On Jan. 18, a large number of people, including friends and family members gathered in the Legion basement hall to celebrate the newly named 2013 Barriere Citizen of the Year, Al Fortin. The head table dignitaries included District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys and his wife Rosie, MLA Terry Lake and his wife Lisa, and MP Cathy McLeod and her husband Gord, as well as the 2013 Citizen of the Year, and of course Al Fortin accompanied by his wife Stacey.
The evening got off to a great start with a delicious meal, consisting of roast beef, yorkshire pudding, potatoes, gravy, vegetables and all the fixings, which was followed by a dessert of chocolate cake and ice cream.
Once everyone had been fed, the group was eager to get the fun started; many had some great stories about Fortin, and wanted to do some serious roasting of his person.
MC Paul Morris introduced the head table, and called up various individuals to speak and make presentations. A number of speakers expounded on Fortin’s contributions to the community, and added their recollections regarding him, both serious and funny.
Al Kirkwood, publisher of the Star/Journal (the annual sponsor of the Citizen of the Year award), presented Fortin with a framed photograph that carried a plaque reading “Barriere Citizen of the Year 2013, Al Fortin”. The photograph was by Star/Journal editor and photographer Jill Hayward.
The Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year plaque was presented to Fortin by Scott Kershaw who is also Fortins boss at Insight Tire. Fortin’s youngest daughter, Marlene, made a speech about her dad that was quite moving, and ended it by saying, “We are so very proud of you, Dad”. Marlene then presented him with a gift from the family.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod, and Kamloops North Thompson MLA Terry Lake, spoke and made presentations to Fortin, with Lake’s presentation filled with good humour and fun. McLeod presented Fortin with a Canadian flag and spoke about his dedication to the Barriere Legion. Both of these dignitaries noted they had turned down attending an event in Kamloops in favour of coming out to help Barriere celebrate Fortin’s award.
Other speakers were; Simon Jung – Barriere Legion, Eileen Miers – Ladies Auxiliary, Donna Chenello – Fortin’s sister, Tammy Welz – a friend, North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association Ambassadors Jenna Zietsov, Vanessa Balatti, and Kendal MacKay, TNRD director and District of Barriere councillor Bill Kershaw, and District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys.
When it was Fortin’s turn to speak he thanked everyone for their support and help, and noted that it was all of the people who volunteered that got the jobs done and made the community better.
Once all the presentations were completed, a slide show was shown featuring Fortin as the main star, and then everyone moved upstairs to the Legion lounge for an evening of socializing, dancing and a whole lot of fun.