The Castlegar Knights of Columbus honoured 2016 Citizen of the Year Betty Jean Lutz at a ceremony Wednesday night.
Lutz was born in Castlegar in 1939 and worked for the City of Castlegar as city clerk for more than 26 years. She also dedicated many years to Castlegar girls fastball and slow pitch — as a player, coach, and eventually as director of the management board — and has spent many years volunteering as a director of the Castlegar and District Heritage Society.
But the main reason Harry Killough gave for why he and his wife Lesley nominated Lutz was for the excellent job she did organizing the Castlegar Homecoming last year.
“After that wonderful thing she put on last year, July 1 and 2 … I said, ‘She deserves to be Citizen of the Year,’ and Lesley fully agreed,” said Killough.
Lutz was also honoured by a number of dignitaries during the ceremony — Maurice Nowoselski, Grand Knight of the Castlegar Knights of Columbus, Coun. Deb McIntosh, representing the City of Castlegar, MLA Katrine Conroy, Gina Petrakos, representing MP Richard Cannings, and Miss Castlegar Cyan LeMoal and Miss Castlegar Princess Sara Illes.
McIntosh’s speech was especially personal.
“Well Betty, I can’t imagine anyone more deserving. Not only do you give to your community and to your family, but you embody what community is about. You embody what family’s about and true, true values,” she said. “I haven’t seen a person who was so willing to step forward no matter what. I’ve seen you do volunteer work in various places — you’re a director of the Heritage Society, you volunteer all over the place. You come to the rescue when need be, when there’s controversy going on. You’re a person I look up to. You’re a person that I love with all my heart.”
For her part, Lutz was humble in accepting the honour.
“It is indeed an honour to be named Castlegar Citizen of the Year for 2016 and is also a very humbling experience,” she said. “There are so many deserving recipients in our community.”
Lutz is not the first in her family to be selected for this honour — her late husband Alex Lutz was Castlegar Citizen of the Year in 1986 and her son-in-law Gerry Rempel was Citizen of the Year in 2001.