I congratulate the Summerland Review for last week’s editorial on our community awards, Honouring Service. This topic requires discussion by our community.
In 1938, Summerland’s Municipal Council made the decision to honour volunteerism and good citizenship.
To ensure politics did not taint the selection process, municipal council gave the task to the Board of Trade (now named the Chamber of Commerce).
The reeve (mayor) of the day, Reid Johnston donated the Good Citizen trophy.
Over the years, the Board of Trade and Chamber of Commerce honoured not only our good citizens but other volunteers who had made significant contributions to Summerland.
These awards included, Sportsman of the Year, Coach of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Youth of the Year, Arts and Cultural Award and of course the Good Citizen Award. On four occasions, the President’s Award has been given for outstanding service to Summerland.
In recent years, Summerland’s Community Awards program has morphed into a business excellence award ceremony.
This was never the intent of the community.
Over the last few years, sadly, Summerland has lost several prominent citizens: citizens who made significant contributions to Summerland. Our community was never given an opportunity to thank these people.
Summerland Municipal Council should create an independent Community Awards Committee and restore the intentions of acknowledging volunteerism and good citizenship.