He felt like a fish out of water.
The Village of Montrose saluted its Citizen of the Year, Walter Crockett, by presenting him with the 2012 Community Service Award at a picnic during Montrose Day festivities at the beginning of the month.
“It was a real surprise to me,” said Crockett. “I like to be on the outside looking in, or on the inside looking out—however you want to look at it. I’d sooner be on the outside looking in at somebody else getting something like this, not me.”
Despite his initial shock about receiving the award, the recognition came as a relief to Crockett.
He received a phone call from the mayor during the water restrictions that were previously imposed on the village and assumed he was being fined.
“When the mayor phoned me to tell me I got this citation kind of thing, I said, ‘My God I haven’t been using any extra water,’” Crockett explained. “And then he told me what it was and I was kind of relieved about that.”
Crockett wasn’t sure who did “most of the kudos” for him to receive the award, but his neighbours attest that he is simply his own worst critic.
“I’ve known Walter for a long time and he’s been very community oriented and very helpful—especially with the BC Old Time Fiddlers group,” said his neighbour Grace Terness.
“He has always been very involved in helping out and volunteering his time to promote fiddling.”
When he’s not fiddling around, Crockett organizes food drives and repairs small engines in his garage. Perhaps, it’s a hobby that stemmed from volunteering with the Montrose fire department in the 60s and 70s. But Crockett’s keen interest in music has been instrumental for community development in Montrose.
“I was a banjo player,” he said laughing. “But I was playing around with a fiddle for awhile when I had my own band going. And then I had my own band for about 40 years—which I still do—we’re called the Rusty Nails.”
And 40 years later, he is still volunteering to bring music to the community at public events with the Old Time Fiddlers and the Rusty Nails.
“I play mostly at the old folks homes and things like that,” he said. “It puts a smile on their faces and a twinkle on their toes. That’s what it’s all about—it’s worth a whole pot of gold just to see the smiles on their faces.”