Twice is nice for COTY recipients

Prince Albert Citizen of the Year co-winners Ron (second from left) and Shelley (third from left) Horn pose for a photo with members of the Kinsmen Club of Prince Albert and Prince Albert Daily Herald publisher Donna Pfeil. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

It’s going to be tough to top 2017 for Ron and Shelley Horn.

The Prince Albert couple began the year by winning the 2016 Chamber of Commerce Legacy Award and ended with a bang on Thursday when they were named co-recipients of the Prince Albert Citizen of the Year award.

The decision came as a shock for the longtime Prince Albert business owners, who first moved to the city in 1979, but it was still a welcome piece of news.

“It just means so much,” Shelley said shortly after wiping away a few tears. “It’s just such an honour. I feel totally blessed.”

“I just said to Shelley, ‘it’s 2017, 17 is our lucky number,’ and this year has been phenomenal with the accolades that have been heaped on our family and ourselves,” Ron added. “It’s just so gratifying and satisfying.”

There have been nearly 60 Prince Albert Citizen of the Year award recipients since businessman P.W. Mahon received the first one in 1958, but 2017 marks an unusual occasion. For only the second time, the award will be shared by co-winners, which supporters like Lyle Karasiuk thought was the only appropriate way to go.

“Their names kept coming up, but you couldn’t nominate one without the other,” said Karasiuk, who was one of roughly a dozen Prince Albert residents to nominate the couple. “They’re so intertwined in the community.”

As a nominator and former citizen of the year himself, Karasiuk said it was important to look for someone who gave back to the community. The Horns, with their extensive involvement in Prince Albert’s sports scene and non-profit events like the Relay for Life, were a perfect fit.

“You look at someone like the Horns who give back to the community, and it’s not just one area,” Karasiuk said. “It’s not just cycling in Prince Albert or the skate park or sports. It’s everything, and it’s not only giving (money), it’s giving time and talents.”

Whether it was taking tickets or sitting on planning committees, the Horns have been most active in Prince Albert sports. The couple played important roles when the city hosted the 1999 Western Canada Summer Games, 2002 Canadian Special Olympics Summer Games and 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games. They also helped build a number of local events like the Pine Needle Mountain Bike and Music Festival, which started in 2011.

Fellow volunteers like Karasiuk were always impressed with the couple’s work ethic and dedication.

“You ask (for help) and it’s never a no,” he said. “It’s always ‘how can we help? How can we do this?’”

Ron and Shelley didn’t limit their activities to sports either. Ron was a member of the Kinsmen Club of Prince Albert and remains active in the Downtown Business Improvement District. Shelley joined the Kinettes and has spent long hours volunteering for the Canadian Cancer Society.

She says their volunteer support is a reflection of their time spent growing up in small-town Saskatchewan, where helping your neighbour is a way of life.

“That’s just what you do. You get involved,” she said. “Our boys were involved in skiing, so I got involved in skiing. It’s just something that you do.”

Thursday’s award announcement was particularly special for Ron, who joined the Kinsmen on the advice of a friend shortly after moving to Prince Albert. Kinsmen Club members were on hand to unveil the surprise Thursday morning, which brought back more than a few fond memories.

“I can remember working the bingos in the smoke-filled halls and Shelley joined the Kinettes,” Ron remembered. “It’s kind of interesting that today the Kinsmen are a part of this award. It’s starts there, with giving back to the community that you live in, and that’s rewarding.”

The couple joins a long list of past Prince Albert Citizen of the Year winners, including the most recent winner, Sheryl Kimbley. They said it’s very humbling to be included on that list with so many people who have accomplished so much.

“There are so many people, so many families, who have given their time and their money and their efforts to make Prince Albert a better place to be and a place of opportunity for a lot of people,” Ron said. “It’s just really good to be a part of that, and go down in the books as contributing to a better Prince Albert.”

A date has not been officially set for the 2017 Citizen of the Year Gala, however tickets will go on sale in January.

The annual award is handed out by a selection committee that includes members of the Prince Albert Daily Herald and Kinsmen Club from Prince Albert.

Prior to 2017 the only co-winners of the Prince Albert Citizen of the Year award were Bill and Jean Neil, who were recognized in 1976.

Past Prince Albert Citizen of the Year winners

2016 – Sheryl Kimbley

2015- Duane Hayunga

2014 – Jeannette Eddolls

2013 – Lyle Karasiuk

2012 – Harris May

2011 – Dale McFee

2010 – Frank Moore

2009 – Donna Christopherson

2008 – Art Hauser

2007 – Dr. Lalita Malhotra

2006 – Malcolm Jenkins

2005 – Bill Smiley

2004 – Molly Cowie

2003 – Mitch Holash

2002 – Bernice Sayese

2001 – Maurice Casgrain

2000 – Marge Nainaar

1999 – Howard Gange

1998 – Ed Glynn

1997 – James Wilm

1996 – Jack Matheson

1995 – Fern Lloyd

1994 – Myrna Nagy

1993 – Eugene Arcand

1992 – Ajay Krishan

1991 – Larry Zatlyn

1990 – Alma Newman

1989 – Jim Bristowe

1988 – Dr. Orville Hjertaas

1987 – Naomi Tucker

1986 – Jim Scarrow

1985 – Stan Danbrook

1984 – Cec Corrigal

1983 – Val Longworth

1982 – Herschel Davidner

1981 – George Slater

1980 – Eileen Lillico

1979 – Percy Hiltz

1978 – Kris Eggum

1977 – Marjorie Wettergreen

1976 – Bill and Jean Neil

1975 – Alma Jeanneau

1974 – R.J. Casey

1973 – J.J. Cennon

1972 – Archdeacon W.F. Payton

1971 – Leafie McDonald

1970 – Reg Brooman

1969 – Wilf Beaton

1968 – Major Arthur Shadgett

1967 – Orville Erickson

1966 – Maurice Longpre

1965 – Tillie Kawula

1964 – Margo Fournier

1963 – Dave Dalziel

1962 – Rowena McLellan

1961 – Andy Zwack

1960 – Marion Sherman

1959 – Margaret Hasseltine

1958 – P.W. Mahon