They’ve come to Armstrong to celebrate end of summer for years.
Sisters Abigail and Emma Mitchell, from Haida Gwaii, would visit the North Okanagan for swimming. For back-to-school shopping. For the Interior Provincial Exhibition.
This year, the sisters are a smidge late with their visit, as they missed the IPE, but they’re fine with that. The common denominator in all of the visits has been family member Gail Salter of Armstrong, the girls’ great aunt.
The Mitchells were part of the crowd gathered at the Armstrong branch of the Royal Canadian Legion Tuesday, Sept. 12, to watch Salter be honoured as the 2023 Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.
“We’ve been visiting her since we were little girls,” said Abigail, who now works for a non-profit organization in Haida Gwaii (Emma is a nurse in Terrace). “She’s taught us to be graceful, and she’s taught us to be good persons.”
Salter was officially named Citizen of the Year at the chamber’s Business Excellence Awards in May, and was honoured again during Canada Day celebrations July 1 at Armstrong’s Memorial Park.
At the Legion, she was joined for tea, sandwiches and snacks by many former winners. Salter was presented with gift bags from Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo, and mayors Christine Fraser (Spallumcheen) and Joe Cramer (Armstrong), as well as a bouquet of flowers from chamber executive director and emcee Patti Noonan.
“It’s been a pleasure to work around and volunteer around the community,” said Salter. “I certainly got as much pleasure out of it. I don’t really know that I deserve any honour for it. But thank you very much for the honour.”
Salter, who arrived in Armstrong in 1989, was selected Citizen of the Year for her strength, commitment and leadership to many not-for-profit organizations.
She has served on the executive of the Armstrong Credit Union and serves on the strata council for the Meadow Creek Lane housing development. Salter is a big supporter of Communities in Bloom, the Royal Canadian Legion’s Candlelight Ceremony and is a member of the Armstrong Heritage Society.
The Citizen of the Year Award was first presented in 1975 to Fred Bechtold.
Past winners on hand at the Legion Sept. 12 included Judy Els (1989), Jessie Ann Gamble (2003), Shirley Fowler (2004), Pat Hudson (with wife, Marilyn, in 2009), Rick Medhurst (2011), Betty Bifano (2012), Rea Smith (2013, who shared the award in Armstrong’s Centennial Year with the late Ruth Bosomworth), John Hoile (2015), Carol Maxson (2016), and Linda Fisher (2022).