Citizens of the year announced in Burns Lake

The recipients of the Lakes District’s Bill Konkin Citizens of the Year award has been announced. This year’s recipients are Karen and Sean Broadworth, two valued members of the community. Karen and Sean are involved in a number of activities even now, and plan to move forward with this—even despite current coronavirus setbacks around group gatherings.

“When they were giving out the award, they were describing the person who was getting it, and I was trying to figure out who it was… There was a bunch of people in the crowd that I thought it could be,” said Sean Broadworth, about the moment the announcement for the winners was being made.

“They started talking about things, and I thought, ‘Oh I know that’s Karen.’ So, I had a smile, and I was thinking, ‘She totally deserves this award. She’s done great.’ Then they started talking about stuff I do, and I thought, ‘Oh no, I’m involved, too,’” he said, with a laugh.

Sean admits to being somewhat shy, preferring to be behind the scenes helping out wherever he can, but not necessarily in the limelight—though he certainly appreciates this award, he said.

“It was really sweet that people nominated us, and we got it. That’s a nice feeling for sure,” said Karen, of her feelings about receiving the award. “But we’re definitely not doing it for the recognition. We just like to be out there, and doing stuff,” she said.

According to Sean, he and Karen have lived in Burns Lake for around 20 years now. And since day one, they’ve been volunteers in the community.

Twenty years ago, he was asked by a friend if he could help out with the Kinsmen Club, which he continued to do for many years thereafter. He has also been involved in the Chamber of Commerce for a few years. And both he and Karen have been involved in hockey, soccer, a bike club, and the Jackrabbits ski club for a number of years.

Karen laughs and says she learned how ski right alongside the 4-year-olds she taught when she first started.

Karen has also volunteered with school activities around fitness, and recently obtained certification as a gymnastics instructor just so she could spearhead the gym club in town. Her daughter’s love of this was her motivation.

While the club will now have to miss their last two gymnastics competitions because of COVID-19 restrictions, Karen will still be giving her students some homework, so they can stay fit and have fun while stuck at home.

Karen and Sean say much of what they’re involved now is influenced by what their two children are interested in.

“It’s a great way to meet people. And like Sean says, we don’t have any family in town, so the community has become a surrogate,” said Karen.

Karen and Sean’s award was announced at a ski club gathering Karen organized, according to Doug Campbell, Chair of the Citizen of the Year committee. It was an end-of-season wrap-up ski session, with a St. Patrick’s theme. Of course, with COVID-19 restrictions, the yearly gathering was altered, and the indoor food fest part was cancelled. Karen and Sean will receive a wooden clock with an engraved plaque from the committee, said Campbell. And they’ll now be eligible to vote on the future recipients of the award.

“They’re very deserving recipients of this award. They’ve done some great work for our community and they have made a difference in the community just by their effort,” he said.

A note: In a previous story on the Citizens of the Decade, the committee had not yet decided the gift the winners would receive. It’s now been decided, and John and Sandra Barth will receive a hand-made wooden charcuterie board with an engraved plaque. Also these events took place before self isolation was in effect.

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