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Buckingham gets Lions nod for Citizen of the Year

Councilor Aaron Buckingham, after a full day at council meeting was able to fulfill an invitation for a speaking engagement and was totally surprised when he was conferred the Citizen of the Year award by the Lloydminster Lions Club.

In a tradition that dates back to the 1950s, the recipient is invited to speak about a project that they are involved in, while not having a clue that the real reason the Lions Club has them as the guest speaker is to give them an award.

The Lloydminster city councilor who is also a Britannia firefighter took the surprise accolade with humility and a loss for words, which those who know him well would have paid good money to see him in that composure.

“There are no words. (long pause) I don’t even know what to say. I will say I don’t deserve it. There are so many more people in this community that do things that deserve this far more than I do. The fact that they brought me in to speak about the charity hockey game that we ran last Friday – I feel a little bamboozled that I didn’t pick up on this at all.”

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The Lions worked their clandestine ruse to perfection as Buckingham spoke on the second edition of the Play It Forward 12-hour hockey game. Friday’s game saw over 40-players put their bodies on the line and raise some $70,400 and counting for Border City Connects to buy a new careavan to take clients to non-emergency medical appointments in urban centres.

Following Buckingham’s pitch, Ray Tatro of the Lloydminster Lions got up to deliver his comments which included the surprise accolade.

“He had a very emotional story about about his relative that needed the services of a handy-van society as she was growing up – and how much of a difference that made to her life. And the way that Border City Connects makes such a difference to a number of people in our city and our area. That obviously needs funding and has a great strong board with great ideas. As well as all the other things that Aaron does.”

One of those things was Buckingham’s involvement in the fundraising for a statue of an RCMP officer which is situated on the grounds of city hall. The statue which was unveiled in 2003 has a plaque on it that simply reads Hope.

Hope statue in front City Hall Lloydminster. [Photo: Gerry Lampow 106.1 The Goat/Vista Radio]
The statue was the idea of the late Glen Wood who was an RCMP officer and was built by Rudy Schmidt from Wainwright.

“I did that shortly before my grandfather passed away. And for whatever reason, the night that my grandfather passed away – I lived close by. And I walked over, and I sat at it. We had unveiled it with the Hope at the front of it. I sat there by myself, and it was the first time that I experienced it. I had seen it from clay. I saw it before it was moulded in Rudy’s studio down by Wainwright.”

Some $200,000 was raised to have the Hope statue erected.

Buckingham says he lives by a simple slogan which is to focus on the success of others and your success will naturally follow.

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