Remembering 'Mikey': A Touching Tribute for Late Powerline Instructor
Windsor, Ontario - When Powerline Technician Faculty Mike Barton-Hill passed away after suffering a stroke in the fall, his students were determined to do something to keep his memory alive.

And a packed pig roast celebration at the Thames Campus last month did just that.

"There wasn't a person that didn't like Mike," said Tyler Meijer, a second-year Powerline student. "He was full of life and always had a grin on his face."

Meijer and other students had decided to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

From left, TSI President Alexander Fraser, TSI Operations Manager Stephanie Woodall, Powerline Technician student Tyler Meijer, Heart and Stroke Foundation Program Coordinator Katrina Ancheta and Powerline Technician Coordinator Gary Keith.
From left, TSI President Alexander Fraser, TSI Operations Manager Stephanie Woodall, Powerline Technician student Tyler Meijer, Heart and Stroke Foundation Program Coordinator Katrina Ancheta and Powerline Technician Coordinator Gary Keith.

Every year, the Thames Students Incorporated hosts an event called Pigfest to celebrate the end of the winter term in April. Together, the Powerline students and the TSI teamed up and decided that this year's event would be used as an opportunity to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation in honour of Barton-Hill.

"Mikey was here at St. Clair as an instructor since the start of the Powerline Technician program in fall 2011, so it really meant a lot for the students to do this in honour of him," said Gary Keith, Coordinator of the Powerline Technician program. "He was a really good guy – a very colourful person. You always knew he was in the room. It was just the way he carried himself and always made everyone laugh."

Meijer and other students promoted the event with flyers posted throughout Chatham and on social media. He also set up a way people could directly donate to the Heart and Stroke Foundation online in honour of Barton-Hill.

At the event – which attracted about 300 people – attendees were given the chance to take bucket rides in one of the Powerline program's aerial lifts for a donation. When people heard about the cause, they were extremely touched and motivated to pitch in, said Meijer. EnWin Utilities also attended the event and donated $1,000 to the cause, and the TSI also donated $1,000.

Meijer said he and his fellow Powerline students were thrilled that the grand total they were able to raise and donate to honour their former instructor and friend was an impressive $3,500.

"It just goes to show you how many people he touched," said Meijer. "He was a great teacher and a great guy and is missed by many."

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