after 50 years in the business, looks forward to every day at their job. Don is that rare individual. He is a perfectionist and works hard to create the best printing products from the premises of the newspaper.
The colour reproduction is the envy of many newspapers from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Many of the awards the newspaper has won can be attributed to Don’s hand in production.
I am a proud of my younger brother. Don has earned the recognition not only in this community, but in the community of more than 800 newspapers across Canada.
Congratulations again, Don.

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