Jack and Pauline Jablonsky of Beaver Falls are the recipients of this year’s Beaver Valley Citizens of the Year award.
The pair is recognized for their tireless dedication to helping others as well as their passion for volunteering.
“It’s always been something we enjoy doing together,” said Jack.
They share a lengthy and varied list of volunteer work. Whether taking time to help with school activities or volunteering at the Poplar Ridge Pavilion, the two have spent the majority of their time helping others.
It’s remarkable that a couple which has been married for over 50 years grew up only a few houses away from each other. Jack and Pauline have fond memories of playing together as children in Trail and eating ice cream at Jack’s father’s grocery store.
They were married in 1965, and are the proud parents of five children. Pauline stayed home with the children while Jack worked at Cominco until he retired in 1997.
They have chosen to live in the Trail area for most of their lives, and have called Beaver Falls home for the past 31 years.
“You’re close to Kootenay Lake and Christina Lake, what more could you want,” laughed Pauline.
The two have been active volunteers for most of their lives. Both were very involved in their children’s activities with everything from figure skating to baseball.
In 1986, Jack’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was forced to move to Columbia View Lodge. Soon after, Pauline’s parents did the same. To make the transition easier, the two began volunteering at the lodge. They instantly fell in love with the residents and staff and have been returning ever since.
“The residents are so appreciative, it makes it so easy for us to go back,” said Pauline.
The list of activities the two have been involved in at Columbia View seems endless. Barbecues, bingo nights, decorating, crafts, borscht lunches, bartending, bake sales, and the list goes on.
Jack and Pauline have contributed over 10,000 hours of service at the Columbia view lodge alone.
“It’s a lot of fun. It helps us not to veg,” joked Jack.
One of their favorite activities was the planning and building of the Columbia View parade floats. Some of Jack’s ingenious designs could be seen in parades throughout the Kootenays.
“The floats were a great way to get the residents involved,” recalled Jack .
It’s hard to believe that Jack and Pauline were surprised to receive the honour.
“It doesn’t seem like we should be getting an award. But we are very grateful to be recognized.”
Retired police officer Joe Stochmanski is a long time member of the Citizen of the Year selection committee.
“The work they do means a heck of a lot to a lot of people,” he said. “Jack and Pauline really want to make a better community. They never ask for anything in return.”
The couple will soon be taking a much-deserved vacation from volunteering. Jack hopes to get back to fishing and wood carving, while Pauline would like to relax and spend some time in the garden.
“They will be hard to replace,” added Joe. “The work they do benefits not only Beaver Valley, but the whole Trail area.”
The Jablonskys will also be receiving the Paul Harris award. The $1,000 award, given by Rotary International, will be donated to charity in their name.
The awards will be presented on May 28 at Haines Park in Fruitvale. The presentation will be followed by a reception at the Beaver Valley Curling Rink.
Instead of working hard to build a float, Jack and Pauline will be riding in one as guests of honour at this year’s parade.