It's something she has taken to heart her entire life, and it's a belief that continues to drive her volunteer efforts in Sudbury.
Born and raised in the Nickel City, Hastie has a longstanding history of serving the community through her involvement in many organizations and committees, most notably the city's Seniors Advisory Panel, the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, of which she is the current chair, and more recently, Greater Sudbury Police Services' board on racial and multicultural relations.
Her volunteerism and community spirit earned her an Ontario Senior Achievement award, the province's highest recognition for seniors over 65. The award honours seniors who have made an outstanding contribution to their community through voluntary or professional activities, such as the arts, community service, voluntarism, education and fitness.
While she said she is flattered by the award, she doesn't really believe in individual awards when a person is part of a group or committee working to better their community.
“I have always been involved in community activities,” Hastie told Northern Life. “My community is only going to be as good as the people who build it. That's why I do what I do, to make Sudbury a better place.”
Hastie is one of 20 seniors being recognized this year. She travelled to Toronto this past week to receive her award.
“It was given to us in the lieutenant-governor's suite, and it was exciting, certainly, to be there and be part of that pomp and circumstance," she said.
“Today’s recipients of the Ontario Senior Achievement Award have given so much of themselves to improving the quality of life in this province,” said Lt.-Gov. David C. Onley in a press release. “I am delighted to honour these worthy seniors with this important award.”
For the past decade, Hastie has been helping provide insight to city council on behalf of seniors as part of the Seniors Advisory Panel. She has chaired the panel for the past eight years.
“I think our seniors are well-represented right now, but I think the issues that affect all of our community don't affect seniors in the same way,” she said. “Things as simple as an increase in property taxes has potential to tax out of their own home seniors on a fixed income.”
It's the panel's job to remind council that when making decisions for all Sudburians, to keep seniors in mind.
“(Council) is talking about building new convention centres and new arenas, but what's that going to do to seniors, other than maybe increase their property taxes,” she said. “When they talk about these issues, they always have to remember that a large percentage of their population is over the age of 65, and these issues may affect that population differently.
“I'm not saying that the current council isn't talking about these issues without seniors in mind, but it's the role of the panel to ensure we aren't forgotten.”
Hastie said its her involvement with the advisory panel that led to her involvement with other organizations such as the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
As chair of the network, a 14-member board comprised of representatives from right across the province, Hastie helps guide it in raising awareness about the abuse and neglect of older adults. Its mission is to create an Ontario that is free from abuse for all seniors, through education, training, collaboration, service co-ordination and advocacy.
“We're moving toward becoming more active in terms of fundraising for elder abuse prevention,” she said. “As everyone knows, the government doesn't seem to have any more money. We're looking at the capacity of our board to become more geared toward raising funds that we have in the past.”
Hastie has also been an active member of Elizabeth Fry Society in Sudbury for past 20 years, where she has helped raise money through the society's annual tour of homes — money that is put back into the community, she said.
Last year, at the North East Geriatric Care Conference, Hastie was presented with an award for being a community champion.