Hard work and a love for their adopted hometown earned honors for George Harding and for Hazel Rossman on Saturday.
In a banquet at the Legion, George Harding was presented with the Rotary Club’s Citizen of the Year plaque.
Harding, a Nova Scotia native educated at Dalhousie University, received his masters degree at UBC. Originally a child mental health worker, he is a principal and administrator at the school district, where he technically could have retired two years ago.
A member of the Arrow Lakes Arts Council board, he lends his gourmet cooking skills to preparing volunteer dinners, also offering sage advice and expertise, said Marilyn Massey.
“If you want someone to stand up and be a champion for children, then George is your man,” said a letter of recommendation from Patti Adam.
“He really loves the children of our community,” said a letter from Superintendent Walter Posnikoff.
Hazel Rossman was named the Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
A Trail native who trained as a nurse in Vancouver annd then followed her nursing career to Seattle, Rossman returned to the Kootenays as the director of nursing at the Nakusp hospital.
“She had a sixth sense for nursing emergencies,” said a letter from Dayle James.
A letter from Milton and Rosemarie Parent praised Rossman’s work on the Arrowtarian project.
“The tremendous work she hass done … made it possible to complete that work,” they said.
Rossman was the first female president of the Nakusp Rotary Club.
Rotary was originally an all-male organization, Harding recalled in a tribute to her.
“It took the court process to open the door to Rotary,” he said of the international organization, he said.
MLA Katrina Conroy addressed the group. With the many volunteers to maintain a community’s vitality, to be singled out for such honors is a big deal, she said.
“I know how much volunteers do in a community like Nakusp – it’s an incredible achievement to be honored like Hazel and George,” she said.
“All the years you have been doing things in the community, it’s a real acknowledgement of your commitment to this community over a lifetime.”
Responding to the roar of Canucks fans watching the game in the nearby bar area of the Legion, Area K Regional Director Paul Peterson said the banquet’s packed turnout was testimony in itself.
“You know that people love them because there’s a hockey game on – that ought to tell you something,” he said.
Mayor Karen Hamling said the honors represent an essential part of the Village character.
“We all know how important volunteers are in our community. This community would not be what it is without our volunteers. You are the people that make our community,” she said.
Earl Frerichs was the 2009 recipient of the Citizen of the Year honor.
“It was a humbling experience,” he recalled.
Gene Nagy, last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, praised Rossman.
“She’s very, very solid … a dedicated worker, and she puts her heart and soul into it,” he said.
Standing in for the president-elect of the service club who was out of town, Harding told the group the annual awards program is important.
“Rotary believes this is something that needs to happen,’ he said, noting the Nakusp club has marked its 60th anniversary while other clubs have come and gone.
“It’s a credit to all those individuals who see themselves as wanting to contribute to the community,” Harding said.