By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – It’s a tradition that began almost a half century ago. The annual selection of Citizen of the Year was started by the Morinville Lions Club in the late 1960s and continues 45 years later with the service club’s desire to shine a spotlight on those who give their all for their community.
“It started in 1968. The Lions wanted to recognize people in the community who had gone above and beyond as volunteers,” said Morinville Lions Club President Carrie Foss, adding the event began in connection with Morinville’s Frontier Days and eventually became a Lions Club component of the Town’s Volunteer Appreciation Night.”
Though the venue has changed, the motivation behind the award has not. “The judging has changed minimally over the years,” Foss said. “It’s residents of Morinville that have contributed to the community – whether it’s an individual, a family or a couple.”
Looking for special qualifications
Residents have less than two weeks to nominate that exceptional person or family they feel are worthy of being recognized as Citizen of the Year. Nomination deadline is Apr. 12 and the winner will be announced Apr. 26 during the Town of Morinville’s Volunteer Appreciation Night at the Community Cultural Centre.
The recognition is open to any individual or family who has made a significant contribution to the community. Nominations should include how long the nominee has been a resident of Morinville, their group involvement or involvements, accomplishments over the past year and past 10 years as well as commentary on the nominee’s commitment and personal involvement in the community.
A committee of three Lions members and the previous Citizen of the Year judge all nominations, which are kept confidential. If the previous year’s recipient is a Lions Club member the Citizen of the Year Committee select a citizen at large to join them in reviewing the nominees.
Because the nominations are not viewed until the group gets together to select the winner, all nominations have traditionally been sent by mail. That process has changed this year in that the Lions have set up a special e-mail address that will not be viewed until the nomination committee meets to select this year’s recipient.
Foss said the club only received two nominations last year. There is a belief opening the process up to a more convenient form of communication will encourage more people to nominate worthy candidates for the award.
The recipient has their name added to the Citizen of the Year trophy, an honour shared with a long line of Morinville residents trailing back to the late 1960s.
Nominations can be sent by mail to The Morinville Lions Club - Box 3150 - Morinville, AB - T8R1S1 or by email to email@example.com. For more information contact Jim Turner at 780-939-3920.