Longtime Pemberton local Delores Los was a little embarrassed to be the centre of attention after she was named the 2013 Citizen of the Year by the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce Thursday night.
Los, who runs Spud Valley Nordics Cross Country Ski, founded the Jack Rabbits Cross Country Ski Club and has volunteered for several sporting events in the corridor, was chosen for her inspirational work, chamber president Karen Ross told a crowd gathered at the Pemberton Valley Lodge for the annual event.
“A good citizen is someone who is helpful, considerate and willing to put others first,” she said. “They consider the needs of those around them and are always generous when offering support, their time and talents.”
All the recognition Los needs comes from the kids she’s helped get active outdoors over the years, she said.
“It’s really important to me that children are involved in activities and preferably activities that will stay with them for a lifetime,” she said. “Things like cross-country skiing — they learn it as a child and then they continue doing it throughout their lives so they can be healthy and active.”
Having lived in the valley for nearly 35 years, Los first began a ski program while she was working at the Outdoor School and noticed that cross-country skis were only being used during the week. “We organized a program where kids could come up there and use the skis on the weekend,” she said. “I just do outdoor activities with kids as much as I can. I try to do activities I see them not doing at school or in their regular, family life.”
Los was just one of five recipients to be recognized at the Chamber’s 12th annual community awards. Also on the list: the Signal Hill Elementary School Parent Advisory Council, which received a certificate of appreciation through the Community Service award, and Sea to Sky Community Services, which won that category, presented to a non-profit that contributes to the quality of life Pemberton.
“They help those who want to improve their home life, and who have had a child and need some help,” Ross said of community services. “Their dedicated professional local staff and volunteers directly help over 1,000 people each year in Pemberton and surrounding area. They are strengthening individuals and our community.”
Mary Leo, an employee at the Pemberton Valley Supermarket, meanwhile, won the Customer Service Award for her “friendly manner and… the excellent quality service she provides,” Ross said.
After the ceremony, Leo revealed the simple secret to offering great service. “Just proper manners,” she said. “That’s it. Everything I do is what my parents taught me.”
Scotiabank was also recognized as the Business of the Year for donating $68,000 to local organizations in 2013, as well as providing “an essential service with the professionalism and expertise you would expect from the big city with a level of customer service and friendliness that you could only get in a village like Pemberton,” Ross said.
It’s important to take time every year to recognize the people and businesses that contribute to the community, she added. “The nominations come in from the community,” Ross said. “It’s open to anybody to nominate any individual or business… They contribute over and above what’s expected and it’s really nice to recognize them.”
Next year, the Chamber hopes to ramp up participation by holding the award ceremony in November to coincide with the holiday season.