Retia Wigen was awarded Citizen of the Year. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Retia Wigen was awarded Citizen of the Year. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Creston’s Citizens of the Year announced during Blossom Festival

Retia Wigen and Nicole Cobbe were honoured at the opening ceremonies

After a two-year hiatus, the opening ceremonies of the Creston Valley Blossom Festival were full of excitement.

On Friday, May 20, a full house was seated at the Kootenay River Secondary School Theatre to enjoy live entertainment from Discover Circus and the Metre Maids.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: The return of the Creston Valley Blossom Festival parade

At intermission, the much anticipated Citizen of the Year Awards were announced by the Creston Valley Rotary Club. Previously, the awards had been organized by the late John Huscroft, who was honoured in memory at the event.

The 2022 Citizen of the Year is Retia Wigen.

“She been a selfless and tireless worker for many causes throughout her life,” said presenter Jason Truscott.

“To this day at age 83, is the baby three, she is still donating as much as she can. At the present time, she’s still busy knitting and crocheting baby blankets donating them to whoever needs them, including hospitals and newborn outreach programs.”

Wigen is a member of one of the original founding families that settled in Creston.

“She has never lost touch with her humble beginnings, as she had to work very hard as a young child to keep her family farm alive,” said Truscott.

“She’s never lost that work ethic throughout her life.”

For 20 years in the Wynndel community, she organized and managed banquets at the community hall, serving over 100 guests at a time.

For years, she also donated up to 80 cakes for the Wynndel Christmas sale along with many other items.

She has also been very deeply involved with local golf, curling, and bowling events and was a member of the executive boards organizing the tournaments. She also aided the organizations by personally transporting members so they could participate.

Wigen was a member of the Red Cross for more than 20 years and hosted meetings in her home.

Throughout her life, her generosity has known no bounds. She sold hundreds of pajamas, baby clothing items, and crafts to help raise money for the Red Cross, Creston Valley Hospital, and others. She has also sewn hundreds of beautiful quilts and donated them to hospitals, schools, and the needy. Her kindness also included donating baked goods and garden vegetables far and wide.

“[Wigen] has spent much of the time in her life dedicated to helping others and not thinking much of herself,” said Truscott. “She has a habit to keep busy in her life, so she will keep giving until she can’t anymore.”

For the Junior Citizen of the Year Award, Nicole Cobbe was announced as the recipient.

Nicole Cobbe was awarded Junior Citizen of the Year. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Nicole Cobbe was awarded Junior Citizen of the Year. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

“The winner of this year’s award has contributed to the community while living with a disability, but most importantly, is just a good kid,” said Nicole Nixon, presenting the award on behalf of her father, Huscroft.

“One of the obstacles she has had to overcome is missing out on so many activities, as she has had many medical procedures and appointments in Vancouver. Yet, she remains upbeat. COVID has also been very difficult for her as she has an underlying medical condition and has been very isolated these last few years. However, her incredible attitude has kept her feeling positive throughout these difficult times.”

Cobbe helps out at the local orchard with her family by socializing with customers along with her dog.

She’s an active participant in the Art Barn and is also involved with Blind Beginnings, a group of children across Canada that have visual impairments.

“She’s loved by everyone that meets her, and I can attest to this,” said Nixon.

AwardsCreston Valley