During the Creston Valley Blossom Festival, two outstanding citizens were recognized for their contributions to the community with the Citizens of the Year Awards.
Demetre Karountzos was chosen for his show of generosity and commitment to volunteerism. He belongs to many local non-profits including the Lions, Legion, Rotary, and Free Masons.
“Demetre is a compassionate, generous man who is always thinking of how he can help others,” said his nominators Candace and Ken Sommerfeld of the Creston Lions Club, having known him for 30 years. “He is not interested in being in the limelight. He is content to give people joy without thanks or recognition. A lot of people do not know the good Demetre does in our community.”
Every Christmas, Karountzos has provided free meals to many people in need at “No One Eats Alone”, through his catering business. The event allows attendees to enjoy each other’s company with a full Christmas dinner, on a day they otherwise might have spent alone. Even during the pandemic, he insisted that the event continue by making meals for pick-up or delivery.
Not only that, he donates to the Gleaners Food Bank on a regular basis, delivering over 200 frozen soups during the days of COVID-19. Once per month, he also donates to the soup kitchen at the Catholic Holy Cross Hall.
In the past, his fundraising efforts have even led to the shaving of his famous moustache. At first, he was only going to trim it, but with donations coming in, he decided to shave it all off. It was the only time many of his friends had seen him with a naked top lip.
As a lion, he has given his time to many projects including the East Kootenay Foundation for Health’s Starlite Campaign, Special Olympics, Childhood Cancer, and the local returnables program.
“His kindness to others goes above and beyond,” said the Sommerfelds. “All in the name of helping others – we believe Demetre lives this motto every day of his life.”
The junior Citizen of the Year for 2023 is 17-year-old Ella Moore. She is an excellent student who has shown drive to make the world a better place.
At Kootenay River Secondary School, Moore was a member of student council and spearheaded an anti-hate campaign, including the creation of an anonymous reporting system to administration through a convenient QR code. While she was president of student council, she was able to organize the first school dance since the pandemic, an effort that included fundraising, and finding teacher sponsors. She also served as a student trustee for School District 8 and a member of the Yearbook Club. For her Leadership course, she partnered with the Creston Ministerial Association and Ms. Ward to collect items for the 2023 Christmas hampers. She assisted in sorting and preparing items for distribution, and also solely delivered over 200 donations.
For the last 10 years, Moore has also been involved with the Footlighters Theatre Society and has shown great leadership among her peers. She’s always set a great example for fellow cast mates by helping those who are new to acting feel confident. She has also dedicated herself to learning stage management and often takes on backstage duties. Most recently, she stage managed the high school production of the Addams Family, overseeing a five-person crew.
“Ella is dedicated to creating an inclusive community,” said her nominator Jennifer Huscroft, a member of Footlighters. “She has always shown determination, with an attitude of service to her community.”