Yesterday, to my delight, there was a very special presentation - three individuals were made Freeman of the Municipality.
In the 138 years North Cowichan has been a municipality, they have previously only bestowed this honour on six individuals. The only living person (until yesterday) with this honour was Chemainiac and former mayor, Rex Hollett. Many former and current staffers were there to witness and there was an unusually warm and fuzzy feeling in Chambers.
Freeman of the Municipality is the highest symbol of respect and esteem any local government can bestow upon citizens.
To receive this honour each person must have the unanimous vote of council.
Three distinguished persons now have their names on the scroll in Council Chambers - former mayor Anne Murray, long-time Councillor Glenn Ridgeway along with former North Cowichan CAO Jim Dias.
It was particularly delightful to me to be there because Anne was a mentor to me when I was newly elected Trustee in then School District # 65 (Cowichan) and Glenn was Chairman of the Board. After serving two terms with them, I stepped away from public service to raise a second family. Each of them subsequently went on to be elected to North Cowichan Council and Anne Murray holds the distinction of being North Cowichan's first female mayor.
Their years of dedication to the people of North Cowichan have had a great influence.
So many individuals, often unsung, have worked tirelessly to make the Cowichan Valley a better place. My hat goes off to them all.
Congratulations Glenn and Anne! You earned it.
And thank you to each of the rest of the 100's of ordinary folks who make North Cowichan one of the best places to call home.
Whether you volunteer at a school or a church, pick up litter when you see it, recycle, buy local, donate time, talent or cash to a local charity, help a neighbour in need or donate to the food bank, you are helping us to build a strong and resilient community.
Times are tough - yet there's much we can do to work together and support one another.
That's what neighbours do - and that's what we are - neighbours - working together to make our visions real.
While I'm on the subject of neighbours - I'm delighted to share that a capable and creative young woman, Jen Holden, has just launched her campaign website as a candidate for Council in Duncan. Check it out. I think you'll be impressed.