A pair of outstanding Red Deerians was honoured Friday night as the Rotary Club of Red Deer's Citizens of the Year.
Gloria Beck, Owner & Operator of Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre was named Rotary Citizen of the Year.
Beck says she’s finally getting some time now to reflect on her 30 years serving with charitable organizations and volunteering.
“I was the first in many areas to be the first president or first person on a board that was a woman. I didn’t realize at the time that I was breaking through new barriers, but I did, and I reflect now and I see that I did it quite a few times,” she says.
On being named Citizen of the Year, she adds, “I think of the people that have gone before me and I know most of them. I don’t think it’s really hit home. It’s a lot to live up to. I was shocked -- I’d never considered it. I was in disbelief.”
Beck says if there’s a message she has for the next generation of young Red Deerians, it’s to jump into opportunities with both feet.
“They need to get involved. You get more than you ever give. Your life is so much richer by being involved and helping others. Find a good mentor and share your dreams with that person,” she says. “I always believe that if there’s a door opening, go through it because that door might not open again.”
This year’s Young Citizen of the Year is also a Loran Scholar and two-time Alberta Summer Games triathlon medalist.
Adam Guthrie, a grade 12 student at Notre Dame, is also a member of the Alberta Junior Development triathlon team and the Woody’s Triathlon Training Group. He also teaches kids under 15 how to do triathlons.
“I think the most rewarding part of my athletics has been teaching the Special Olympics swim training group. To be able to mentor athletes with special needs has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I can see the difference I make every day,” Guthrie says. “As well, I’m a lifeguard at Collicutt Centre and a few weeks ago, I had one of my swimmers come up to me in the pool. He doesn’t have the mental capability to speak very well, but he recognized me and his face lit right up even though I hadn’t seen him for months. To be able to have that connection feels very good to me.”
Guthrie will attend UBC in the fall to study engineering, a venture that is largely paid for as a Loran Scholar.
“It’s an incredible honour [Young Citizen of the Year]. There are so many qualified people. I like to give back to my community as much as I can, whenever I can. It’s not about what I get from it -- it’s about what I can give back to the community,” he says. “I was always taught by my parents to be the best that I could at something, then turn around and give it back to the community as much as I could.”
Guest speaker for Friday's Citizen of the Year gala at the Sheraton was Peter Mackay, Canada's former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Minister of National Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
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