Everywhere, you can find great people who work behind the scenes for the betterment of their communities.
These people are often all too happy to stay out of the limelight but nonetheless, there are occasions where they deserve to be recognized.
One such example in Lacombe is Darren Gagnon, who has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award.
“I’m very honoured,” said Gagnon.
While he is appreciative of the recognition, he said he prefers to stay out of the limelight. He added that he is not sure if he enjoys the attention he has received by receiving the award.
In fact, Gagnon said his initial knee-jerk reaction to being named Citizen of the Year was to not accept the award and have it be presented to someone more deserving than himself. He said he knows of so many people who do so much volunteer work (in his opinion even more than himself) and are also deserving of the award.
“There are so many people that give so much,” said Gagnon. He added that he wishes he could share the award with those other people. “To be singled out and recognized, while greatly appreciated, I wish I could share the award with others who deserve to be recognized.”
Craig Darrell was a member of the Chamber of Commerce Selection Committee for this award. He said that Lacombians who put in so much commitment and dedication to the community deserve to be recognized, even if they don’t necessarily want it.
“It’s great to recognize our citizens when they put in the kind of commitment and dedication that Darren has,” said Darrell. “Those kind of people deserve to be recognized and get a pat on the back every once in a while.”
Kim Berube, executive director of Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce, said that the Citizen of the Year Award is awarded to individuals who, generally speaking have a passion for the people and life of Lacombe. She said Gagnon’s work for the betterment of Lacombe speaks volumes about his passion for the community.
“He is just a force to be reckoned with.”
Gagnon said that the only way he is able to do the work he does in the community is with the support of his family and his wife, Tammy, who also does a great amount of volunteer work. He said that he is grateful for the support they have given him even when his work takes time away from his family.
For Gagnon, the volunteer work he does is nothing more than a simple way to say thank you to the community. Gagnon said that he, his wife and their family truly believe they are lucky to live in Lacombe, where there is great support for their family and businesses. He said that in return, they try to make time to give back to the community.
In the past, Gagnon has volunteered and worked with a number of community groups. He served on the former City of Lacombe Economic Development Board, is a former member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and also supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lacombe and District through its school mentorship program, allowing several of his employees to mentor children during school and business hours.
Gagnon is perhaps best known for his volunteer work within Lacombe’s football community. He is chairman of the Lacombe Athletic Park Association (LAPA) Board of Directors and coaches the Lacombe Raiders football team, who recently won their league championship. When it comes to coaching football, Gagnon said it is something he does simply because he loves the sport.
Darrell added that Gagnon is a great ambassador for Lacombe and his work within the community, particularly with LAPA, is phenomenal. He added that he is aware Gagnon is a humble person but still believes he should be recognized for that work.
“He is a great example of your ‘model citizen’,” said Darrell. He added that such recognition might inspire other Lacombians to do great things as well.
Gagnon said that if he has any objective with volunteering, it is that his passion for giving back to the community will spread to other people, making bigger projects possible for Lacombe.
“No individual can accomplish much, but get a bunch of people together and things can happen.”