History enthusiast named citizen of the year

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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A man enthusiastic about preserving Prince Albert’s history and improving the downtown core has been named Prince Albert’s citizen of the year. 

Prince Albert Historical Society volunteer Harris May is seen with wife Diane. 

A man enthusiastic about preserving Prince Albert’s history and improving the downtown core has been named Prince Albert’s citizen of the year.

“For once, I’m speechless,” Harris May said after being ambushed by well-wishers at the Prince Albert Historical Museum on Tuesday.

There to receive a donation from the Prince Albert Fire Department, he was taken off guard by the group of smiling faces there to congratulate him for receiving the prestigious award. 

“He has been involved with every project that we’ve had on the go, and not just as a committee member to volunteer and give his opinion,” museum volunteer Jayne Remenda said. 

“From day one on any project, whether it was downtown improvement or the historical society, the airshow, the gala … he’s been a working volunteer, fully engaged.”

“He’s just a wonderful person to have around,” museum curator Michelle Taylor said.

“He’s really helped the society to move forward and become more interactive with his guidance and really been more community-orientated. We’ve been more out in the community with him here.”

“His organizational skills, financial expertise and ability to motivate others moved many initiatives from ideas to reality to success,” historical society chair Deb Honch wrote in a letter endorsing May as citizen of the year, which included a long list of May’s accomplishments with the society.

May’s involvement in the historical society began about 10 years ago, when his daughter was hired as a tour guide at the museum.

“When I saw that they were short-handed, and I had a few talents that I could offer, I volunteered,” he said.

“Be careful of the vortex that you get yourself into!”

May is always keen on putting his hand up to volunteer for things, Remenda said, noting that he even volunteered for the less-than-coveted secretary-treasurer position with the historical society, “which was a huge job with the airshow,” she noted.

Though he’s been involved in many projects and was integral in organizing this year’s Prince Albert Centennial of Flight Air Show, he cites the installation of a full-time curator as his proudest achievement.

“She has brought us into the 21st century,” he said of Taylor.

For Honch, May’s leadership role with the air show is a “perfect example of how he approaches everything he does, with integrity, vision, dedication and with the best interests of the community and visitors to our community considered as foremost.”

Spreading his volunteer spirit through the city’s downtown area, he’s also spent time as a committee member of the Main Street Prince Albert board.

He has been involved with every project that we’ve had on the go, and not just as a committee member to volunteer and give his opinion. From day one on any project, whether it was downtown improvement or the historical society, the airshow, the gala … he’s been a working volunteer, fully engaged. Jayne Remenda

“He’s just a great asset,” Main Street Prince Albert co-ordinator Bob Gill said. 

“His knowledge of all the past history and his involvement in the historical society and his work for the society is absolutely great. He’s got so much knowledge from the past years here and been involved in so many things, it’s great.”

May has lived in Prince Albert since 1968. After high school, he became a certified journeyman painter while working for Dodge & Son as an apprentice, starting his own painting company in 1983.

In 1980, he also became a certified management accountant, becoming the province’s only person to be a certified management accountant and journeyman painter.

Over the years, he’s volunteered in a number of different capacities, including as a minor softball coach, school treasurer as well in different capacities at the local United Churches and at the Prince Albert Art Gallery.

Prince Albert's Citizen of the Year award is a joint effort between the Prince Albert Daily Herald and the Prince Albert Kinsmen Club.

 

Past award recipients

2011 Dale McFee

2010 Frank Moore

2009 Donna Christopherson

2008 Art Hauser

2007 Dr. Lalita Malhotra

2006 Malcolm Jenkins

2005 Bill Smiley

2004 Molly Cowie

2003 Mitchell Holash

2002 Bernice Sayese

2001 Maurice Casgrain

2000 Marge Nainaar

1999 Howard Gange

1998 Ed Glynn

1997 James Wilm

1996 Jack Matheson

1995 Fern Lloyd

1994 Myrna Nagy

1993 Eugene Arcand

1992 Ajay Krishan

1991 Larry Zatlyn

1990 Alma Newman

1989 Jim Bristowe

1988 Dr. Orville Hjertaas

1987 Naomi Tucker

1986 Jim Scarrow

1985 Stan Danbrook

1984 Cec Corrigal

1983 Val Longworth

1982 Herschel Davidner

1981 George Slater

1980 Eileen Lillico

1979 Percy Hiltz

1978 Kris Eggum

1977 Marjorie Wettergreen

1976 Bill and Jean Neil

1975 Alma Jeanneau

1974 R. J. Casey

1973 J. J. Cennon

1972 Archdeacon W. F. Payton

1971 Leafie McDonald

1970 Reg Brooman

1969 Wilf Beaton

1968 Major Arthur Shadgett

1967 Orville Erickson

1966 Maurice Longpre

1965 Tillie Kawula

1964 Margo Fournier

1963 Dave Dalziel

1962 Rowena McLellan

1961 Andy Zwack

1960 Marion Sherman

1959 Margaret Hasseltine

1958 P. W. Mahon

Organizations: Prince Albert, Prince Albert Historical Museum, Prince Albert Fire Department Main Street Prince Albert board Prince Albert Art Gallery

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