When one uses the phrase "true gentleman" to describe a man, a certain type of individual comes to mind. John Hiltz is such a man. John has been a familiar face around the Berwick sports scene for over seventy years and his enthusiasm for and commitment to community sports and recreation is well known. John deserves recognition for several facets of his sporting life: his own athletic accomplishments; his constant support for and encouragement of a high level of sportsmanship and integrity in all sporting endeavors; his life-long commitment to personal physical fitness; and most noteworthy, his outstanding record of volunteerism in the interest of sport and recreation in his community. This wonderful record of community service has remained almost unbroken for all the years John has lived in Berwick except for the years he served overseas in World War II as a member of the RCAF.
John's own athletic achievements include baseball and hockey at the high school, Junior and Intermediate levels during the 1930's. He was a member of the Berwick Three Stars - a hockey team already inducted into the Berwick Hall of Fame. In fact, John continued to play shinny hockey until his late 60's. John is likely one of the few people who has played hockey in both the old and present Berwick arenas. Many Berwick residents remember John for his high quality and refined tennis game - a sport he actively played until his 71st birthday and which has earned him lifetime membership in the Berwick tennis club. John's life-long dedication and commitment to his own physical fitness is enviable. In 1988, he was an official torch carrier in the Olympic torch run. We still see him today taking his daily walk around town.
It is John's tremendous record of community volunteerism that sets him apart. He began his record nearly seventy years ago when he served as President of the Berwick Tennis Club in 1934 and continued this association with the club for the next sixty-plus years. He held numerous positions and roles with the club and, as well, frequently instructed and coached at tennis camps and clinics. He is a veteran member of the Berwick Fire Department and his contributions to the Berwick Gala Days, through coordinating and scheduling the volunteers for the admission booth, has extended for over fifty years. Many Berwick residents will fondly remember John for his tireless hours of work as groundskeeper for the many exemplary softball teams of the 1960's - a job that John has often described as a "labour of love" because he so enjoyed making a contribution to these excellent teams. To honour John's life-long dedication to making his community a better place for all, he was awarded the Nova Scotia Volunteer of the Year Award for Berwick in 1998. This exemplary record of commitment to Berwick sports and recreation clearly deserves recognition in the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.