She was at the awards show hoping to hear the organization she oversees called out as a winner.
Gail Salter never imagined she would hear her name.
Representing the nominated Armstrong Spallumcheen Museum and Art Gallery (ASMAS), of which she is the current president, Salter instead was called to the front of the packed Farmstrong Cider Co. Thursday, May 11, to accept the award as Armstrong Spallumcheen Citizen of the Year.
The announcement came near the end of the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce’s Community Excellence Awards.
“I was absolutely flabbergasted, so surprised,” said Salter after accepting her award from city mayor Joe Cramer and township councillor Joe Van Tienhoven. “I came here to support ASMAS, which was nominated for three or four awards, and to support (museum administrator Lindholm) Lark, who was nominated.”
Event emcees Marc Szarek and Madison Reynolds, directors of the chamber board, gave a number of hints to the capacity crowd before announcing Salter’s name as Citizen of the Year.
“This person demonstrates strength, commitment and leadership to many not-for-profit organizations,”said Szarek. “They chair meetings, participates in committee work and is quick to lend a hand for any project or event.”
Added Reynolds: “This person is a kind, passionate, enthusiastic volunteer who leads by example. They support other volunteers, ensuring they feel valued and that their efforts are appreciated.”
Salter arrived in Armstrong in 1989. She has served on the executive of the Armstrong Credit Union. Serves on the strata council for the Meadow Creek Lane housing development. Supports Communities in Bloom, the Royal Canadian Legion’s Candlelight Ceremony and is a member of the Armstrong Heritage Society.
She was joined at her table Thursday by fellow heritage society and ASMAS society member Jessie Ann Gamble and Gamble’s husband, Len. Gamble was the Citizen of the Year 20 years earlier in 2003. The third heritage society member, the late Dawn Jamieson, was Citizen of the Year with her late husband Jack in 2006.
“I’ve joined some pretty impressive company,” said Salter, who will be duly honoured during Armstrong-Spallumcheen’s Canada Day celebrations July 1 in Memorial Park.