Two more members of the Columbia Valley are set to be recognized for their contributions to their communities, as Phyllis Jackson of Radium Hot Springs and Anne Picton of Windermere will become two of 60,000 Canadians to receive the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in a ceremony later this month.
“Well, it’s kind of unbelievable, I still haven’t come to grips with it,” Jackson said.
“It’s absolutely wonderful,” Picton agreed. “I never even thought about it, it came right out of left field.”
Both women have been involved in their respective communities for over 40 years, and are well-known for the wide range of community groups and organizations they have been a part of.
Jackson, a member of the original Radium town council when it was incorporated, has lived in Radium since 1964, and also has been heavily involved with the Radium seniors’ group, various youth groups, the Catholic church, the Radium Chamber of Commerce and the Radium and Edgewater Hospital Auxiliary at one time or another.
“(I volunteer) just because I think a person should help out in their community,” Jackson said. “My favourite part is the people you come in contact with and work with, there’s some fantastic people in this valley.”
Picton has also spent over 40 years living in Windermere and, aside from volunteering there, said she spends a lot of time in Invermere as well. Groups and organizations Picton has been involved with over the years include local church groups, the library board, the legion, and the Lake Windermere players, and she said she spends most of her volunteer time these days helping out with the Windermere community association.
“I think it’s important to make sure that things happen, that people that need some kind of assistance get it,” Picton said. “I like to feel that I can be useful and give back to the community that’s given so much to me.”
While both women were unaware they were even nominated, for those who nominated them — Village of Radium Hot Springs mayor Dee Conklin for Jackson and Regional District of East Kootenay Area F Director Wendy Booth for Picton — it was an easy choice.
“On behalf of the entire village, we were extremely thrilled that [Jackson] would be recognized in such a way,” Conklin said. “She has spent many years of her life giving back to our community.”
“When I first found out (that Picton had been selected), I had goosebumps,” Booth said. “She’s a long-time community member who has been involved in so many things that I just thought that it was appropriate that she gets recognized with such a prestigious award.”
The two women will receive their awards from Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks during a special ceremony at the Lions’ Club Hall at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce on Friday (August 24). Jackson and Picton also join two members of the Columbia Valley RCMP detachment as Columbia Valley residents to receive the medals. The two officers, Cpl. Grant Simpson and Staff Sgt. Marko Shehovac will receive their medals in a separate ceremony later this year.
“I think it’s truly an honour that we have these two recipients in the Columbia Valley who have been long-standing community members for really their entire lives,” said Booth. “I think it’s wonderful that they have this opportunity.”