Denis Daughton said being recognized for the award was “kind of surprising.”
“It’s kind of funny because I’m a mayor and usually… I’ve never heard of a mayor being citizen of the year — or any politician for that matter,” he said. “And even though I’m a low-key politician, I’m still a politician.”
The Lakeland Citizen of the Year began in 1984. Each year, people who have contributed to the communities of the Lakeland area — consisting of the RM of Lakeland, the RM of Paddockwood and the Village of Christopher Lake — are nominated to be recognized for their efforts.
The Lakeland recreation board oversees the Citizen of the Year process.
“The criteria for the citizen of the year … it’s really people who have contributed to the community — be it through a service group or a number of different at a municipal level,” said Cheryl Bauer Hyde, the chair of the board.
“It’s important in communities to recognize those people who often play a leadership role in the community — or sometimes have not been in a leadership role but has always been there — and contribute to help make things happen because in smaller communities you really rely on the volunteers …,” she added. “We’re really celebrating all of the volunteers in the area that do so much to make this place a great place to live.”
Daughton said often he finds himself doing the jobs that no one else wants to do.
The projects he has found himself a part of this past year includes providing drainage for two subdivisions, improving infrastructure, helping to maintain the curling rink and trying to bring water and sewage to the Village of Christopher Lake.
Daughton has also been an active part of the Western Days committee and the Christopher Lake, Paddockwood and Lakeland Recreation committee.
Though some of these accomplishments overlap with his duties as mayor, Daughton said all he does is look out for his community.
“I try and do what’s best for the community,” he said. “And I pitch in when something that’s got to get done, I do it,” he said.
Daughton said there were a handful of people that immediately came to mind when thinking of who else was deserving of the recognition Citizen of the Year brings.
“I can think of two gentlemen for sure and there’s a number of women definitely are deserving of that title,” he said. “They would probably say they don’t deserve it, don’t bother; that’s the way they are, they don’t really want the spotlight…
“I’m not really big on the spotlight either but I guess I got picked because I do what I do,” he added.
Daughton plans to nominate these individuals for next year’s award to ensure their efforts will not go unnoticed.
A potluck supper will be held at the Legion Hall in Christopher Lake to recognize Daughton’s accomplishments on Sept. 9 at 4:30 p.m. A representative from the District of Lakeland and MLA Nadine Wilson will also be present at the event.
Daughton said it’s the volunteers that put in the extra effort, which is what Citizen of the Year is all about.
“Some people that try to keep the community together and there are some that try to pull it apart,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, we’re stronger if we’re together and we’re a lot weaker if we’re apart.”