The day after her name was announced as the Trail-Warfield Citizen of the Year, Barbara Gibson is back to business as usual.
Making morning stops at the Trail and District Public Library, Sanctuary and more, the award recipient isn’t showing signs of slowing down.
When the phone rang on Tuesday morning, Brian Volpatti from the Citizen of the Year Committee was on the other end to tell her that she had been chosen for the honour.
“You don’t volunteer to get an award, so it was very unexpected,” she said with a laugh. “I didn’t know what to say. You do it because you care about the community. It is quite humbling really.”
Gibson has been working in the Trail area for many years, founding Sanctuary, a support organization for youth, working with the Greater Trail Hospice Society supporting families and patients with end-of-life care, acting as treasurer for the United Way board and most recently, as chair of the Trail Library Board, working diligently to advocate for a new library facility.
The one project Gibson says really sticks out in her mind is the work she has done with Sanctuary, a pre-teen drop-in centre for children who have nowhere to go after school, need guidance and a safe place to grow up.
“Not just me, but the whole organization has had such a huge impact on the children of this community, and continues to do so,” she said. “To me, that is the most gratifying because they are our future. If we don’t look after them, the wonderful community we have right now will not be the same in the future. It will not continue.
“We are now in year 17 and it has worked out wonderfully. However, all of the organizations are important. The hospice, the library and the United Way, they all impact our immediate community and to me, that is what matters.”
It wasn’t the award that makes Gibson feel as though her efforts are worthwhile, but rather seeing the community change as a result of her dedication.
“There are things that you just feel like you have to do them,” she said. “It is very gratifying when you have worked so hard on something to see the effect that it has on the community and on individuals.”
Even though she will soon be riding in the Silver City Days parade and will probably get recognized on the street a bit more often, life for Gibson hasn’t changed. She will continue putting in the hours and the effort to make the Trail area a great place to live.
“With the new library, I am going to be very busy,” she said. “There isn’t an end in the need for these services. The Hospice Society is very important as our community ages and at the other end of the spectrum, there is Sanctuary where people are just starting out on their journey.”
The final decision for the Trail/Warfield Citizen of the Year award was made on Monday night by Volpatti and the Citizen of the Year committee after looking at all eight applications.
“All of the nominees would have made good choices,” he said. “We read through all the application and we narrowed it down to Barbara. It always gets tough right at the end, but we did it.”
The Citizen of the Year has been named 57 years in a row and is organized by the local Knights of Columbus assembly.