The Ashcroft/Cache Creek Rotary Club honoured its Citizens of the Year at a luncheon on March 10, with some three dozen people in attendance to see presentations to Cache Creek’s Carmen Ranta and Ashcroft’s Stefanie Walker.
Karma Kubbernus, President of the club, said that she was proud to continue the Citizen of the Year tradition, now in its 11th year. Theresa Takacs, who nominated Ranta for the award, said that she looked up to people who give to their community, which is why she put Ranta’s name forward, citing her work with groups such as Communities in Bloom, the Desert Bells handbell choir, and the Sage Sound Singers. “She brings the choir to new heights,” said Takacs. “People with no musical background feel proud of their progress.”
She also described Ranta’s actions after the flood of May 23 last year. “Her first reaction was ‘What can I do to help?’ She put out a message asking for volunteers to help out, and encouraged people to knock on doors to see if someone needed help. Her focus was to keep people positive.”
Takacs said that when she learned of the Rotary nomination process, she knew in her heart that Ranta was the right choice, for her “tirelessness, courage, and deep faith.”
In accepting the honour, Ranta said that the Cache Creek and Ashcroft region has been a land of opportunity. “I’ve been honoured to work with so many wonderful and talented people. There are so many great people in rural areas, and it’s amazing how supportive and encouraging the communities have been.”
Andrea Walker, who nominated Stefanie for the award, said that some people might find it odd that a mother-in-law would nominate her daughter-in-law. She said that when Stefanie moved to Ashcroft she didn’t know anyone, but that it didn’t take her long to get involved.
“She embraced our community,” said Andrea. “She’s dedicated and hardworking, and is a very familiar face in our schools.” She noted that Stefanie was instrumental in getting the Ashcroft HUB up and running, volunteers for the annual Christmas hamper program, and helps the Ashcroft Communities in Bloom group. “Whenever we need more hands and more people, she’s right there.
“When you have two young children and are also working it’s difficult to find the time to volunteer. Without people like Stefanie, our community wouldn’t look the way it does.”
Stefanie said that she does what she does because she believes the community is our children. “I volunteer because of them and to be with them. I do this to make this a better place for ourselves and our children. Without volunteers we wouldn’t have soccer or hockey or so many other things for our children.”
Cache Creek Councillor David Dubois said that Ranta was one of the people who makes small towns great, while Ashcroft Councillor Alf Trill thanked Stefanie for all her hard work, noting that “Being there as a parent makes a big impact on your children.”
Kubbernus presented the award to Stefanie Walker, and Sandra Talarico presented the award to Ranta.