Potton Heritage Association

2012 Culture and Heritage Prize : Mr. Fred Korman

Welcome to everyone!

In 2011 the Culture and Heritage Prize for the Municipality was awarded for the first time. The institution of this prize is intended to be an annual event. Though it may be a modest gesture, it is one posed with sincerity and in recognition of a significant contribution of a Potton resident to the cultural life and preservation of heritage in our Municipality.

This year it is our pleasure to honour Fred Korman and to welcome his wife, Lilian and their daughter Carole. The Korman name needs no introduction, for it is a familiar one in Potton. But to some here today, Mr. Korman’s face is perhaps not as familiar. Both Fred and Lilian personify the adage of keeping one’s shoulder to the wheel and one’s nose to the grindstone! It is something of a minor miracle to lure Fred away from the ski hill, particularly one as busy as to-day for Owl’s Head. And to have the family together in one place is an accomplishment.

Before we begin –: Word has it that September marks significant personal occasions for Fred and Lilian Korman. How many among us can claim our wedding anniversary on one day, our birthday on the day following, and the very next, our wife’s birthday. Happy belated anniversary to you and Lilian. Happy belated birthday to each of you!

Fred Korman was the Mayor of the Municipality from 1965 to 1969, when the Province Hill covered bridge, a part of the Potton landscape for decades, was scheduled for demolition since a new « bridge » had been built. The covered bridge which had seen so much of our history was to be removed by the Ministère des Transports, and work for its demolition was about to commence. In a unilateral move, Mayor Fred Korman went on-site and insisted that the planned demolition immediately be stopped. Seeing no practical purpose in its destruction and many good reasons for its preservation, he convinced the MTQ to leave our old bridge in tact. For that reason alone, we thank Fred for his foresight and action.

To-day it is one of few covered bridges left in Quebec of the hundreds which once dotted our landscape, as certainly was the case 50 years ago. Then, our world was somewhat different. The Pont de la frontière is a unique calling card for tourism in our Municipality.

Thus, Fred was a man ahead of his time in saving the covered bridge. I do not know if his decision was met with immediate support or disapproval – but one thing is clear : Since we still have the bridge – others have shared his vision.

Over the years Fred has loaned the name of Owl’s Head Development Inc. to endeavors of the Potton Heritage Association, beginning in 1997 when his company joined with other prominent names in Potton to underwrite some of the costs in producing « Potton d’antan – Yesterdays of Potton » and all of the activities which surrounded the bicentennial of the founding of the Township of Potton.

He is a man who has always supported his community. From church suppers to sophisticated music festivals, he has helped shoulder the burden and advance the promotion of the Municipality. Over the years, not only are Autumnfest and Oktoberfest growing in popularity but they are activities in which Potton Heritage Association partners with Owl’s Head – ergo Fred Korman. These events draw large crowds to the Mountain and to Potton – bringing economic gains to all businesses in Potton. As an Association, Potton Heritage values Fred’s continued support and appreciates the courtesies extended to us.

A businessman of considerable acumen and shrewdness, Fred Korman is one of Potton’s success stories. He is a native son, and with others in the Korman family has contributed significatively to the economic development and employment in this Township. He still runs Fred Korman Electric, a company particularly active in bringing power into southern Quebec through construction of sub-stations from the network of dams and power generating plants in the North.

At a time in life, when society would seem to dictate retirement for Fred and Lilian Korman, both are seen still actively working at the Mountain and Golf.

Potton’s Multicultural festival parade would not be quite the same without the presence of Lilian and Carole mounted on their beautiful horses. Both are accomplished horsewomen. I would venture to say they have not missed one parade since the inception of the Festival.

On behalf of my fellow citizens, I am happy to present the 2012 Culture and Heritage Prize for Potton to Mr. Fred Korman. Congratulations, Fred.

Sandra Jewett