Drew Semple has been actively involved with Bethlehem Housing and Support Services for nearly 30 years.
Drew is a long-term member of the St. Thomas Church, which is one of the downtown churches that helped to create Bethlehem Housing.
After retiring in 2010, Drew decided to join the Board of Directors for Bethlehem Housing from 2011-17. When asked what drove his decision to become a board member he said, “I have always been interested in the issue of housing and the impact it has on people.”
For Drew, the most challenging aspect of being a board member wasn’t the difficulty of work, but keeping up with the growth of the organization. He added, “Over the last few years I was particularly impressed and excited because as an organization we have been able to expand our services and secure new sources of revenue.”
Although this may have been a challenge at times, it is also one of Drew’s greatest achievements as a board member. The feeling that he was contributing to the wellbeing of the community he lives in was very rewarding.
Drew explained, “By serving on the board for Bethlehem, I quickly recognized that the community is what leads to enjoyment in my life. This inspired me to give back to make Niagara just a little bit better for the people living here.”
Raised in Toronto, Drew graduated from Urban Regional Planning at the University of Toronto. Throughout his career he has lived in several different places including Ottawa, France and finally resided in St. Catharines. He worked for the Niagara Region in policy planning from 1977 up until he retired in 2010.
Drew has served on the board and supported a number of other organizations and initiatives. He has been a warden twice for the St. Thomas Church, he sat on two co-operative housing boards in the 1980’s and he currently sits on the board for a water protection committee after the E. coli outbreak in Walkerton.
In his free time Drew enjoys cycling and photography. He is a member of the Niagara Freewheelers Bicycle Club and the St. Catharines Photography Club. He is also taking advantage of his retirement by travelling. He recently visited France, the Low Countries and Italy, and would like to see more of Canada.
Apart from his family, Drew is most passionate about serving the community and helping those in need. This weekend he will be participating in a bike ride to help bring a refugee family from Turkey to Canada.
His plans for the future of his retirement are to stay more involved with things that benefit the community. He said, “I plan to stay happy, healthy, active and informed.”
Thank you Drew, for your time as a board member at Bethlehem Housing and for your committment to our community!