Ladysmith’s 2012-13 Citizen of the Year is Bill Drysdale.
The announcement was made Saturday morning, shortly before the Ladysmith Days parade. Doug Bell of the Ladysmith Maritime Society, last year’s winner, said he was pleased to introduce this year’s recipient.
“Bill’s enthusiastic leadership and endless energy enables him to contribute so much to our community,” he said. “He’s very passionate about Ladysmith and contributes an enormous amount of time and energy to all aspects.”
The Citizen of the Year Award is a time-honoured Ladysmith tradition. The award is presented for outstanding voluntary, unpaid community service over a period of time. Past recipients include Jim Cram, Kit Willmot and the Ladysmith and District Credit Union.
Drysdale is a retired Air Force Warrant Officer with 28 years of service. He is heavily involved with the Ladysmith Search and Rescue, Festival of Lights, Maritime Festival and Health Care Auxiliary.
According to Coun. Steve Arnett, who was overseeing the presentation on behalf of Mayor Rob Hutchins, Drysdale was an instrumental part of the playground project at Brown Drive Kin Park, as well as the renovations at the Ladysmith Museum, and Light Up.
“He does all that kind of work that you don’t see behind the scenes,” he said.
Arnett said Drysdale is best known for driving around in his half-ton truck with a bed full of tools — ladders, wheelbarrows, shovels and more.
“Wherever there’s a need to do something he’s out there; he’s like a Cub Scout — always prepared to help,” he said.
Arnett admitted it was a bit of a challenge to get Drysdale to the presentation, with it being a confidential vote and because Drysdale usually helps out with the parade. He said he was able to persuade him to stick around by asking him to help him present the award.
“There was probably nobody more surprised than he was,” he said.
After accepting the award and a framed Ladysmith print, Drysdale exclaimed just how surprised he was.
“It doesn’t fit with my 20-year plan of all the things I want to do to help Ladysmith — I figured I might be at the end of my 20 years, or so [by the time I received it],” he said.
Drysdale said it is a pleasure to serve the town.
He said he and his wife decided to move here after an afternoon sitting in the Printingdun Beanery having some coffee.
“My wife said ‘I could live here; this feels like home,’ so we moved here and we never looked back. This is an amazing town filled with amazing volunteers,” he said. “They do what they can to make this town better, and I think we’re pretty successful at that.”