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Sandi McCreight named Castlegar citizen of the year

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The Castlegar Knights of Columbus have named seniors advocate Sandi McCreight as the city’s 2021 citizen of the year.

McCreight, who is the co-ordinator of the IRIS (Increasing Recreation Involving Seniors) program, said she was “shocked, honoured and thankful” to learn she was chosen.

“And I think probably for the first ever, speechless,” she adds. “I’m so thankful to the people who think I’m worthy of being in this category with some of the people who have had it before.”

McCreight has been working for and with seniors since about 2006, starting with one-on-one advocacy, and since 2017 with the IRIS program, “which I think has been way more successful and effective in our community.”

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IRIS provides regular events for seniors. In a month, they might offer chair yoga, journal writing, coffee and games, lunch and learn, crafts, and bingo. It’s always free, and always with food, McCreight notes.

Over 17 months during the pandemic they also delivered 6,400 meal bags to seniors. But they have resumed meeting onsite in space rented at the Kinnaird Park Community Church.

McCreight says working with seniors has been deeply rewarding.

“The wisdom and stories in the room every time we have a gathering. The giggles. The camaraderie and passion and compassion they have for each other. The intergenerational connections we’ve created. It’s amazing to be in the room and see these things happen.”

McCreight will be honoured by the Knights of Columbus at a free event on June 1 at St. Rita’s Parish Hall (513 7th Ave.). Doors open at 6 p.m., and the event begins at 7 p.m.

Bob Saare of the Knights of Columbus says they were impressed McCreight received multiple nominations and had outstanding references.

“She had a pivotal role during COVID working with seniors, and is involved in an awful lot of things,” he says. “Her ongoing work in the community with seniors is second to none.”

“I’m just so honoured that anybody, especially the seniors that nominated me, think I’m worthy of this,” McCreight says. “It’s just mind boggling to me and I’m so appreciative.”

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