Cridlands named citizens of the year

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Fort Frances Town Council, Mayor Andrew Hallikas proclaimed that Duane and Grace Cridland are the 2023 Fort Frances Citizens of the year.

“It is a great pleasure to announce that Duane and Grace have been nominated by their peers and selected as this year’s citizens of the year for their long-term, unwavering and outstanding dedication and contributions to our community,” Hallikas said.

Hallikas proceeded to read of the numerous causes the couple has helped over the years.

Well-known owners of Flint House on Scott St. the Cridlands have donated their time and efforts to many worthy causes. Some of which were mentioned by Hallikas at the ceremony.

Duane and Grace Cridland, left and centre, were awarded the honour of Citizens of the Year by Mayor Andrew Hallikas. The Cridlands accepted the honour while surrounded by family, after a heartfelt speech from the Mayor about their many philanthropic and volunteer endeavours over the years. – Allan Bradbury photo

“They and their family have organized, sponsor and prepare the annual Christmas dinner and have distributed dinners to those unable to attend, they have organized and hosted cancer fundraisers, and donated food to the homeless. They are long-time volunteers with Relay for Life, they fundraise for Riverside Health Care,” Hallikas said. “They have assisted and supported numerous organizations and events, such as the annual fireworks, the spray park, the Kiwanis Club, the tour de force, the bass tournament, the skateboard park, the border figure, skating club, and others. They were instrumental in producing hand sanitizer during the pandemic and donating it to our hospital, thus ensuring that staff and patients were kept safe. They gave up their time and talents by serving on various boards and committees and providing mentorship to young entrepreneurs.”

Hallikas also added that they have passed on the values of charity and volunteering to their family as well.

“The entire Cridland family are noted for being benefactors of Fort Frances,” Hallikas added. “Duane and Grace, you stand out as shining examples of community involvement to us off that wherever there is a need in Fort Frances, you will find Duane and Grace.”

Speaking on behalf of their parents, the Cridlands’ daughters Stacey and Christine passed along their thanks for the award.

“Mom and Dad are honored and humbled to be the recipients of this year’s Citizen of the Year award,” Stacey said. “To them being a part of a community means more than just a place to live. Fort Frances has been so supportive of the many efforts they have made to make the community a better place to live. They are thankful to all the people who have volunteered their time and expertise and who helped them along the way to be able to contribute to this community, a place that they are proud to call home.”

Christine added that their children and their families have learned a lot from their parents.

“To (our parents), we can be forever grateful for what they have done for us and what we have learned from that,” she said. “I along with our families are proud to be a part of the past and the future of the town we live in. We can’t wait to carry on Dad and Mom’s legacy of loving and living in this community.”

After the presentation Duane Cridland stepped up to the microphone to recall a slogan that’s posted in both the Fort Frances Civic Centre and the Memorial Sport Complex.

“There’s a nice little plaque that hangs in our Ice For Kids Arena that says ‘volunteerism is the price you pay to live in your community.’ Let’s just always remember that…”