Brezden officially recognized as 2023 Citizen of the Year

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Prince Albert 2023 Citizen of the Year Barry Brezden is presented his Citizen of the Year plaque by Prince Albert Kinsmen President Wes Moore at the Citizen of the Year banquet on Friday evening at the Coronet Hotel.

Barry Brezden would rather give praise to others than receive praise for himself.

He had to get used to it at the Coronet Hotel on Friday, however, when the Lakeland Saskatchewan Senior Fitness Association (SSFA) president was recognized as Prince Albert’s 2023 Citizen of the Year.

“It’s a little bit overwhelming,” Brezden said. “Me personally, I would rather be giving those types of comments to other people rather than people talking to me.”

Brezden was recognized with a formal Citizen of the Year Banquet at the Coronet Hotel on Friday evening. He said he was amazed and grateful for the compliments he received during the evening, but credited the people he worked with for his success.

During his speech, Brezden said everyone in attendance deserved to be named Citizen of the Year.

“I am always looking for the benefit of everybody else rather than me, and none of that will happen without a group of people around you,” he explained.

Brezden said learned he would be named Citizen of the Year prior to a meeting at the Bison Café in February. He was taken aback to hear the news by Kinsmen President Wes Moore.

“Wes just advised me that I won the Citizen of the Year award and I said, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ Brezden remembered.

Since becoming president of the SSFA in 2022, Brezden has made an impact by bringing together various organizations to raise their profile along with the SSFA. These include the Prince Albert Legion, Off the Cuff Improv and many partner businesses.

He said his goal has always been to get seniors active, beginning when he lived in British Columbia and extending to when he moved to Prince Albert.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Kinsmen President Wes Moore, 2023 Citizen of the Year Barry Brezden and Daily Herald Publisher Donna Pfeil pose with the plaque recognizing Prince Albert’s Citizen of the Year at the Citizen of the Year banquet on Friday evening at the Coronet Hotel.

“The people my age, seniors, they always say there is nothing to do. Well, I said, ‘Well, what would you like to do?’ And some people would tell me some people wouldn’t tell me,” Brezden explained.

“I guess the biggest thing I can help them with is to get them active because I learned back then that you can control Alzheimer’s and dementia and depression and all that kind of stuff by being active.”

When he moved to Prince Albert his passion for seniors fitness grew. He wanted to start a club, but didn’t have a vehicle, or know where to begin. That changed with the SSFA came knocking.

“I saw the ad in the paper and it was just like the Good Lord said, ‘here.’ We already had the SSFA going (but) not so much out in Lakeland. Sandra (Greenwood) and I were the first two members and then I said, ‘OK, let’s take the ball and run with it’ and that’s where it started.

“I am absolutely passionate about getting anybody (active), not just the young people, not just the old people. Anybody over 18 can join our club,” he added.

Brezden also does not believe in electronic forms of communication like email and walks to visit in person everyone who sees during the week. 

Brezden noted that the SSFA has both Facebook and a website.

“I just want anybody and everybody to check it out because we have we don’t have just our events on there,” he explained. “We take all kinds of events. We take events that other clubs in town are having, club partners and we put that on there. I know that I’ve had lots of people tell me that that Facebook page is second to none. Just check us out.”

He again encouraged anyone over 18 to put their $20 in and join the SSFA.

“Get your membership in and you know what? You will never look back because I’ve had people who absolutely said no. Then I told them and they said to come to a couple of events and before they left the second event, they gave me $20,” he said.

Once you join you get discounts at local businesses with your membership.

“We’re interested in local businesses and that’s it, small guys,” he added.

“We don’t force anybody to do anything but you know what you’re missing, you’re missing. You know if you don’t join this club, you’re missing because we have something for everybody.”

The emcee for the evening was Brezden’s friend Adreanna Boucher. Before supper was served Boucher and Brezden did an impromptu improv act.

At the head table were Kinsmen President Wes Moore, Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne, Daily Herald Publisher Donna Pfeil, Boucher and Brezden.

Brezden was introduced by Boucher, who told the story of first meeting Brezden before they became partners with the SSFA through Off the Cuff working with them as well as acting workshops presented by Boucher.

Dionne presented Brezden with recognition from the City along with a City of Prince Albert Award of Merit.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Prince Albert 2023 Citizen of the Year Barry Brezden is presented A City of Prince Albert Order of Merit plaque by Mayor Greg Dionne at the Citizen of the Year banquet on Friday evening at the Coronet Hotel.

Moore presented Brezden with the Citizen of the Year plaque. Daily Herald Publisher Donna Pfeil presented Brezden with a framed image from the Daily Herald when he was named Citizen of the Year earlier this year.

Brezden had speeches talking about his commitment to the community done by Sandra Greenwood and Glenda Goertzen of the SSFA and Prince Albert Legion President Rick Hodgson.

Pfeil, Dionne, Prince Albert Northcote MLA Alana Ross and Moore each gave speeches recognizing all that Brezden has done with the SSFA and as a citizen of Prince Albert. Boucher also read a letter from Prince Albert Carlton MLA Joe Hargrave congratulating Brezden on his selection.

Also on hand were former Citizen of the Year honourees Kris Eggum, Harris May, Frank Moore, Marjorie Bodnarchuk, Marie Mathers and Joel Longworth on behalf of Val Longworth.

The Citizen of the Year Award has been handed out every year since 1958. Winners are chosen by a committee that includes members of the Prince Albert Kinsmen Club and Prince Albert Daily Herald.

Recent Citizen of the Year winners:

2022 – Marjorie Bodnarchuk

2021 – Marie Mathers

2020 – Margaret Ferguson

2019 – Janet Carriere

2018 – Felix Casavant and Derek Smith

2017 – Ron and Shelley Horn

2016 – Sheryl Kimbley

2015 – Duane Hayunga