PRINCE ALBERT — On Feb. 13, Jeanette Eddolls of Prince Albert was honoured with the 2014 Citizen of the Year award at a banquet sponsored by the Prince Albert Kinsmen Club and the Prince Albert Daily Herald. The annual event, founded by the Kinsmen Club in the 1950s, strives to recognize community members positively contributing to the city.
Special guests and dignitaries included MLAs Nadine Wilson and Victoria Jurgens, Prince Albert city councillor Mark Tweidt, Prince Albert Daily Herald managing editor Darryl Mills, and president of the Kinsmen Club Darren Soloman.
Twenty Prince Albert residents submitted nomination letters to the selection committee in support of Jeanette Eddolls. And it was evident that she was a worthy candidate, given her many achievements, which include developing the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division’s Hope Project and creating and operating a Christmas store for students at St. Michael Catholic Community school. She also works with Japanese foreign exchange students, collects handmade quilts for families in need, and donates her time to parish life. She consults on numerous projects operated by social agencies and spends hours promoting community needs to service groups, churches, government agencies and businesses.
Catholic Family Services, a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to promote and maintain the integrity of the family as a basic unit of society, was one of the agencies Eddolls worked tirelessly at, searching for new programs, organizing fundraisers and developing workshops.
Banquet MCs and friends, Jackie Packet and Beverly Robin, introduced Eddolls.
“Rest assured that those of you who are friends, will feel like family before the evening is over. That is just the way Jeannette does things — you always feel like family in Jeannette’s presence.”
Packet described Eddolls as a quiet individual without a lot of “pomp and circumstance.” A collection bin for socks, similar to the ones Eddolls is known for distributing in the community, was presented by the MCs to banquet attendees for those who wished to donate socks or other items.
“We have to make Jeannette feel comfortable, and though the room is beautiful, it wouldn’t be complete without a bin for those in need.”
MLA Nadine Wilson came forward as the meal ended to read a letter she wrote for Eddolls.
“You no doubt will leave a lasting legacy as a volunteer, community leader, team member and mother. Volunteers are truly the core of what makes our neighbourhoods and communities great places to live, and raise our families. As one of our community’s most prominent volunteers, you’re truly deserving of our gratitude today. Being active in helping those at church, the community and those in need, we have all benefited greatly thanks to your efforts. Your actions inspire all of us to do more to help others.”
City councillor Mark Tweidt presented an award from the city, saying, “It’s caring people like Jeannette that make Prince Albert great. Our city always finds a way to look after people. I’m proud of that.”
Darryl Mills, managing editor for the Daily Herald, met Jeannette for the first time on the day co-workers and friends joined together to surprise her with the announcement of the award. Quoting from a letter of nomination, he read, “Where there’s a need there’s Jeannette.”
“It’s evident that the work she’s done in this community has been so meaningful, in such a quiet way. What’s striking, is that she wasn’t chosen for just one thing that set her apart in 2014, but dozens of things from over the past decades.”
Darren Solomon, president of the Kinsmen Club, explained how the awards committee looks for candidates in the community who have been a part of special volunteer opportunities.
“It’s not easy selecting a recipient every year. Jeannette should be recognized for her 30 years of hard work.”
He shared quotes from the nomination letters, stating how moved he was by the number of people who have been, in some way, touched by Eddolls.
“Remarkable citizen, humble, hardworking, natural mentor, leader, role model, author, tutor, hero, genuine, caring, supportive, dedicated friend were just some of the words used to describe her. She is definitely someone to aspire to.”
The Sisters of Heart, a group of ladies whom Eddolls has met with for 13 years, took part in nominating Jeanette for her volunteerism in the community. With previous pastoral assistant at St. Michael Parish, Sister Irene Ouellette, FDP, the group gathers regularly to enrich their faith and be women of service, continuing the mission of the Daughters of Providence as lay persons.
Executive director Louise Zurowski described Eddolls as being “hands on, even so far as painting and installing new flooring on the stairs with the Knights of Columbus.”
Following a presentation by her daughter Colleen and friend, Judy Beddome, Jeannette replied and expressed her shock and gratitude to those responsible for the award.
“To me much of life should embody an aspect of making our world a better place for all. Since Prince Albert and area has been my home and work place for several years it makes sense for me to start here, at home. When I reflected on what I have received over the years from my involvement in the community, I quickly realized I have received more than I have ever given, and met many wonderful people from all walks of life.”