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Home News Longtime volunteer Marie Mathers named Prince Albert’s 2021 Citizen of the Year

Longtime volunteer Marie Mathers named Prince Albert’s 2021 Citizen of the Year

Longtime volunteer Marie Mathers named Prince Albert’s 2021 Citizen of the Year
Marie Mathers, Prince Albert’s 2021 Citizen of the Year, speaks with reporters at the Prince Albert Royal Canadian Legion location on Tuesday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Marie Mathers has spent decades volunteering and serving at numerous community organizations, and those efforts are a big reason she is Prince Albert’s 2021 Citizen of the Year.

Mathers received the news while at the Prince Albert Royal Canadian Legion on Tuesday, one of many venues in the city where she volunteers her time. She said it was an unexpected honour, but a welcome one.

“To be honest, I didn’t want to believe (them) because there’s never been anything like this that happened to me,” Mathers said during an interview. “It is a very (great) surprise. I think there are probably other people who do as much as I do.”

Mathers moved to Prince Albert from Manitoba in 1966 when her husband was transferred. At the time, Mathers spoke only French, but she worked hard to earn English, and eventually became enmeshed in the community.

She loved working with children, and began volunteering as a Scout leader. She held that role for 47-and-a-half years, while also helping with other groups like Cubs and Rovers.

She’s also volunteered with the St. John’s Ambulance, Vintage Power Machines Threshing Festival, and of course, the Legion.

Mathers decided to stay in Prince Albert after her husband passed away, and hasn’t regretted it.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with people,” Mathers said.

“(With the) Legion, there are different people coming in from young to older, and I enjoy it.”

Prince Albert Citizen of the Year Marie Mathers (centre) poses for a photo with Prince Albert Kinsmen Club member of Citizen of the Year project chair Wes Moore (left), Kinsmen Club vice-president Gavin Holcomb (centre-left), Prince Albert Daily Herald publisher Donna Pfeil (centre-right) and Prince Albert Daily Herald marketing manager Erin Bergen (right). — Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Fellow Legion volunteer Suzanne Bantle nominated Mathers for the Citizen of the Year Award. Bantle said she always saw Mathers volunteering around the community, but didn’t realize just how involved she was until they became friends while working at the Legion.

“She’s just an awesome lady, awesome, and she never gives up,” Bantle said. “She’s always doing something for everybody.”

Bantle added that Mathers has become the person she goes to for help when at the Legion. She said Mathers has incredible knowledge, and a strong work ethic.

“Marie is a pillar of this community,” Bantle said. “She’s always volunteering. You always see her all over the place. She gives of her heart. She gives of her soul. She just does whatever she needs to do. She’s got her finger on (the pulse) of the community.”

Mathers will receive her award during a special ceremony at City Hall in December. The date has yet to be confirmed.

In past years, the Citizen of the Year has been honoured at a banquet. That didn’t happen in 2020 or 2021 due to concerns about COVID. The organizing committee plans to return to the in-person banquet ceremony next year.

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:

2020 – Margaret Ferguson

2019 – Janet Carriere

2018 – Felix Casavant and Derek Smith

2017 – Ron and Shelley Horn

2016 – Sheryl Kimbley

2015 – Duane Hayunga