A sold-out crowd of more than 120 people were on hand at the Cache Creek Community Hall on April 7 to honour the Rotary Club of Ashcroft and Cache Creek’s Citizens of the Year for 2017. This year’s recipients were Joyce Beddow-Buckland and Phyllis Rainey (Ashcroft and area), Sue Peters (Cache Creek and area), and Khiara Archibald (youth).
Dinner and socializing preceded the awards, and members of the Sage Sound Singers were on hand to perform two pieces from their upcoming concert celebrating Canadian music. Rotary club president Theresa Takacs spoke briefly about the Rotary organization before Marianne Rumball, who nominated Beddow-Buckland, came to the mic to speak about why.
“She’s a woman most of us would be very happy to have in our corner,” said Rumball, formerly the manager (with her husband Don) of the Boston Flats Trailer Park. She spoke of Beddow-Buckland’s hard work and selflessness in setting up the Boston Flats Relief Society, and quoted from Proverbs 31 (“The wife of noble character”): “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”
“She treated people with dignity and good nature when she worked in long-term care,” said Rumball, noting that Beddow-Buckland brought those same characteristics to her assistance for those at Boston Flats. “People were dazed and lost last year. Joyce spearheaded the drive to keep immediate needs met, and made sure needs of fear, anger, and uncertainty were met as well.
“Her back porch was a place to go to talk, as a relief. Thank you for your love, generosity, and being so firmly in our corner.”
Beddow-Buckland said she was overwhelmed, thankful, and more than humbled by the recognition. “We started this [the relief society] nine months ago today,” she said, adding that the start came a few days after the fire, when someone showed up at her door. “She asked ‘What are we going to do?’ That person was Phyllis Rainey.
“We thought we’d get some money together, but it wasn’t just about the money. People needed help, support, places to live, and none of it would have happened without Phyllis. She was the backbone of the whole community, a computer whiz, who kept us going.”
Rainey noted that after the fire a lot of people in and around Ashcroft and Cache Creek were lost. “We needed to know what to do, where to start, and I knew from working with Joyce at the hospital that she’ll tell you exactly what to do, so I went to her.
“We got clothes, furniture, bed linens for people; we did yard sales, barbecues, a Christmas lunch. Thank you to all our volunteers and the friends who helped. The work will be ongoing for some time, at least through July or August this year.”
Karma Kubbernus, manager of Interior Savings Credit Union in Ashcroft, presented Beddow-Buckland and Rainey with their plaques, calling the women “beacons of light in our community. It’s an honour and privilege to present these to you.”
Ashcroft mayor Jack Jeyes said that “We celebrate these people for what they have done and what they have given. They do what they do naturally. I’d like to congratulate Phyllis and Joyce, and thank them from the bottom of my heart and from the Village of Ashcroft for their service.”
A pre-recorded video message from Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department (CCVFD) captain Bill Elliott explained that the entire CCVFD had nominated Cache Creek’s Sue Peters for the award. After noting the many organizations and groups that Peters—who manages the Cache Creek Husky—has been involved with over the years, Elliott said how she had come to the table during the 2017 wildfires.
“She brought endless food and supplies from her business and her home, to feed us and then the other firefighters from around the province who came to Cache Creek. She always arrived early and was usually the last to leave. She’s very deserving to be the Cache Creek Citizen of the Year.”
Peters said that she could not take sole credit for the relief efforts, citing the group of women she had behind her throughout the search for fire chief Clayton Cassidy and then the wildfires. “They’re Wonder Women Part Two,” she said, adding that she watched the Villages of Cache Creek and Ashcroft come together during both events. “I hope this continues.
“Thank you to the Cache Creek and Ashcroft fire departments, and thank you to my family and my staff. This is an unbelievable honour.”
Robin Fritz, manager of the Royal Bank in Cache Creek, presented Peters with her plaque. “It’s a privilege and an honour to present this to Sue,” she said. “I can’t think of a more deserving person.”
Cache Creek mayor John Ranta spoke of how Cache Creek was now Peters’ community, as she has amply demonstrated. “She’s faced adversity, and it’s spawned in her a resilience and strength to serve others. She was at the fire hall every day with food on the pool table, and she fed people from around the province willingly and selflessly. We’re lucky to have someone like Sue Peters living in our midst.”
Nicole Archibald said that she had nominated her daughter Khiara as Youth Citizen of the Year because of her efforts during the wildfires. “She was only 11 when the fire started, and she didn’t stop. She was at the Legion making sandwiches, and then selling jewellery and lemonade and making cupcakes to raise money, for the Ashcroft Reserve and then for the Ashcroft fire department.
“I’d come home tired at the end of the day and she’d say ‘Suck it up, Mom, people need our help.’ She gave up her whole summer and just kept going. She has a heart of gold. She raised $6,000 for the fire department—thank you to Interior Savings for the top-up—but didn’t want me to nominate her.
“They say it takes a community to raise a child, and I think we’re doing a heck of a good job with this one. Khiara, I’m so proud of you.”
Takacs presented a plaque to Archibald, who thanked her family, Interior Savings, and the Ashcroft fire department. Takacs also announced the others who had been nominated this year: Judy Service of Spences Bridge, for her huge quilt-making project that gave quilts to all on the Ashcroft Reserve and at Bostone Flats; Barbara Roden of Ashcroft, for her efforts to keep people informed with the facts, not sensationalism, during the fires; Jim Duncan of Ashcroft, for his woodworking skills that have made so many theatre productions possible; and Marina Papais and Daniel Collett of Ashcroft, for their work on the many beautiful glass mosaics around the community.
Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart congratulated all the award winners. “They are the unsung heroes in our communities, the people who quietly go about community work, and Khiara Archibald has shown great leadership.
“2017 was a tough year, but we’re strong. Those volunteers who step up without being asked: it’s because of you that we have the strength we do.”