It wasn’t really a surprise to Gary Hoffman to win this year’s Alfred Mansell Citizen of the Year award during Friday evening’s Chamber of Commerce Gala at the Ptarmigan Inn.
He had received two free tickets one day, and realized something had to be up.
But regardless, he was still humbled and blown away by the award.
Hay River MLA and speaker of the House, Paul Delorey, read kind words of nomination for Hoffman, while trying to keep the name under wraps until the end of his speech.
He even mentioned the name “Charlie,” before stopping himself and asking the audience if he said Charlie.
He called Hoffman a “community minded individual” who is “of the belief that Hay River is a wonderful place to call home.”
Hoffman, who was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, raised his two sons with his wife Carol, in the North and remains in Hay River with no plans to leave.
At the age of 66, he spends his time helping to maintain the road out to the golf course and ski club, and during the winter he and his wife spend evenings curling. He is also an active member of the Elks Club.
“He’s a life-long curler,” said Delorey. “(He) committed himself to the growth of the sport.”
Delorey then called up Hoffman to accept a watercolour painting done by DJSS student Dejah Clarke on behalf of the Chamber, and speak a few words.
“We have a lot of great volunteers,” said Hoffman. “To be selected is a great honour.”
After the award was presented, Hoffman mentioned that it was a bit of a surprise, but it is very humbling at the same time.
“There were a lot of people who could be given this award,” he said.
Hoffman did mention that he had an idea that he could win an award, as someone showed up at his south with free tickets.
He also said that he has no plans of leaving Hay River, and will continue to enjoy retirement in the community he proudly calls home.
“You get to know everybody, people are more friendly,” he said.
“We have no intention at this point in time of leaving the North, or leaving Hay River.”
And retirement is keeping him busy, as he always has a plan to do something.
“I think nowdays a lot of people are afraid to retire,” he said. “If you don’t think you are ready to retire, then don’t. You need to have a plan.”
His plan was to work for part of the year, which he has been keeping up with. He and Carol are also looking at going to Maui again, which they did last year.