Following in the footsteps of Ken Miller, Lower Kootenay Band Chief Jason Louie, Lew Truscott, Harry Haberstock, Chris Luke, Muriel Buhr and Henry Schoof, Sirdar’s Shannon Nickisch received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal on Sunday in Nelson.
About 70 people gathered in the Hume Hotel’s Hume Room for a reception led by Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall, who also organized voting for four recipients in her riding. Over 700 online and phone-in votes were recorded, with Salmo’s Dorothy Hearn, Nelson’s Joan Reichardt and Kaslo’s Bruce Walker being selected along with Nickisch.
“The medals commemorating the sixtieth year of our monarch’s reign are not only a once-in-a-lifetime award, but such medals are rare over the course of history,” she said. “Each one of you has made outstanding positive contributions to both your community and your country, and we are all the better for it.”
Some of Nickisch’s votes came during what seemed to be a Sirdar voting party.
“We got some great voice mails one Saturday night,” Mungall said to Nickisch. “People love you.”
“I don’t know what we would do without her,” said Wynndel Hall president Bruce Johnston in a letter read by Mungall. “Shannon has been an unsung hero on our board for such a long time.”
Nickisch has been a familiar face in the community for decades. The Creston Valley native served on the Prince Charles Secondary School student council, and later moved to Sirdar in 1964 and purchased Sirdar General Store.
In 1977, she continued a family history at the Wynndel Hall — her grandfather used to play the harpsichord at dances — by joining the board, on which she has served as secretary ever since, and has published a regular hall newsletter since 1982.
For 17 years, she was a trustee for School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) and the former School District No. 86 (Creston-Kaslo), staying on for two years after SD86 amalgamated with Nelson School District No. 7 (Nelson).
With even a brief visit to her store, it’s easy to see her passion for her unofficial position as Sirdar’s historian; the room is chock full of photos and artifacts.
Despite the list of accomplishments, no one was more shocked at the nomination than Nickisch herself.
“It was a complete surprise that someone put my name in,” she said. “It’s been quite an honour.”
She’s quick to brush off praise, though — getting involved is the only sensible thing to do.
“If you’re not on a committee, you don’t have a say in what happens,” she said.