Holly and Mark Patterson chose to make Ottawa home ten years ago, and have been giving back to their chosen city ever since. Active community volunteers, it’s their work at The Ottawa Mission which is particularly meaningful to the couple, allowing them to give and receive joy in equal amounts.
Holly and Mark have been part of holiday meals at The Mission since 2007, treating the many hundreds of people who walk through the doors as they would a guest in their own home – with dignity, respect and kindness. They help to create a spirit of compassion and generosity within a community of people who need – and deserve – it most, and for that, Holly and Mark Patterson are two of #150GreatPeople in Ottawa. Here, they answer the questionnaire:
What makes Ottawa special to you?
We moved here from the UK 10 yrs ago and instantly loved it. When we arrived we were a young(ish) couple who had been married for 16yrs. Due to Mark’s military career in the Royal Air Force we traveled, partied and had a blast but it was 2 yrs after we moved here that we settled down, bought a house and had our son Caiden. After many years of moving from base to base in England we chose to end Mark’s career in Canada to now call Ottawa home.
What do you love most about living and working in Ottawa?
It is a beautiful city with beautiful people. Never before have we lived anywhere so giving, so kind and so charitable. From the United Way campaign to the Charity Galas, dedicated volunteer websites, school volunteer hours, kids sports run entirely by volunteers and more, this is a city that cares and is always trying to help all aspects of society. We love that.
The work that you do helps to make Ottawa a better place – why is this important to you?
It’s not about helping Ottawa be a better place, it’s about helping people in Ottawa feel valued and cared for. For them to know that whatever they’ve gone through and continue to endure there are people that genuinely want to see them smile. The banter and laughter on Bingo night is infectious and seeing groups of friends and families sit down to celebrate a Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter meal together in the Mission is what it’s all about.
You give back to the Ottawa community in various ways – is there one Ottawa-related achievement of which you are most proud?
This, although we don’t think we deserve this recognition. This city is held together by people that give their time, energy, money and hearts on a regular basis. We’re just happy to be part of that very special community.
What do you hope for Ottawa in the future?
Ottawa is already a fantastic city but of course we hope for more. We’d love to see a lot more help available for young and old who are battling mental health demons or who are struggling to break their dependencies on drugs and alcohol. We’d love to see a city without homelessness, where everyone has a safe place to call home and opportunities for everyone to be successful. Currently, what may be perceived as unattainable, with the incredible efforts of the fantastic people in this city, is possible.