A tearful and visibly shaken Bob Meredith was clearly surprised when he was announced as the 2015 citizen of the year at Friday’s Blossom Festival opening festivities.
“Bob Meredith has shown a lasting and meaningful contribution to the community by his dedication to different organizations, often as president and executive positions,” said MC Dave Handy, representing the Creston Valley Rotary Club, which organizes the selection of each year’s honoree. (The most recent citizens of the year have been Peter Hepher, Henry Schoof, Phil Thomas and Norm Husband.)
“Bob was one of the founding members in starting the Citizens on Patrol,” Handy said. “This service to our community helped not only our citizens, but also the RCMP.”
A teacher and principal for most of his professional career, Meredith was described as a man who gave his time at recess, noon hour and after school for activities like square dancing, basketball, baseball and other activities. He served on the minor hockey executive and was a well-known baseball umpire for many years. He trained others at umpire clinics throughout the Kootenays.
“I would say that Bob has shown by his life to have a very giving nature and has never counted the cost or hours,” Handy said. “It has always been a service of love and pride for his community.”
As a young man, Meredith began a life of public service by enlisting in the Canadian Navy. A 35-year career in education followed, “teaching and molding young children’s lives. … Many have benefited from Bob’s influence, as seen by how many remember and love this special teacher.”
Among the other organizations that Meredith served with as a director and/or president are the Creston Curling Club, recreation centre society, Creston Golf Club, East Kootenay and Creston Valley teachers’ associations, and Creston Principals and Vice-Principals’ Association.
After retiring from his career in education, where in a 27-year span he served as principal of schools in Crawford Bay, Riondel, Wynndel, Canyon-Lister and Erickson-Yahk, Meredith worked as a Sun Life Financial advisor/agent for another 12 years. He retired from that career in 2004.
Meredith remains active in the Creston Valley Rotary Club and is president of the Creston and District Society for Community Living, which he joined seven years ago.
“CDSCL is where my heart is,” he said in a brief acceptance speech. “I plan to stay involved because it is very important to me.”
When Meredith took to the stage with his wife, Marion, Handy read a message of congratulations from their daughter, who wrote on behalf of his children and grandchildren.
As 2015 citizen of the year, Meredith was presented with a selection of gift cards from local restaurants and a gift package from Creston’s Pharmsave. Flowers were presented to Marion.
Creston Mayor Ron Toyota and Regional District of Central Kootenay Area B director Tanya Wall and Area C director Larry Binks formally announced the opening of this year’s Creston Valley Blossom Festival. Blossom Festival committee president Joanna Wilson introduced committee members and thanked them for their efforts.
Entertainment for the sold-out evening was provided by Johnny Cash tribute performer David James and Big River. The group was a hit with the audience, which responded enthusiastically to each song.