Citizen of the Year puts disputes into perspective

"If anything can derail an argument that pits one group against another it’s saluting someone who has done so much for others..."

I was all set to wade into the quagmire that is the controversy surrounding a proposed new bridge in Trail.

I was all set to spout off an opinion, weigh in on the facts and the fallacies.

I was all set to do that until I went up to St. Michael’s School last night to see Tom McEwan honoured as the Trail-Warfield Citizen of the Year.

If anything can derail an argument that pits one group against another it’s saluting someone who has done so much for others – a person who is constructive rather than destructive.

There is certainly no argument that Mr. McEwan was deserving of the special award. His dedication, kindness, sincerity and joyful outlook craft the blueprint for what we wish all citizens could be, including ourselves.

And perhaps those qualities rubbed off a bit on those in attendance.

The first thing that struck was that Trail and Warfield finally shared a common goal after an acrimonious last couple of months. Having both Trail and Warfield’s names on the award was definitely symbolic if not ironic.

While both sides of the divide came together to salute one of its citizens, maybe it’s a lesson dignitaries from both communities can take back to their respective councils when it comes to addressing the hurdles ahead.

As Brian Volpatti read off the long list of accomplishments, volunteer work and countless hours helping others by Mr. McEwan, maybe the lesson in it all is the bottom line why we love this region so much – that sense of community and our desire to help sustain it.

It’s why Tom and Edie McEwan raised a family here. It’s why they opened their home and spread the feeling of family wherever they went. It’s why so many people have been impacted by Mr. McEwan’s lifetime of devotion.

It’s that sense of family and community that keeps him going all these years and the same reason our distinctive communities and citizens should be able to get on the same page.

It may sound all too “Shangri-La” for some. Others will say I need rose-coloured glasses to get that view. Some might even throw in the word “commodious” but I don’t think it fits this missive as well as it drew laughs on Tuesday.

But Tom McEwan proves day-in-day-out that it’s not an out-of-reach goal. He proves that it is rewarding to think about others before yourself. And he proves that it can be done even here in Trail and Warfield.

As with any dedicated volunteer, Mr. McEwan struggled when it came time to accept kudos for his accomplishments. He preferred to thank the help of people in his life from his wife, to his kids to his multitude of friends.

That’s what true volunteers do. It’s never about them; it’s always about someone else.

He probably would have been much more comfortable giving a standing ovation rather than receiving one.

So it came as no surprise that when the mike was open for comments from the floor, most of them spoke of the Citizen of the Year in a loving, admiring way while mixing in some good humoured jabs.

He never scored a pivotal goal, hoisted a trophy or made the pros but he represents many of the best qualities that the Home of Champions has to offer. Many of us wish our kids grow up to be the next star athlete from this cradle of sporting success but more of us should wish our kids grow up to be the type of person Mr. McEwan represents.

It may sound silly to say but I left the gathering wanting to be a better person.

I know I can never match the list of accomplishments that follow Mr. McEwan, and that certainly isn’t my goal.

But if in some small way I can make a little bit of the world a better place then that’s a step in the right direction.

And that’s probably all the thanks Tom McEwan would want.

 

 

Just Posted

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters begin 24-hour blockade of Castlegar’s main street

Members of Extinction Rebellion plan to stay overnight

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read