Airdrie resident Simisola Obasan is honoured to have been selected as a runner-up for this year’s Direct Energy Volunteer Citizen of the Year award.
“I felt thankful for the recognition because service to my community has always been at the core of my life expressions in everything I do,” she said. “To be recognized for it means a lot to me.”
The Direct Energy Volunteer Citizen of the Year award is given out each year in Alberta in coordination with the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association (AWNA), and recognizes individuals who have made a remarkable contribution to their community through volunteer work. This year, Direct Energy received over 40 nominations after reaching out to more than 100 Albertan communities.
“We partner with the AWNA across the entire province to promote this award and get people to nominate those they are working with in the community who are doing great volunteer work,” explained Dan Smith, Direct Energy director of brand marketing and creative. “The fact that it is a province-wide award is quite significant. And that we have been doing it for 20 years is really amazing.”
Once nominated by someone from the home communities, the list of nominees is deliberated on by Direct Energy’s own internal volunteer committees before runners-up and the final award winners are chosen.
“It’s volunteers recognizing volunteers,” stated Smith.
The winner of this year’s Volunteer Citizen of the Year award was Janet Townsend of Canmore, who received a $5,000 award to give to any charity of her choice. By placing as a runner-up for the award, Airdrie’s Obasan was granted $500 for a charity of her choice.
Obasan was recognized for her work with the Airdrie Black Community organization, her work in the Airdrie Basketball Association and her voluntary service to the City of Airdrie as a member if its Assessment Review Board.
“One of the reasons I decided to be a part of the ‘Airdrie Black Community’ was because of the aim and objectives of that community,” explained Obasan. “It’s established to bring people of black colour in Airdrie together irrespective of their ethnicity just to foster unity within the black community in Airdrie. And to help black Airdrie residents maximize their potential and fulfill their ultimate dreams by leveraging their networking capacity.”
Obasan said she is passionate about the Airdrie Basketball Association because her son plays the sport.
“I live for it,” she said. “My son plays basketball; so it is an opportunity to be part of what he loves and also give back in helping to shape the young Airdrie residents.”
In terms of her service on the Assessment Review Board, Obasan explained it allows her to give back to her home community in a larger way.
“I have been serving there to hear complaints regarding property tax assessments from Airdrie residents, and it has been a huge privilege serving on that board,” she said.
Obasan said she decided to give her $500 prize to the Airdrie Black Community organization, and was thankful for the recognition.
“I want to say thank you to Direct Energy and the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association and Airdrie City View for this feature,” she said. “I am humbled by it. I would also like to thank the anonymous people who nominated me for the award. I appreciate their vote of confidence in me.”