Nominations open for Nelson’s Citizen of the Year award

Winner of the 56-year-old award to be announced March 11

“When you love the place you live, giving back to your community is a pleasure.” The late Lois Arnesen, a lifelong Nelson resident, was named Nelson’s Citizen of the Year in 2012. File photo

“When you love the place you live, giving back to your community is a pleasure.” The late Lois Arnesen, a lifelong Nelson resident, was named Nelson’s Citizen of the Year in 2012. File photo

Nelson’s citizen of the year award is back, and nominations are open.

The award will recognize someone who has made a significant difference in the lives of people in Nelson through volunteer work.

Nominations can be made online at

The winner will be announced in the March 11 edition of the Nelson Star. The award is sponsored by Nelson and District Credit Union, Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, and the Nelson Star.

The first Citizen of the Year award was given in 1964 to Helen Morris, whose main volunteer activity was for the Red Cross. From that day to 2019, the award was organized and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, with the Nelson Star joining as a sponsor in 2016.

After the 2018 award was given to David Hogg in 2019, the Knights of Columbus stepped back from its role and there was no award given last year.

Over the years, the awards have taken place at a number of venues with a dinner catered by various people. For about the past 15 years, the awards were celebrated with a dinner at the St. Joseph school gym, opening with a procession by the Kootenay Kiltie Pipe Band, then a feast prepared by the city’s Italian community, followed by congratulatory speeches for the award winner.

This year’s awards will be given online because of the pandemic.

Previous citizens of the year

1964: Helen Morris, Red Cross

1965: Elwyn Owens, community service

1966: Helen Catley, community service, Mt. St. Francis

1967: William Young, Shriners, special needs children

1968: Mabel Cartwight, community service

1969: Margaret Barwis, community service

1970: Cornelius Van Pelt, community service

1971: Joan Lefeaux, community service, especially children

1972: David Fairbank, community service, Jubilee Manor

1974: Ben Sutherland, Shriners, special needs children

1976: Frank Hufty, community service

1977: Everett Kuhn, community service, square dancing

1978: Gordon Hoover, Kiwanis Club, Boy Scouts, junior sports

1979: Laura Maglio, community service, Guides, Brownies

1980: June Dolman, musical arts, fashion classes

1981: Mas Fujibayashi, youth sports

1982: Corrine Massey, community service

1983: Inez Eckmire, community service, veterans

1984: Walter Waite, founder mid-summer curling bonspiel

1985: Lloyd Miskiman, snowfest co-ordinator

1986: Bob Allen, Shriners, search and rescue

1987: Rocco Mastrobuono, hospital equipment

1988: Betty Drew, library, hospital, music festival

1989: Debbie Kozak, special needs children

1990: Margaret Murphy, community service

1991: Doug McDonald, music to shut-ins

1992: Les Clarkson, community service

1993: Shawn Lamb, museum, arts council

1994: Fran Horan, community service

1995: Bert Daynard, community service

1996: Bob Nuyens, community service

1997: Jim and Nancy Dow, special Olympics

1998: Amelia Fukala, Legion, Guides, Eagles, curling

1999: Margaret Stacey, community service, music, arts

2000: Marguerite Santor, community service, junior hockey

2001: Frances Welwood, community service

2002: Alan R. Ramsden, community service Museum Arts Boy Scouts

2003: Bruce Morrison, community service Osprey Foundation

2004: Al Craft, community service, water rescue

2005: Debra Zeeben, community service, Hospital Foundation

2006: Dr. Ken Muth, community service, health

2007: Douglas Stoddart, community service

2008: Dr. John Mackay, community service, health

2009: Mathilde Klassen, community service, music and arts

2010: Bill McDonnell, community service, sports

2011: Bruce Halstead, community service

2012: Lois Arnesen, community service, welcome wagon

2013: Peter Defeo, community service, fire department

2014: Barry Nelson, community service, car co-op, social justice

2015: Susanne Raschdorf, community service

2016: Helen Jamieson, community service, conservation and animal care

2017: Kim Charlesworth, community service

2018: David Hogg, community service, pipe band

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