It’s official, Barriere’s newest Citizen of the Year has been decided by the judges, with Al Fortin receiving the honour for 2013.
Fortin is currently the Royal Canadian Legion president here in Barriere, and has been for the past two years. Fortin’s award brings the Legion a double ‘thumbs up’, due to the fact Legionnaire Keith Moore was named Citizen of the Year for 2012.
Fortin says he was “shocked” to have been nominated, and absolutely “dumbfounded” to receive the honour.
“I want to thank those who put my name forward, and to the judges; this is very much appreciated,” said Fortin, “It’s a pretty cool feeling to know that the community feels that way about you.”
Fortin says he moved to Barriere in 2004 with his wife Stacey and their three children; Alycia, Bricklin and Marlene.
“Pretty much right away I joined the Legion, because I’d always been a member when we lived on the coast.”
Fortin has worked tirelessly for the local association ever since; but he doesn’t stop there. He can often be spotted in many areas of the community, working with a number of organizations to help with their projects and fundraisers. Fortin also organizes and cares for the ice rink on Airfield Road year round, which includes yard maintenance, flooding the rink and lots and lots of snow removal.
“My whole family calls the rink the ‘adopted child’ because I spend so much time over there,” says Fortin, “I think having the rink is pretty cool. I always had a pond to skate on during the winter when I was a kid. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to use it once last year because it never got cold enough.”
Asked why he has taken on the stewardship of the ice rink, Fortin replied, “It’s something that’s already there and paid for – it costs the community nothing. You’ve got to keep these things going so everyone can enjoy them.”
Keeping things going, has been most evident with Fortin at the helm of the Legion. His belief is that the only way a Legion can survive is to be needed by the community. “It’s a community building and everybody needs that. We’re gaining new and younger members all the time, and we are making our bookkeeper happy. We have an outstanding executive standing right there with you, great volunteers, and everyone gets along.”
Fortin says he enjoys working on projects within the community.
“I want to help make it a great place to live and raise a family. If we all work together we get things done,” said Fortin, “What’s better than that?”
A date for the Citizen of the Year Banquet will be announced in an upcoming issue of this newspaper. The Citizen of the Year award is sponsored by the North Thompson Star/Journal, and supported by the District of Barriere and area volunteers.