Two remarkable Red Deerians recently landed the honours of Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year
This year’s Rotary Citizen of the Year Spring Gala was held on May 3 at the Sheraton Red Deer.
Kylie Morrison, 23, was chosen as the Young Citizen of the Year due to her impressive resume of volunteer activities for non-profit organizations and other good causes in the Red Deer community. She was nominated by two people — Frank Bauer, volunteer coordinator with Central Alberta Refugee Effort and by Bev Randers from The Hub on Ross and Persons with Developmental Disabilities.
According to her sponsors Morrison, who suffers from epilepsy, continually pushes beyond her capacity to better the lives of others in spite of her own severe health issues. She doesn’t let it stop her from contributing to her community.
As a teenager Morrison was anxious to meet other young people who struggle with epilepsy and she inspired the Epilepsy Association to hold annual meetings for youth living with epilepsy.
She has also been an active member of the City Advisory Committee for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, the annual Earthdance Committee and the Social Awareness run by the Students Association at Red Deer College.
Morrison has also worked dedicatedly for the Alberta Arts Day, the Latin Festival, the Festival of Trees, Kerry Wood Nature Centre, the Canadian National Institution for the Blind, the Refugee Camp in the City and Centrefest.
When Morrison found out that she won the title of Young Citizen of the Year 2012 she said she was thrilled.
“I didn’t want it to be a secret. I called my mom and dad right away.”
It was actually Morrison’s parents that got her focused on volunteering and being an active member of society.
“When I was young my mom would often volunteer and I was often ‘volun-told’,” she said.
“I like to give back to the people who help me and my family and friends. I was taught when you volunteer you are not just helping others you are also helping yourself.”
James McPherson claimed the title of Citizen of the Year for 2012 after being nominated by Janet Gilmore, director of marketing and communications at Quinn Contraction Ltd. and Ray McBeth from McBeth Consulting.
“A hearty laugh, a dynamic presence, an inviting nature — all first impressions of a man I first met at a gathering of a group of business people in the summer of 2009,” said Gilmore.
Gilmore goes on to say that McPherson’s incredible ability to engage others and his relentless enthusiasm for helping those in need puts him at the forefront when it comes to giving back to his community. Not only does he give of his time, personal finances and leadership he inspires others to give of their time, talent and treasure.
McPherson said that he was “shocked and flabbergasted” when he was informed that he had won this prestigious title. However, with his track record it is no surprise that he was chosen this year.
McPherson has an extensive record of volunteering in the community of Red Deer, a City that has been dear to his heart since his family moved here in 1958. His experiences includes sitting on many boards as chairs and directors. He has also been the master of ceremonies for a number of events including the Festival of Trees where he has held that title for 13 consecutive years.
Just like Morrison, McPherson said that his volunteering started with his parents being active members of the community.
It is like the old adage goes, train a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from it. Both winners of the Citizen of the Year award this year prove this to be true.