The prestigious and honourable award of Citizen of the Year was presented to Sue Sage at the recent Business and Community Awards Gala event.
Sage gave a heartfelt acceptance speech after she was presented with the award. She was honoured for her boundless dedication to helping those in need in her community, reaching out to the less fortunate and offering her time, efforts and compassion to those who ask of her. Sage is a member of the Lacombe Community Watch and has been active in fundraising with Relay for Life.
As well, Sage is known for keeping an overflow of non-perishable items at her home and place of business if the food bank is running low or if she learns of a family in need. Her community mindedness and open heart earned her the title of the 2015 Citizen of the Year.
“You have to be willing to stand and help out when something’s needed,” Sage said.
“I truly believe that I see a lot of situations as if it were me and my family. I would hate to think that if anything happened to me nobody would help my kids if they needed it. I taught my kids as they grew up that you get back in spades what you give out, and that is important to treat other people how you want them to treat you.”
Sage has earned a reputation as a positive community member whose arms and heart are always open. In addition to her Citizen of the Year award, she was also nominated for the People’s Choice Award for Customer Service that was presented at the Gala.
Sage said working with Lacombe Storage has given her a unique opportunity to help the community. She has used the facility as a drop-off, a pick-up and storage area while collecting for goods to donate to families or victims of disaster.
“A few years ago we had one of the biggest house fires the City had seen in Henner’s Landing. It was just around the block from me. I phoned my boss and said, ‘Listen, I know we have a portable storage unit, this is what happened. It’s your community. We pay you to be a part of it’ and told me to help. The next year, when we had big fires in the English Estates area, people remembered what we had done the year before and so we did the same thing,” Sage said.
“I offered up storage but also tried to help fill it. My part with that was to get on Facebook, make phone calls and say things like, ‘Hey I know you have an extra bedroom, do you have extra bedding for this family?’ or, ‘Do you have kids’ toys you can part with, because this family has a youngster’.”
Sage said her boss has been an incredible asset to her ability to help the community, and gave her thanks in her acceptance speech.
“My boss is really just made that way – we even have a day where I am allowed to be out in the community doing whatever I need. If I’m on facebook and see somebody needs a hand for something, I sign up for it and get out there,” Sage said.
She also said praise was due to her family for their support both in community causes and her personal drive. She said she was proud of them and wanted to recognize their efforts.
“I have a lot of pride in my family. My kids are all in their early 20s, and if I ask them for anything I know that they’ll be there and are willing to help out. If there’s a bottle drive, I know that not only are they going to bring their own bottles, but they’re going to bring the truck and drive me around and make sure all the bottles get picked up,” she said.
Additionally, she thanked her husband for his continued support and help with community engagement.
“For me, not only is it what I want to do, but I think I’m also showing my kids what to do when I’m too old to be getting out in the community. I know that they will be out there doing something to help,” Sage said.
In regards to receiving the award, Sage said she was humbled and shocked by the recognition.
“I think I’m still in shock a little bit. I think if more people felt the way I do, we wouldn’t need a Citizen of the Year. If everybody felt or thought or was able to do the same thing, we wouldn’t have people that are homeless or need bottle money or who go without,” she said.
“I’m very proud to know that somebody noticed, although that’s not why I do it. My friends know that if they need something, they can text me and I’ll do it. I don’t want to be everything to one group – I like everybody to know that if I have the time and resources or funds that I will help them. If someone needs input, my time, or a donation and I am able to give it, I will.
“We never have a ton of money but my kids are comfortable and we are still able to do things for others. It’s not about the money, though, it’s more about the thought and the time and just being there for people who need it.”