Pictured from left

Pictured from left

Tributes paid to citizens

The Royal Canadian Legion was the scene of the banquet honouring Sharon Montgomery as Citizen of the Year for 2013.

Jim Sinclair

A turnout of about 100 was on hand Saturday night for a Rotary-sponsored event paying tribute to prominent citizens of Nakusp.

The Royal Canadian Legion was the scene of the banquet honouring Sharon Montgomery as Citizen of the Year for 2013. Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award were Chuck and Dawna Dinning.

Hosted by emcee Dan Nicholson the evening was officially kicked off with the national anthem accompanied by Marilyn Massey on piano, and featured a top notch spread prepared and served by the a group of hardworking Legion Ladies Auxiliary members.

Moving things along, as the supper plates were cleared the business of spotlighting some well-loved locals was attended to.

For starters, an introduction to the honorees – first nominated then voted in by an anonymous board:

Sharon Montgomery’s family has populated Nakusp for four generations. Having been away for a good number of years, the Chairperson of the Nakusp and District Museum Society returned in 1996.

“I travel as little as possible these days,” says the woman who’s been directly involved with the museum since 2002. Montgomery has a well-developed knack for setting things up in a visually pleasing way, which is obvious at the museum.

“I was an interior decorator,” she related on the afternoon prior to the banquet, “I used to do, mostly men’s wear window decorating, so it was just natural when I came here.”

Montgomery was pleased to share the news that most museums have select displays set up but most of the items in storage, however, she says the Nakusp attraction has all of it’s goods on display. She’s especially pleased with the recently completed addition which pays tribute to the First Nations history of the area.

“I was shocked,” she recalled of the moment she heard of the award, “I didn’t know what to think.”

Chuck and Dawna Dinning found out about their award on the second of April, close enough to the first for Dawna to suggest it may have been a gag.

The couple has called Nakusp home, off and on, since first arriving some 49 years ago, and the list of community minded activities they’ve been a part of is a long one.

With Chuck starting in with Celgar in 1965, he would be active with the Kinsmen Club.

“We raised money for various things, like the health centre and the arena,” Chuck related. “The ladies were busy and the men were busy.”

“We were sent to Castlegar and then Vancouver, when we came back, Dawna got very involved with things like the Halcyon House… the care home for seniors. She provided some entertainment…”

“Then I dragged him in, too,” Dawna interjected, “and we’d do a pub day.”

The entertainment features Dawna’s expertise as a honky-tonk piano player.

“We’d do a sing-song and get them to sing along,” added Chuck. “They enjoyed it and it was good for us, too.”

Many other efforts have been undertaken by the Dinnings for the benefit of their community, most covered by various speakers who later shared their memories and impressions as part of the proceedings.

Kudos for Sharon Montgomery from Katrine Conroy were passed along by Laurie Page, who said, “Nakusp is fortunate to have someone who has dedicated so much of their time to ensure there is such a successful museum, all communities should be so lucky.” Page also touched upon Montgomery’s work in support of the school district and the local arts council.

Later on a speaker was heard to mention, to an outburst of applause, that Chuck Dinning’s most notable achievement was his marraige to Dawna.

A rewarding evening all in all, for the recipients, naturally, and their many friends and neighbours.