Barry Nelson was 2015's Citizen of the Year.

Barry Nelson was 2015's Citizen of the Year.

Who will be the 51st Citizen of the Year?

The Nelson Star has once again teamed up with the Knights of Columbus to recognize community service.

The Nelson Star is once again teaming up with the Knights of Columbus to find 2015’s Citizen of the Year, and if you have someone in mind nominations are now open.

“I think there was relief from the community that Citizen of the Year was given a second life through our help last year,” Star publisher Chuck Bennett said. “The Knights of Columbus didn’t have the resources to continue so we stepped forward to fill that void.”

The award has been presented for 50 years. Last year’s winner was transportation advocate Barry Nelson. The common denominator among all previous winners, according to Bennett, is selflessness.

“Citizen of the Year recognizes more than one year. It’s more a lifetime of service. We’re looking for someone who’s committed to an organization and put some time into it, weathered the ups and downs.”

But it’s not enough to just have one passion project.

“When I look back at the list, these people have definitely had things they champion. But they also take on other things so not just the car share or Nelson Minor Hockey. You tend to see their names associated with all kinds of things. Service goes across who they are.”

Bennett grew up in the Catholic Church and his father is a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was thrilled to throw his weight behind the award.

“I was quite honoured to be able to carry it forward, personally. The Knights of Columbus have gotten a bit older, and we’ve got a young group of people who can bring some energy to it.”

He thinks the recognition is important. “Citizens of the Year are really passionate about making our community better. Wherever they see that need, they serve.”

This year’s winner will be celebrated at a dinner in early April.

To nominate someone, visit the Contests section on nelsonstar.com or contact Chuck or Karen Bennett at 250-352-1890.