Citizen of the Year
The winner of Slave Lake’s Citizen of the Year for 2017 award is Ellen Criss. That’s her on the left, receiving the award from last year’s winner, Tina Marie Ritter. Criss, a longtime music teacher, band leader and choir director was also cited by her nominators for her volunteer work through her church, in tourism promotion, organizing quad rallies and sled drags and much more. She’s also “a wife, mother and grandmother,” said one of her nominators; “a positive member of the community.” In her remarks, Criss gave credit to her 90-year-old dad, who she says set an example of volunteering and is still doing it! She also recognized her husband Bill, saying much of her volunteering is done as a team, with him.
Lifetime Volunteer Award
This year’s Lifetime Volunteer Award winner for Slave Lake is Sharon Watchel, shown here accepting the award from last year’s winner Gordon Ferguson. Watchel has been a whirling dervish of charitable activity over the past few years. For example, last year she helped organize the collection of gift cards for forest fire evacuees in Prince George. Likewise when Wabasca residents were evacuated she helped organize relief efforts. Various other fundraisers to help people in difficulty have had a strong Watchel presence. Lately she has been helping keep the Mat Program homeless shelter afloat.
“Sharon gives freely of her time, and generously,” said her nominator.
“I volunteer because I like it,” Watchel said in her acceptance remarks. “And I drag a lot of other people in.”