Sportsperson of the Year: Kiwanis honours volunteers

The Greater Trail Kiwanis Club recognizes individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty in sports.

The envelope please?

Since 1976 the Greater Trail Kiwanis Club has been recognizing individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty in devoting their time and energy to various sports organizations and events, by honouring them with the Kiwanis Sportsperson of the Year Award.

Trail is known as the City of Champions, and much of the credit is due to the many volunteers that have helped develop and train athletes, organize and promote sporting events, and serve on committees or in concessions.

“We are all from Trail and we know the people who always participate and excel and who obviously give back to the community,” said Kiwanis treasurer Peter Thiessen, who heads the award committee.

This year Kiwanis is making up a little ground since it last presented the award in 2009, and will honour the award winners from 2010 to 2012 at the upcoming award banquet, Feb. 16.

The Kiwanis Sportspersons of the Year will be awarded to Pat and Penny Fennell for 2010, Keith Smythe is honoree for 2011, and Montrose’s Richard Rhodes for 2012.

“They are all super volunteers in the community in regards to sports,” Thiessen says.

The honourees are well known throughout Trail, for their involvement in many different sports, says Thiessen: “Pat and Penny are both curlers, I think right up to the provincial level . . . and you always see them at the ball games running the concession stand, and they’ve done it for the Orioles and the Jays and baseball’s Little League teams, and they’ve done that it seems like forever.”

Retired school teacher and administrator Keith Smythe may best be known for his work as manager of operations of the Babe Ruth World Series to Trail in 1995, and his tireless time heading three successful B.C. Summer, Winter, and Seniors Games in the Greater Trail area.

“He is a master (organizer), he’s been involved in every Games that the city’s hosted, the most recent the Seniors Games,” said Thiessen.

Rhodes meanwhile follows in his father Ned’s footsteps who was honoured with the award in 1980.

Inducted into the B.C. Softball Hall of Fame in 2011, Richard is one of the founders of the Lower Columbia Girls Softball League and Thunder Fast Pitch, has coached in numerous championships including leading the Trail Thunder Cats girls softball team to a berth in the 2004 World Series.

The Kiwanis Sportsperson of the Year Awards banquet goes on Feb. 16 at the Riverbelle, and organizers invite the public to attend the event.

Tickets can be purchased at the Trail Coffee Company, the Doorway in Rossland, and from any Kiwanis member.

Call Thiessen at 368-3581 for tickets or for more information.