Local senior’s advocate Sandi McCreight has been named Castlegar’s 2021 Citizen of the Year by the Knights of Columbus.
McCreight is well known around the community for her tireless work supporting local seniors.
She has been the local Community Response Network coordinator since 2006 and the Better at Home coordinator since 2012. McCreight also sits on the provincial Seniors Nutrition Working Group, is a Patient Voices Network volunteer and is a PACC member of the Kootenay Boundary Patient Advisory Committee.
But she is probably best known for her work with Project IRIS (Increasing Recreation involving Seniors), a program she founded in 2017.
IRIS has grown from its first meeting when six local seniors gathered for coffee to a community that regularly hosts lunches for more than 40 people, craft days, educational events, game days, and according to McCreight, so much laughter and good conversation.
McCreight says, “I was really shocked to be chosen and honored beyond belief. Believe it or not, I was speechless! We have some amazing community-minded people here and I am so thankful to be placed in the same category.”
Through her various roles, McCreight can be found doing everything from preparing and coordinating meals and planning recreational activities to teaching workshops and providing training on numerous topics important in the lives of seniors.
Throughout the pandemic, McCreight found ways to keep the local seniors community connected and helped many to avoid isolation through meal delivery programs, newsletters and whatever activities could be run under the COVID guidelines in place at the time.
“The well being of seniors is first and foremost on her mind,” reads one of the nominations the committee received about McCreight. “Sandi excels at recognizing and responding to the needs in the community, creating community partnerships, and community leaders have responded in support of Sandi and IRIS as they believe her vision of using the least number of resources for the most positive impact.”
McCreight says working with seniors is the most rewarding work she has ever done.
“The seniors are so full of love and life and humor and I am so blessed to have a role where I get to be a part of that. The IRIS Crew is the best and working with them in support of seniors is an added bonus.
“I am so thankful for everyone I work with and for the seniors that share their stories and wisdom with me.”
McCreight was honoured at a ceremony June 1 at St. Rita’s Cathoic Church. She joins a list of hard-working honorees including choir leader Christina Nolan (2018), life-long volunteers Jim and Inga Lamont (2017), Castlegar Homecoming organizer Bette Jean Lutz (2016) and Pass Creek Park/Fair volunteers Irene and Don Hill (2014).