Grasmere citizen to be honoured posthumously for contributions

MLA Bill Bennett will present the family of Grasmere’s Lita Salanski with the province’s newest honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship.

Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett, on behalf of Premier Christy Clark, will present the family of Grasmere’s Lita Salanski with the province’s newest honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship, in recognition of the late woman’s contributions to her community.

The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. at Triple Tree Ranch in Grasmere on May 14.

Launched in July 2015 by Premier Clark, the prestigious Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward. The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life. Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round.

Salanski passed away in September 2015 and her legacy to her community will continue for future generations. The posthumous honour, to be accepted by her family, recognizes the impact she had on Grasmere, its ranching and farming community, educational infrastructure and spiritual foundation through her involvement with the Triangle Women’s Institute (TWI),  the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Council of Cattlemen, East Kootenay College Board, and the Grasmere United Church.

At the same time Salanski was adjusting to married life, raising a family and building and running a business, she became involved in the many projects of the TWI. Her leadership skills along with her enthusiasm played a major role in TWI’s success in bringing a modern highway, electric power and telephone to the isolated community of Grasmere. She spent countless hours writing letters, lobbying the government, knocking on doors and selling the idea that the residents of Grasmere were part of British Columbia and needed to have the amenities others took for granted.

She was passionate about the need for education and became a local school board trustee and later became the chairman of the board. Salanski was a founding member of the East Kootenay Community College board and later an honorary member of its board. She worked to improve the economy of the area through her involvement in local farming organizations, leading her to become the first female president of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association. She also served on the Canadian Council of Cattlemen board.

Her service to her community extended to many other organizations like 4-H and the Grasmere United Church and she was instrumental in ensuring the congregation established a place of worship within the community.

“Lita Salanski was a force of nature and an inspiration to younger generations; her determination made life better in Grasmere and the East Kootenay,” said Bennett. “Between family life and tireless community work, hers was a life well lived and with this honour we celebrate all she has accomplished.”