Foothills: Bill Jackson one of four finalists for provincial award
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 01:48 pm
For more than half a century he’s been an indispensable figure in the Millarville community and his commitment is getting recognition.
Bill Jackson, Millarville Racing and Agricultural Society director, was a finalist for the 2014 Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award handed out by Direct Energy in partnership with the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association. The award recognizes Albertans who have a strong dedication to volunteering and helping their community.
As one of four finalists selected from hundreds of nominees, Jackson received $1,000 to give to a charity of his choice. He is donating the money to the Millarville Racetrack.
Jackson said he has a lifelong passion for the racetrack and he’s happy to receive the award.
“It means a lot, the fact that someone recognized what I do,” he said.
His involvement with the agricultural society started in his youth.
“My parents were heavily involved with the ag society and at that time there was just the fair and the races, they worked there just as much as I do,” he said.
Jackson is on the society’s board and is a past president, but he’s practically a jack-of-all-trades at the racetrack. Jackson, who turns 75 this year, is involved in a number of different aspects of operating and preparing the track for events, like installing plywood flooring in the riding arena and running the admission gate.
It’s a similar story at the Millarville Christ Church, where Jackson joked he’s done just about everything but preach.
He has also been involved with the Calgary Stampede for most of his life and is going into his 51st year with the event.
Krystal Meade, Millarville Racetrack events manager, nominated Jackson for the award.
She said it’s difficult to say just how much Jackson does and what his work means for the racetrack, the Millarville Christ Church and the community.
“It is part of his life,” she said. “I just have so much respect for him to see how much he’s contributed in the short time that I’ve known him, not to mention his lifetime of work.”
Calling him honest, and reliable, Meade said Jackson’s dedication and commitment are admirable. She said people in the community turn to him when they need help with something.
“If you need a tractor, or you need a bull moved, or any of that, it doesn’t stop at organizations,” she said. “He’s just so generous.”
Jo-Anne Happe, with Direct Energy, said it was a difficult choice because they had so many worthwhile nominees. However, she said Jackson stood out.
“I just want to say well done, congratulations, you’re a real inspiration,” she said.
The winner was a couple from the community of Mundare, who received $1,000 for themselves and $5,000 for a charity of their choice for their involvement in a range of different activities and causes.
“There are so many amazing people in the province who volunteer in any type of agency or cause and we just wanted to recognize those individuals,” said Happe.