Elkford Councillor Mandy McGregor with the 2019 Citizens of the Year, Cindy Hesje and Carol Robertson. Submitted

Volunteers named Elkford Citizens of the Year

Local women recognized for work with curling club, golf course and concert series

Almost 40 years after arriving in the Elk Valley, two Elkford residents have been honoured for their selfless dedication to their community.

The District of Elkford recently named Cindy Hesje and Carol Robertson as 2019 Citizens of the Year. Both said they were surprised but extremely honoured to be recognized by the town.

“I don’t even know how to explain it,” said a speechless Robertson as she sat beside Hesje in her home.

“Cindy had commented after the fact that there’s so many volunteers and great people in this town… when you’re volunteering to do something, you’re not doing it for a reward, it’s just – you do it because you do it.

“It takes so many people in a community to keep our not-for-profit clubs active and viable,” added Hesje.

In Elkford, Hesje explained, countless people step up to help all the time. She said if there is a need for a service, it goes without saying that someone will step up. Because of this, she said it feels strange to receive special recognition.

Robertson is known in the community for her work with the Elkford Curling Club, the golf course, concert network Home Routes and various other volunteer roles.

Outside of all this, she is a loving grandmother with three very active grandchildren. Robertson will often volunteer to help with school functions.

She didn’t know it at the time but Robertson was nominated for this award by Hesje.

“It’s not just other clubs she’s involved with, she’s involved in the community, period,” said Hesje.

If there is an event in town, Robertson will be there. If someone is sick, she’ll be at their door offering support.

In addition to this, she loves where she lives and never hesitates to share something good about Elkford with someone from out of town.

“She has to say nice things when I’m sitting here,” joked Robertson, who went on to explain why Hesje deserves this recognition.

“Cindy’s everywhere in town and even volunteers in Sparwood. She’s a great ambassador and always has a great smile.”

Hesje has volunteered as a junior coach with the curling club, as well as at the golf course and Home Routes. The grassroots home concert series runs throughout the winter at the golf course. Home Routes has been very well received, with each concert hosting over 80 guests.

Robertson came to the valley in 1984 after her husband got a job in Elkford, followed by Hesje who came to the town five years later for the same reason.

“When we moved, my daughters were very young. It was a great place to raise a young family,” said Robertson. “It took a few months but I definitely fell in love with Elkford… this is definitely home.”

When Hesje’s husband landed the job, they packed their bags and moved from Saskatchewan.

“He came out for his interview, got the job, I still had no idea where Elkford was or what kind of community it was,” said Hesje.

Both took a leap of faith, which proved to be the best decision they ever made.

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