There was a lot of extra perk in Tuesday’s regular coffee get-together for the Single Friends 60+ Group.
Carol Armstrong was surprised Tuesday morning by JCI Vernon members when she was announced as the 2018 JCI Vernon Good Citizen of the Year.
Armstrong is the founder and leader of the Single Friends 60+ Group, which has brought together older members of the community for the past 17 years. Armstrong organizes a variety of events including twice weekly coffee get-togethers, monthly dinners, dances, camping trips, hiking outings, card night and other special events throughout the year. She keeps the group informed about what’s happening in the community by producing a monthly newsletter. She also provides care and support for the group.
“I wouldn’t have kept doing this for 17 years if it wasn’t needed for everyone to meet new friends and have somebody to do something with, so I really appreciate them doing this,” said Armstrong. “I was so surprised and I’m so humbled by the recognition because it never occurred to me that that would happen. I just do it because I love everybody and I want to keep doing it. I didn’t expect any recognition.”
She began the group because she was single and knew there were more people like her in the community. The first coffee meeting was only eight people. Today, there are about 90 individuals in the group.
“Carol is an outstanding example of what it means to be a good citizen. Throughout the year, she spends countless hours building a stronger community. Basically, Carol has dedicated herself to helping others. She is the epitome of a great leader — she inspires those around her to do better and be better,” said Armstrong’s nominator Randy McDermid.
“Vernon Winter Carnival has a special place in Carol’s heart. She wants people to enjoy what Vernon has to offer during this very special time of year and will be the first person in line to get tickets for as many events as people are interested in going to,” said a co-nominator.
In addition to the administrative tasks associated with the group, Armstrong also visits sick members in the hospital, gives rides to those in need, house and pet sits and organizes celebrations of life when a member passes away. She is also active in raising money to support the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge Society in Sorrento, B.C., which provides safe and permanent homes for neglected, abused or unwanted donkeys.
Armstrong is also active in her church and annually sponsors a table at the annual Ladies Christmas Tea for six to 10 women to attend.
“We are really touched by the number of weekly and monthly events Carol is instrumental in organizing for her group. It’s great to see an engaged member of our community working to create friendships and facilitate activities for local seniors who are living on their own. She’s committed to making sure members of her group feel they belong and are never alone,” said Hailey Rilkoff, Chair of the 2018 JCI Vernon Good Citizen Award.
Armstrong will be honoured in the Vernon Winter Carnival Parade on Saturday, Feb. 2 and at the Vernon Winter Carnival Break Out at the Schubert Centre on Wednesday, Feb. 6. Thanks to the lawyers from Kidston and Company, Armstrong will also be awarded with $500 to donate to the local charity of her choice. Any additional businesses who want to contribute to a community gift basket for Armstrong are asked to contact Hailey Rilkoff at 250-308-4785 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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