Marie Morris was Vernon’s New Year’s baby in 1939, but now she has a new claim to fame.
On Wednesday, the long-time volunteer was named Vernon’s Good Citizen of the Year.
“Really?” said Morris as the news began to sink in during the announcement.
“I’m totally blown away.”
Over the years, Morris has been the president of the local Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Vernon Winter Carnival chairperson and president of the Kinette Club, while also being active with minor hockey, the Kokanee Swim Club, Camp Hurlburt, canvassing for charities door to door and chaperoning sports teams.
She is currently on the executive of Special Olympics and was, in fact, pulled out of a meeting at the People Place so she could be surprised with the Good Citizen honour.
“It’s a mind-boggling task she does,” said Alison Dennis, Special Olympics volunteer co-ordinator, of Morris registering 120 athletes a year.
“She’s a joy to work with and she’s made everything better in the community.”
Morris is also known for various activities at Trinity United Church, including volunteering in the office, various behind the scenes work, helping young families and seniors get to services and driving youth to Mackenzie Camp.
“I love her to death. She’s kind and sweet and knows her stuff,” said Jillian Thompson, Trinity’s administrative assistant.
She was nominated by daughter Susan Morris, one of five children.
“She’s fantastic. She doesn’t like the attention but it’s so deserving,” said son Rob Morris.
“She’s always done so much, even when I was a kid.”
The Good Citizen of the Year award was presented by JCI Vernon in front of a large crowd of Marie Morris’ friends and family.
“She was chosen because of her dedication to the community,” said Jay Keis, JCI president.
“From seeing the amount of people show up, it was a good decision.”
The Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy will provide $500 for Morris to donate to a charity of her choice and she will be featured in the Vernon Winter carnival parade.
Even with all of the accolades, Morris insists she is the one who benefits from volunteering.
“There’s a lot of pleasure out of meeting people. It’s very fulfilling,” she said.