Meet the Martins

Walk for Alzheimer's 2017 Hall of Fame

They made a great team when they owned and ran a local auto shop.

Gwenda and Don Martin apply the same strategies to their fundraising efforts in their retirement.

He asks for donations, she keeps track of all the details.

Their system has helped the couple raised thousands of dollars for the Alzheimer Society of Oxford.

“I collected money for a couple of years before Don got into the fray. I didn’t collect as much as he does but I would collect and do the Walk myself,” Gwenda said.

Don’s a great fundraising partner, because he doesn’t mind asking people for money, she added.

“I was out knocking on doors, even at midnight if I had to,” Don joked, noting that he raised $1,800 in 2016 and close to $2,000 the previous year.

It’s been a long time commitment for the couple, and especially for Gwenda, who first began fundraising as a way to get involved with the Alzheimer Society.

“My mother had Alzheimer’s and…my brother and sister were also volunteering with the Alzheimer Society. They were volunteer companions for people with dementia, but I don’t feel that I’m cut out for that,” Gwenda said.

The fundraising appealed to her.

“I think it’s something you’ve just got to feel,” she said. It was her mothers’ death in 2004 that helped push Gwenda to raise money for the Alzheimer Society.

The Walk itself is enjoyable and good exercise, she added.

Now she takes care of the logistics – keeping a careful list of all their donors and the funds raised.

“That’s why we do it together. He collects and I do the bookwork,” Gwenda said.

Don knows lots of potential donors in Tillsonburg thanks to more than two decades at the helm of a local auto shop. With his current volunteer and social commitments, there’s no shortage of prospective donors.

“Everybody knows him when they see him coming,” Gwenda said of Don’s hunt for donations.

Most importantly for Gwenda and Don, it’s a great cause – one that touches millions across the country.

“I’m sure most people have come across this disease in their family or somewhere,” Gwenda said.

For Don, it’s about supporting the community.

“I like to help people, and this is a great way.”

Gwenda and Don Martin are both in their 80s and live in Tillsonburg.

Last Updated: 11/08/2017