Long-time Virden volunteer named Citizen of the Year

“I can do it” – Karen McKinnon

When Karen McKinnon was nominated for Virden’s Citizen of the Year award, she was mystified. “I asked Fran Bayliss, who could have done this? And she never let on!”

In fact, it was Bayliss who wrote the glowing nomination that culminated in McKinnon receiving the honour last Saturday at the Town of Virden’s annual awards night.

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Many people will associate McKinnon with Virden’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, as she’s been involved with it since the organization first became active in Virden in 2011.

She spearheaded the planning of all the Habitat builds, three structures so far, working closely with Habitat Winnipeg, project managers and subcontractors to keep things running smoothly.

What many people may not know about McKinnon is that, beyond the behind-the-scenes organizing, phoning, emailing and scheduling, she also knows her way around a job site.

Bayliss wrote in her nomination letter that, “No task was daunting to her. Karen tackled any job throughout the process. She could be seen hammering nails, using drills, cutting tin, measuring and painting.

“She has lifted walls, siding, lumber, gyproc and paint cans. We even found her building a roof and shingling it, building a garden shed and climbing ladders.

“Karen was heard saying ‘I can do it’. And she did.”

In her acceptance speech at the awards night dinner, McKinnon said she was more comfortable organizing things than talking to an audience so she kept her remarks short and sweet.

She redirected the spotlight away from herself and onto local non-profit groups like the Centennial Housing Board (which looks after Boulton Place, Princess Lodge and Evergreen Place), Donors Choice, and the upcoming Viterra Curling Championship in Virden.

“And I know there are so many other organizations and we’re very fortunate to live here where people are willing to contribute their time and talents.

“Thanks again for this award, I really appreciate it.”

McKinnon continues to work with the rest of her volunteer team on Virden’s latest Habitat for Humanity home on Lyons St. West.

Others honoured

During the program, Mayor Murray Wright and CAO Rhonda Stewart took the podium to thank former Mayor Jeff McConnell for his 20 years of service and presented him with a token of the town’s appreciation.

They also recognized these Town of Virden employees for their years of service:

Gerry Gerrand – 20 Years

Jonathon Lansing – 10 Years

Katharina Enns – 5 Years

Jordan Neskar – 5 Years

Michel Lacroix – 5 Years

© Virden Empire-Advance

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