Karin Phibbs has landed this year’s Female Citizen of the Year award

Phibbs has shown a dedicated commitment to sharing her skills and time within a number of causes over the years

With a commitment to local community building that stretches back for many years, Stettler’s Karin Phibbs has landed this year’s Female Citizen of the Year award.

She said she was shocked to hear that she had won the tremendous accolade – “I told her I was gobsmacked,” she explained with a laugh, recalling her response to the announcement.

The Stettler Awards Gala has been a prestigious event for many years where citizens have an opportunity to honour the accomplishments of local businesses and citizens.

The 2020 Business and Citizenship Awards Gala will be held Oct. 22nd by invitation only – the Stettler Public Library will be providing a live stream for the public to view on the Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development Facebook page.

Phibbs indeed has shown a long and very dedicated commitment to the sharing of her skills and time within a number of community causes over the years.

These commitments run the gamut from being on the Chamber of Commerce board, serving as president of the Chamber, and then of course a term as past president.

She also served on the Information and Referral Centre board for about 10 years, plus she served on the local hospice board as well.

“I was also on the Library board for two terms – maybe three,” she added with a smile. “We also started the Friends of the Library – that was myself, Gayle Tennant, Barb Germin and Phyllis Erickson.

Phibbs continued to serve on the Friends of the Library board until about three years ago.

“Also, more than 20 years ago, Betty Birch called me and said, ‘We are going to do a fundraiser, and I’m thinking we are going to do it for the hospital.’ I asked how that was going to work, and she said, ‘We are going to put Christmas trees in the atrium of the hospital, and people can bid on them, and we will raise money that way.’

“I said that sounded like fun!”

The Festival of Lights was launched and continues as an amazingly successful venture and holiday tradition to this day. “It’s been great fun.”

After Phibbs stepped down from the Festival of Lights board, she went on to work with the Hospital Foundation which she remains with to this day.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Phibbs, who moved to Stettler in 1976, is also involved with the Quilting Guild – a rewarding and fun venture that allows her to express her creative side as well.

As to what has fueled her passion for community involvement over the years, Phibbs recalled that when she first moved here, the population was a bit more transient than it is today.

Therefore, finding a solid and supportive circle of friends and contacts meant getting involved, and that started with fun activities such as joining a bowling league.

Later on, her kids got involved in hockey and ringette and that helped her connect further with other parents and organizers.

Plus, she recalled some words of wisdom from her mom.

“My mother always told me that you get out of something what you put in.”

And that golden piece of advice has always stayed with her, inspiring her to devote time to everything from serving on a number of boards to volunteering in any number of ways. Ultimately, giving back has been its own reward.

“I have totally enjoyed it, and I’ve met some amazing people. And this community is just amazing!

“I think it’s the people,” she added, reflecting on what she loves most about the town. “Stettler really is the ‘heart’ of Alberta. The people are great.”

Ultimately, Phibbs would be the first one to also say that community involvement and service has greatly enriched her life.

And if someone were to ask her why they should perhaps consider lending a helping hand?

“I would say because it’s a way to meet some amazing people,” she explained. “It goes back to the people. And it gives you a really warm and fuzzy feeling to help out. It sounds cliche, but it’s really true,” she added with a laugh.

“Plus, it’s really a lot of fun.”

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