Close to 70 people attended the dinner hosted by the Ashcroft/Cache Creek Rotary Club on March 30, to honour the Rotary Citizens of the Year for 2018: Jim Duncan (Ashcroft and area); Gary and Meghan Winslow (Cache Creek and area); and Skylar Dubois (youth).
Outgoing club president Theresa Takacs opened with a few remarks about Rotary, and spoke of how her family’s values about contributing globally eventually led her to Rotary. She introduced Bruce and Andrea Walker, who had nominated Duncan, and Bruce said that one of the reasons for nominating Duncan was because he spends so much of his time volunteering. “We need volunteers so much, to provide extras. And Jim’s not just a volunteer, he works hard and he’s a really good organizer.”
Andrea noted some of the organizations that Duncan has worked with over the years, including the Thompson View Manor Society, the Ashcroft Curling Club, Soup’s On, St. Alban’s Anglican Church, the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society, and the Ashcroft and District Fall Fair Society.
“Jim is instrumental in the set-up and take-down of the fair, along with his merry band of men,” she said. “And we’ve all been honoured to see the WRAPS productions and Jim’s fantastic sets. WRAPS goes to him with an idea and a budget, and he comes back two days later and says ‘Yes, we can do this.’”
She also singled out Duncan’s work with the curling club—especially with the seniors—and said that he and his wife Martina were instrumental in keeping Soup’s On running. She added that it was Jim’s expertise with lights and sound that made Music in the Park and other concerts so good.
Accepting the award, presented on behalf of Interior Savings Credit Union, Duncan thanked Rotary, and said that he just did the dishes for Soup’s On. He added that he couldn’t do what he did without his crew. “I’m made by the people who work for me.”
Ashcroft mayor Barbara Roden said she was privileged to know the four honorees and acknowledged all they did. She made reference to the TV show The Week the Women Went, about a small town where all the women left for several days and the effect that had. She suggested that a TV show called The Week the Volunteers Went would be an eye-opener for many people, as it would bring home how much volunteers do in and for our communities.
Speaking of Duncan, she said that the look on his face when WRAPS presented him with set design plans was often an interesting one, but that he always came back within a day or so and said “I’ve figured out how we can do this.”
“That’s what volunteers like Jim do,” she said. “They figure out a way to do things. People say small towns are the same, but each one is unique, and that’s because of volunteers and all that they give.”
Ashcroft/Cache Creek Rotary Club president-elect David Dubois, who nominated Gary and Meghan Winslow, said that he appreciated all that the Citizens of the Year do for our communities. He called the couple “unsung heroes” who were part of the fabric of the community. He mentioned their commitment and dedication to helping out wherever they were needed, and Gary’s passion for photography, which led him to document many community events. “He’s there at everything. I don’t think there’s a kid he hasn’t photographed. We really appreciate all you both do for our community.”
Gary and Meghan accepted their award from Pam Beckett of the Royal Bank, and thanked everyone for the honour bestowed on them. Gary quoted from the documentary The Beautiful Truth, saying that when we pass, all we have done will go, and that it won’t matter where we came from: our days will be measured by what we have built and taught, not what we have bought and learned. “What will matter is your character, how many people remember you, and what memories of you will live on.”
Cache Creek mayor Santo Talarico said that he was humbled to be in the presence of people who had done so much in our communities that benefit us all. He noted that he had had the privilege of knowing Gary for many years, and said that the community of Cache Creek had been blessed by having Gary and Meghan live there and raise their family there. “Thank you for all you do.”
Desert Sands Community School principal Colleen Minnabarriet, who nominated Skylar Dubois and presented them with their award, said she was happy to be there to recognize Skylar. “Tonight we’re talking about people who show up, and Skylar shows up in a big way: physically for any grunt work that needs to be done, and every day they’re there emotionally, physically, and intellectually.”
She cited Skylar’s academic work, their work in starting a SOGI Alliance at the school, their involvement with sports, and their dedication to the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society.“I really appreciate all that Skylar has committed to, and it’s been a pleasure watching that leadership happen. Skylar started the SOGI Alliance, making sure there was a safe space for students to be heard. That took personal and public courage, and set an example for all of us. It’s been an inspiration for me.”
Skylar thanked their amazing parents. “They’ve shown me how to be Citizen of the Year material, and let me grow in my own way.” They also thanked teachers Cathy Zado (for support with the SOGI Alliance) and Roger Hannis (for basketball), and Minnabarriet: “She’s amazing.
“And thank you to this wonderful community, that’s allowed me to do these things. I’m very proud to say I live in Cache Creek and go to school in Ashcroft. People have supported me in every way, shape, and form. No one does these things for the recognition, but it’s nice.”
Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart congratulated the recipients and said it was an honour to represent the area and see the people who lead in our communities.
“I’m so pleased that Rotary continues to celebrate those citizens who are the ones you can count on, and it’s nice to see Ashcroft and Cache Creek together.
“Thank you for your service: to have you here tonight shows how much we value you.”