It is one of the city’s highest honours.
Recipients are often the volunteer unsung heroes in our community.
Since 2008, Rotary Clubs of Red Deer have been choosing Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year.
“Demonstrating Leadership Creating a Better Community” reads the plaque above their names on the clock tower downtown.
“If you look at the past winners they’re obviously people that have been able to take the time out of their busy lives to give back to the community in some way,” said Dean Williams, who is a member of the selection committee from Rotary Clubs of Red Deer.
“In the case of past winners, it’s been a substantial amount of time and energy.”
Take last year’s Citizen of the Year Rod Kennedy.
The list of organizations he gave his time was lengthy. They ranged from Westerner Exposition Association, Red Deer College, Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce, Red Deer Agri-trade Society, Red Deer Optimist Club, Red Deer’s Festival of Trees, and the 2019 Canada Games Host Society. He has also made a provincial impact by serving the STARS Foundation and board, and as a University of Alberta senate member.
Williams said he knew Kennedy as a friend but not the depth of his community involvement.
That sort of humble service to the community is one of the attributes common to winners.
Last year’s youth winner is also a perfect example of the kinds of people the selection committee is looking for.
Andrew Panteluk, volunteered in four different units at the hospital and Williams said he is a “pretty incredible kid.”
Panteluk’s experiences reinforced his plan to become a doctor, he said at the time.
Nominations must be submitted by May 1. For the youth category, nominees must be younger than 26.
Winners will be honoured at a gala organized by the Rotary Clubs of Red Deer on June 2.
Williams said the selection committee — which includes the mayor, representatives from the city’s three Rotary Clubs, the college, the chamber of commerce and others — welcomes as many nominees as they can get.
“The more the merrier. I’m sure there are lots of people in our community who are worthy of being nominated,” he said.
Williams reminds those considering putting someone’s name in that the nominee does not have to be involved in Rotary. It is open to all in the community.