Two quiet achievers have been recognized for their tireless volunteerism and dedication to the Fernie community.
On Monday night, Jim and Alice Booth were named the 2019 recipients of the George S. Majic Spiritus Award, an honour bestowed to community members whose contributions and commitment to the city embodies strong community values and enhances the lives of fellow residents.
The annual award honours the late George S. Majic and was presented to the couple by Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza during Monday’s council meeting.
Qualizza explained that these individuals do much for the community while remaining largely in the shadows.
“If you don’t have the good fortune of knowing them, you wouldn’t even be aware of their contribution,” she said.
Jim and Alice have served on the board of executives at the Fernie Seniors Centre for many years, and were responsible for not only many physical repairs to the centre but also the restoration of regular programming for seniors, which Qualizza described as a much-needed community asset.
Prior to this, the couple tirelessly volunteered with every sport their kids were involved in; minor hockey, figure skating and the Fernie Ghostriders. They went on to volunteer at the Fernie Golf Club until they found their latest passion; the seniors centre.
“When I interviewed people for this piece, everyone said the same thing; if you need a hand, just call Jim and Alice. We’ve never seen them say no, they are tremendous volunteers,” said Qualizza.
Qualizza credited the couple for reducing social isolation through the seniors centre and working to ensure its programming meets the needs of a large variety of people.
“Receiving the George S. Majic Spiritus Award means more to us than you can imagine,” said Jim.
“George was a very good friend to Alice and I. He was also a very good friend to the community and to the City of Fernie. To receive the honour is something we hold very dear.
“George remains missed by many and we are proud to continue his legacy of volunteerism, and civic engagement,” he added.
George’s wife Anne also attended and said it was wonderful to see the Booths recognized.
“I really can feel that he’s smiling down on everybody,” she said. “The Mayor and the Council, and all the people, the family and Jim and Alice and saying ‘way to go guys’… He would be saying they deserve it, they’ve worked so hard.
“I think Jim and Alice, whatever they’re involved in, they want to make it better for others, so if they’re part of a club they work hard to make that club even better.”
Jim and Alice congratulated the other award nominees, and credited them as the reason Fernie is the vibrant home we all love.
They also thanked their fellow seniors centre volunteers, who dedicate many hours to the club and local seniors.
“We may have our name on the plaque but we would like to share it with all of the amazing volunteers at the drop-in centre and those that have fostered the efforts of seniors in our community,” said Jim.
“Lastly, thank you to the Mayor, Council and City staff for supporting the seniors centre over the years.”