Nita Grant was up at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2 to get ready to volunteer for the Rotary Pancake Breakfast during Ladysmith Days.
That part was pretty typical for Grant, who has been a member of the Ladysmith Rotary Club for more than 40 years and has volunteered with countless community groups over the years. The surprise came four and a half hours later when she heard her name called as the Ladysmith Celebrations Society’s Citizen of the Year for 2014.
“The person chosen as this year’s Citizen of the Year is, without a doubt, very deserving,” Ladysmith Celebrations Society president Barry Frech said as he made the presentation. “This person has been nominated many times over the years, and this year is the time for the recognition of all the work and community involvement.”
Frech told the crowd that there are few community events over the past 40 years that Grant has not played an active role in.
“This person is always the first to volunteer and always the last to leave,” he said. “No job is ever too big or too small. There is always a smile on the face and a cheerful hello to everyone. This person has been among Ladysmith’s No. 1 supporters and has worked tirelessly for the betterment of the town and its citizens.”
Frech pointed out that without Grant’s interest and dedication, many of the town’s successes would not have been achieved, especially in the downtown area, where she was a driving force for the downtown business association.
Frech outlined a long list of Grant’s involvement in the community.
He noted that she has been a member of the Ladysmith Rotary Club for more than 40 years, and she was a merchant leader in the revitalization of the downtown area in the 1980s. Grant was a committee member of Ladysmith Days and the Ladysmith Celebrations Society for many years, and she was a committee member of the Ladysmith Heritage and Revitalization Commission for the maximum allowed time.
Frech also pointed out that Grant was an executive and member of the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce for many years and was an executive of the Ladysmith Show and Shine for many years. She has always supported organizations requesting donations, she was the instigator of the Coats for Kids program for many years, and she started the 50 Plus Computer Club.
“The combination of ongoing efforts and devotion to countless and unselfish volunteer hours exemplifies the definition of volunteerism and is deserving of the honour that comes with being chosen Citizen of the Year,” said Frech.
Grant was shocked to win the award.
“I was listening to all those things I’m involved in, and when he got to the last two, I thought ‘my God, it has to be me,’” she said following her ride in the parade in the Citizen of the Year car, driven by Mayor Rob Hutchins. “It’s really, really a big surprise. It’s quite an honour.”
The Citizen of the Year award means a lot to Grant.
“It means I am appreciated, it means people really did like what I contributed to the community, it means that I’m appreciated and that it’s a fun community,” she said. “I love the community and always have.”