FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Lido Theatre was packed to the rafters on Thursday night for the 11th Annual Fort St. John Community Awards.
The winners were selected after nominations were sent in to the City in February and March. A four-member panel consisting of Pool Manager Karin Carlson and Councillors Gord Klassen, Trevor Bolin, and Larry Evans then rated each of the nominees to choose the eventual winner.
The evening began with one of two acoustic performances by local firefighter and CBC Searchlight Top 100 finalist Adam Wynn, before the Crystal Cup Organizing Committee spoke to the audience about the incredible showing from the community in support of the Crystal Cup, which has been held on Charlie Lake every year since 2012.
The Literacy Award was the first of the evening’s awards to be presented, which was given out to Kim Boettcher. Boettcher wasn’t at the gala so the award was accepted on behalf by her friend Jane Drew.
“I was very honored to be nominated for this community award, along with all the other very deserving people in this category, congratulations to all of you. When we work collectively in the area of literacy everyone benefits as literacy skills help open doors to a better future.”
The Cultural award was presented to Catherine Ruddell. Ruddell was unable to attend the gala as she is currently in Italy, so her sister accepted the award on her behalf.
“I want to thank you all so much for the nomination and the award, I will always call Fort St. John home in my heart, and some of my greatest joys in my life include interactions I’ve had with my community whether it be at the cafe or the art gallery.”
The Youth Award was presented to Hunter Faminow who kept his acceptance speech short and sweet.
“I don’t have a fancy speech, thank you so much. Keep volunteering, youth really matters.”
After a brief intermission that included another acoustic set from Wynn, Grey Cup winner and former CFL All Star Doug Petersen delivered the evening’s keynote address.
“Its a strong sense of community (Fort St. John), and family that were celebrating here tonight that drew me back here. My sense of identity is tied to this area, I don’t feel like a faceless individual in a large suburban center. Here I know my neighbors, and they know me.”
After Petersen’s speech, the Recreation Award was the next to be given out, with the winners being none other than the event’s opening speakers – the Crystal Cup Organizing Committee.
“Thank you to our families, the people that sacrifice the time at home. We go missing for a large part of January-February, out in the middle of a lake. We dedicate a lot of time away from our children, girlfriends, wives, spouses and everything in between. So thank you for letting this happen.”
28 residents were nominated for the Humanitarian Award, which was awarded to Kim Wilson and the rest of the North Peace Seniors Housing Society.
“Our community gives back to this community, its been said throughout tonight and you’ve heard some great stories about our community. This award is not deserving to us, it is really deserving to everybody, to all the other 28 recipients who were a part of the humanitarian award. I wish we had 28 of them to give out because you all deserve this and from the bottom of my heart I would give up this award to all of you because you make this community better, so thank you.”
Mayor Lori Ackerman was on hand to present the Mayor’s Citizen of the Year Award, with Adam Reaburn being named as this year’s recipient.
“The award for me is really about Moose FM, without their support we couldn’t do what we do. The 14 people that are there every day make it possible to do the things we do. Also the community, as an independently owned radio station we are one of six left in the country, so the community has allowed us to continue to operate coming on 15 years now. Of course I have to recognize my wife and daughter who put up with all the stuff I get myself into, so thank you.”
Mayor Ackerman concluded the event by thanking each and every member of the community for their contributions. Referencing both Faminow’s speech and a talk delivered by a guest speaker at the Community Development Institute’s guest speaker series, Ackerman spoke about the importance of youth in the Energetic City.
“One of the ways to kill your community is forget the youth. We will always remember”