Diane Atkins and Sylvia Griffith were jointly named the 2021 South Cariboo Citizens of the Year. This is only the second time in the award’s history that a tie has occurred. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Diane Atkins and Sylvia Griffith were jointly named the 2021 South Cariboo Citizens of the Year. This is only the second time in the award’s history that a tie has occurred. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

‘G-Mas’ voted Citizens of the Year

Sylvia Griffith and Diane Atkins tied for the 2021 South Cariboo Citizen of the Year Award

For only the second time in history, there are two South Cariboo Citizens of the Year.

Sylvia Griffith and Diane Atkins tied for the honour Saturday at 100 Mile House’s Community Appreciation Day in Centennial Park. When South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce president Donna Barnett announced the joint winners, the crowd responded with thunderous cheers and applause.

“It is not easy to pick, it’s really difficult, but this year we had a tie,” Barnett said.

Atkins has billeted more than 30 members of the 100 Mile House Wranglers over the years, and has been affectionately dubbed by the players as G-Ma.

Barnett said Atkins will regularly have half the team over to eat.

“She does more than billet them, she nurtures them and she spoils them,” Barnett said. “She’s just an amazing lady for these young people to have in their lives.”

Griffith remarked it was funny she and Atkins had won as her own grandchildren also call her G-Ma. Born and raised in Forest Grove, Griffith has been keeping books for local volunteer organizations for decades. She’s been a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary Branch 261 for 45 years, 30 as the secretary-treasurer.

This longtime dedication was a big part of why she received the award, Barnett said.

“She has taken on the restructuring of the Forest Grove Fire Department and during the fires of 2017 and 2019, Sylvia was there at the drop of a hat to help anybody in any way she could and she’s always got a big smile on her face,” Barnett said.

After receiving hugs and congratulations, Atkins and Griffith said they were shocked and overwhelmed to have been named Citizens of the Year. Both agreed they don’t do what they do for recognition but because they enjoy it.

“I actually didn’t think I’d be even close,” Atkins chuckled, adding it was an honour to tie with Griffith. “This will go right up on my wall of fame.”

Griffith said the other nominees – Ken Fryer, Heidi Meier, Werner Heine and Nicki Jackson – were also well-deserving of the award.

“The event was wonderful, it was so nice to be able to thank all the wonderful people who support us.”



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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