Silas Mertz receiving the Outstanding Youth award presented by Mayor Blair Painter on April 21 at the MDM Centre. Nick Allen photo.
Nicholas L. M. Allen
Apr 26, 2023
During Volunteer Appreciation Night, Silas Mertz and Kean Mitchell recognized
Municipality of Crowsnest Pass hosted Volunteer Appreciation Night on April 21 to honour this year’s recipients of the Volunteer awards.
There were two winners this year, with Kean Mitchell and Silas Mertz taking home the two accolades. Mitchell won the Order of Crowsnest Pass – Outstanding Volunteer award and Mertz won the Outstanding Youth award.
This year’s recipient of the Order of the Crowsnest Pass - Outstanding Volunteer award moved to the Crowsnest Pass several years ago after retiring from Corrections Canada where he managed employability training. Since moving to the community in 2016, Mitchell has made a tremendous impact. On the Pass Powderkeg Ski Hill, Mitchell shows up to every event with a “positive attitude” and “immediately sets to work” to help wherever he is needed.
“I appreciate the nomination and selection for this award, but I really do want to acknowledge all the other nominees as well as all the volunteers in the room tonight. It’s your contributions to this community that make this a great place to call home. Thanks so much,” said Mitchell.
The Outstanding Youth award was created to acknowledge the contribution youth volunteers have made in the community and in their school. The Crowsnest Pass Outstanding Youth award recognizes youth between the ages of 12 and 18 years old who make positive contributions to the community and their school on a volunteer basis. It recognizes the importance of acknowledging and celebrating the achievements and involvement of youth throughout the year. The recipient of this year’s award received a $1000 scholarship.
This year’s recipient of the Outstanding Youth award was nominated by two different people which spoke to his “deservedness” of the award. Silas Mertz is currently a Grade 12 student at Crowsnest Consolidated High School. Mertz has been a part of the CNP 40 Youth program for a few years, playing several roles within the program from helping plan team nights to carrying out community events.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of others in the community and having the opportunity and ability to give back to others as I grow up is a really special thing, thank you,” said Mertz.
Mayor Blair Painter gave some opening remarks before the event got underway and explained how they had to host the event online,
“It’s been a few years since we were able to celebrate this event in person,” said Painter, “We did continue to honor our special volunteers, but we had to celebrate virtually and make personal deliveries to recipients.”
Painter said with the pandemic over, he was thrilled to be there in person to celebrate the community’s volunteers.
“Thank you to everyone who has joined us in celebrating and recognizing all the contributions that volunteers make to our amazing community. I feel a huge sense of pride living in such an engaged, caring and thoughtful community,” added Painter.
Although the evening was dedicated to honouring only two community volunteers, Painter took the time to share his appreciation of everyone who was not nominated as well.
Kim Lewis, who works for the Municipality in Family and Community Support Services, helped to put on the event saying she was “thrilled” to hold the event again.
“It’s a lot of fun for us to put on and have everybody here,” said Lewis.
Daryl Ferguson was the host for the night and dinner was provided by Chris’ Restaurant. Entertainment for the evening was provided by The Dueling Pianos.
Lewis also highlighted the Volunteer Crowsnest swag on the tables provided by the program’s coordinator.
“It’s an opportunity to bridge the gap between people who want to volunteer and organizations who are looking for more volunteers. If you have an opportunity, please go to the website, check it out and register your organization,” said Lewis.
Businesses can go to volunteercrowsnest.ca to register and residents can use the website to find places they can volunteer.