Over the years, Cindy Masters has nominated numerous people for the JCI Vernon Good Citizen of the Year award, but never attended any surprise meetings to announce the winner.
Masters picked a great time to attend her first one Tuesday.
The Kindale Developmental Association’s development officer was chosen as the Good Citizen of the Year Tuesday at a Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce Business After 5 function, hosted by the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives.
“I’m in shock, totally surprised and overwhelmed It doesn’t seem real,” said Masters, 57, who is a regular attendee of Business After 5. She was told by emcee Sarah Moorhouse of JCI Vernon that she’d won an extra door prize.
Moorhouse told the packed house inside the museum that Masters has worked tirelessly the last 10 years for Kindale, which serves adults and youth with diverse abilities to be able to participate in community events and employment, just like everyone else.
“Cindy is involved in many fundraising and awareness campaigns for Kindale, sometimes in partnership with other causes,” said Moorhouse, reading from one of two nominations for Masters to take the honour. “I realize that this may be part of her job but she seems to be involved in everything including organizing dances, barbecues, and the Kindale thrift store.”
A wife, mother of one and friend to hundreds, Masters’ contributions in the community extend beyond the walls of Kindale.
She is a Funtastic director, member of the Vernon Vipers Booster Club, Vernon Toastmasters, 100+ Women Who Care, Interior Provincial Exhibition volunteer, and attends many community fundraising events including the United Way Drive-Thru Breakfast, Valentine’s For Mexico, JCI Vernon Gala, Women’s Transition House fundraisers, and A Night to Remember Dance for Alzheimers.
Masters volunteered endlessly in 2017 with sandbagging during the floods; she attended a birthday party for a young man she didn’t know to make sure he knew people cared; helped struggling families have the Christmas they deserve; and comes to the aid of friends in all and any way she can to support them during hard times.
“We could write a 10 page report on Cindy and why she deserves this recognition and that is exactly why JCI Vernon has chosen her,” said Moorhouse.
Said Masters: “I don’t do any of the things I do to be recognized. I do them because it’s the right thing to do and I believe strongly in our community. What I say all the time is ‘together, we do make a difference.’ I really do believe that.”
Born and raised in Vernon, graduating from Vernon Senior Secondary in 1978, Masters moved to Vancouver upon graduation and landed a job with the United Way.
Her first volunteer gig, she remembers, was answering phones for the federal Liberals when Pierre Elliot Trudeau was running to be Prime Minister.
“That’s how long ago I started volunteering,” laughed Masters, who has appeared in the Vernon Winter Carnival Parade, but never at the front. That will change Saturday, Feb. 3, when she’ll be near the beginning of the lineup as the Good Citizen of the Year.
She will also be recognized at the Vernon Winter Carnival Winter Breakout at the Schubert Centre Feb. 7.
Any businesses wishing to contribute to a community gift basket for Masters, please contact Moorhouse at 250-309-4257 or firstname.lastname@example.org.