The community service talent is thick among this year's Prince George Citizen of the Year candidates.
Although one will be named as the overall receiver of the annual distinction, all five were celebrated as equals on Thursday when their names were announced.
The nominees are (in alphabetical order):
- Selen Alpay, the owner/operator of the Prince George Canadian Tire and active supporter of various local causes.
- Andy Beesley, the longtime amateur stage performer and Big Brother.
- Betty-June Gair, for her work with many civic beautification projects and the Prince George Golf and Curling Club.
- Alison Hagreen, the executive director of the Prince George Brain Injured Group.
- David Halikowski, who was honoured earlier this year by the City of Prince George for outstanding community service.
"I was born and raised here; my children will be born and raised here, and these people represent the reason that Prince George is such a great place for all of us. We are here to celebrate them," said Ray Noonan, president of the Prince George Community Foundation (PGCF), the organization that administrates the Citizen of the Year process.
The nominees are shortlisted from the suggestions put forward from the public, and vetted by the PGCF's nomination committee. Each person nominated may be there for a body of work that encompasses more than the immediate past year, but it is not a lifetime achievement award or popularity contest. Nor is it a citation for doing one's job. The nominees are considered for their exceptional volunteer efforts and/or going above and beyond the call of their profession.
"The actual voting process has already taken place," said Noonan, explaining that naming the finalists was not the start of a campaign process. Yet no one on the nominating committee or the community foundation's board of directors knows who the successful candidate is. "We are all going to have to wait until Oct. 18 to find out who the winner is."
The gala reception that night includes a dinner and the drama of waiting for the eventual top finalist. Tickets go on sale Monday ($60 each) at the Coast Inn of the North where the formal event will be held.
Last year's winner was Monica Peacock. She was preceded in chronological order by Darrell Hubbell, Sharon Hurd, Ray Gerow, Michael Kerr, Dick Voneugen, Baljit Sethi, Bill Lynch, Shirley Gratton, Anne Martin, Tom Griffith, John Flatt, Murry Krause, Horst Sander, Gord Molendyk and Bob Harkins. Prior to 1997, the Citizen of the Year process was administrated by the Rotary clubs of the city.