Super volunteer sought

It may be one of the toughest jobs in town: choosing Nelson’s citizen of the year.

It may be one of the toughest jobs in town: choosing Nelson’s citizen of the year.

“There are so many people who are deserving,” says Bob Tremblay of the Knights of Columbus, the award’s sponsor since 1964. “I don’t envy the judges at all.”

The deadline for nominations is Monday at 4 p.m., and there’s often a flurry of last-minute submissions.

The award recognizes “an individual who has made the greatest contribution through volunteerism.”

“We have such a vibrant group of volunteers,” Tremblay says. “It’s so nice to have the opportunity to see the great talent within our community.”

Some years there have been up to a dozen nominees. Applications are delivered directly to Harry Sommerville, chair of the judges, who is not a member of the Knights.

“He has a panel that works with him,” Tremblay says. “They’re totally independent of the Knights. It’s a very impartial decision.”

Tremblay also encourages resubmitting nominees from past years.

“Sometimes we have a person nominated more than one year. We encourage people not to give up. It’s just that another person might have spoken loudly to the judges for some reason.”

A few times people have declined the award because they felt they were being recognized for their job rather than their volunteerism.

“They give over and above their duty, but it’s within their profession, so they say no, no, I’m paid to do that,” Tremblay explains, “even though they’re volunteering probably twice the time they get paid for. People are quite modest.”

Last year’s winner, music teacher Mathilde Klassen, required some cajoling from her family before she accepted.

“We were very pleased that was the outcome, but it’s certainly up to the person to decide,” Tremblay says.

This year’s winner should be known by mid-March, and a banquet will be held at St. Joseph’s school on either April 2 or 9, depending on the honouree’s availability.

Nomination forms are available from City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, and Sonja’s China Cabinet.

Nominees must be from the Nelson area, but don’t have to live in the city itself.