Search begins for new Trail-Warfield citizen of year

If the same face is seen at every charity event, whether it be serving hot lunches to students, flipping pancakes on Canada Day or selling trees at Christmas, then a local organization wants to know.

The Knights of Columbus is asking residents to send in nominations for the Trail and Warfield Citizen of the Year Award.

“We’re looking for any and all volunteers can be nominated, and anybody can nominate anyone whether they are young or old or in between,” said Brian Volpatti.

The criteria are simple: the person has to be a volunteer and a resident of either Trail of Warfield.

It doesn’t matter what organization they volunteer for or how often, and sometimes it’s a person who comes up with a good idea for that year, said Volpatti.

Last year’s winner, Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson, is a perfect example of a tireless community contributor. She volunteers up to 40 hours a week, not including her duties on Trail city council and numerous committees.

“It’s always been a part of my life,” she said. “We were brought up to give what you have, to volunteer – that’s just what you do.”

The Knights of Columbus choose a panel of three anonymous, independent judges to assess and rank all nominees. The judges select two winners just in case the one chosen refuses the honour.

“We’re disappointed when that happens, but we declare the second choice the winner. Of course we never tell anyone who the first one was and they always have very good reasons.”

Residents can nominate volunteers without their knowledge – as such individuals often don’t seek recognition but instead, find personal rewards in the giving, said Gattafoni-Robinson.

“It’s a great honour, people don’t expect it and you don’t do things in the community to get something like this, but sometimes to be recognized is a very humbling experience. You want to do community service and to me, nothing’s more richer than that.”

The annual honour has been awarded since 1957 and will be presented at a public ceremony on May 3 at 7 p.m. at St. Michael’s School, kicking off Silver City Days festivities.

Nomination forms are available at Trail City Hall, the Warfield village office, the Trail Library or at Kootenay Savings in Trail, Warfield and Waneta Plaza. The deadline for submission is April 1 at noon.