The betting money was on former Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Shirley Fowler having her first date with future husband, Fred, at a local gravel pit.
It wasn’t (Sadie Hawkins Day Dance).
Edna Luxton, 2007 Citizen of the Year, stunned the crowd of former award winners and dignitaries gathered at an appreciation afternoon tea hosted by the chamber Tuesday, Aug. 24, at the Brown Derby Restaurant by announcing she harboured a secret desire to learn pole dancing.
The two fabulous questions were part of a nine-question quiz on former Citizen of the Year winners compiled by the Brown Derby’s Carolyn Russell with her husband and partner, Neil Todd, announcing the answers to the quiz.
Former Armstrong Legion president Ken Brandel – the last person named Citizen of the Year prior to COVID in 2019 – along with his wife, Judy, and Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser correctly answered six of nine questions to earn the dubious honour of cutting and serving a massive cake to the audience.
“This year is a reflection of looking back,” said Fraser, addressing the winners before cutting the cake. “Everybody’s done a great job and thank you for all of your service to our communities.”
The township also gives $500 to the Citizen of the Year but because there will not be one named for a second straight year due to COVID, the money will be divided up among local organizations as recommended by the former winners.
Brandel jokingly begrudged carrying on as the reigning Citizen of the Year.
“If I have to,” he smiled. Brandel continues to do work for the local Legion.
Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper attended with mother-in-law, 1997 winner Alberta Frost.
“Every one of you has done something great for our communities, and it’s great to get together to celebrate that,” said Pieper.
Frost, Fowler (2004), Luxton and Brandel were among 11 former winners who attended the recognition tea. They were joined by Judy Ells (1989), Cathy Crane (1998), Jessie Ann Gamble (2003), Jack Jamieson (2006, with his late wife, Dawn), Betty Bifano (2012), John Hoile (2015) and Barb Schmidt (2018).
All attendees enjoyed tea and finger food, courtesy of the Brown Derby, and had to follow 21 strict afternoon tea rules of etiquette.
The Citizen of the Year award was first handed out to Fred Bechtold in 1976. There have been 45 total winners, with 10 of them being couples.