Yorkton Citizen Recognition Awards announced

Last December it was announced that Bruce Thurston and Mya Desmarais had been selected as the inaugural recipients of the City of Yorkton’s Citizen Recognition Awards.

The awards were officially presented at a reception prior to the regular meeting of Yorkton Council Monday.

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At the event Mayor Bob Maloney said the awards are “a way to recognize outstanding individuals” who contribute to the betterment of the community.

As of the submission deadline, there had been 11 adult category submissions, and four youth category submissions received.

“It was an exceptional group of people,” he said.

As background at the initial announcement at the meeting in December it was reported “Bruce Thurston is a familiar name for many, with his extensive involvement in the City. Events that have seen his efforts are the Charity Road Race, Rhythm and Ribs Festival, Charity Golf Classics, the Farming for Health Project, Snowarama, the annual Pumpkin Walk, as well as involvement with the Soup Haven and YBID to name a few.

“Mya Desmarais is an honour roll student at the Yorkton Regional High School who has many notable accomplishments. The annual Friday Night Lights football game was orchestrated by her efforts amidst performing a Skills Canada Competition and achieving bronze in Public Speaking and Robotics, working as a lifeguard, and volunteering as a Mentor for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.”

“It’s always an honour to be nominated especially by peers and the community,” Thurston told Yorkton This Week in December. “… You do these things regardless of awards. You do it because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a social responsibility.

“But, it is nice to be recognized.”

Desmarais, 17, said she was surprised when contacted about her selection.

“I was pretty excited. I was actually out shopping when they contacted me,” he said. “… I’m very honoured to be getting it. It’s humbling.”

Thurston said volunteerism is something that was instilled in him by his parents.

“It goes back to mom and dad who always encouraged me to get involved in the community I lived in,” he said, adding there was a period in his life he moved often and volunteering got him involved in each place. “It’s a responsibility of being a person in the community.”

Desmarais said volunteering is something she feels she should do.

“Just being part of the community is really important to me,” she said.

Having grown up in Yorkton, and having enjoyed many of the opportunities offered in the city, Desmarais said she feels volunteering is a way to create opportunities for other people.

Of course volunteering does take time for a student such as Desmarais.

“It takes a lot of time management. You have to know when to slow down for a second to regenerate and then get back to it,” she said.

It was in October 2017, Council approved the ‘Citizen Recognition Awards’ Policy. The policy is in place to recognize two recipients (Adult and Youth) who have given selfless support, and made contributions for the betterment of the City of Yorkton.

A Council committee comprised of three Council members and two community members; Tom Seeley and Gerry Peppler were appointed in January of 2018 to adjudicate submissions for the 2018 year, and recommend the award recipients to Council.

The submissions were considered by the Committee who narrowed it down to the two individuals.

The presentation of the awards was originally set to occur at the first meeting held in January 2019, with award recipients in attendance prior for a reception, however, due to schedule conflicts the presentation was deferred until the meeting Monday.

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