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Sills honoured as Whistler’s Citizen of the Year

Six awards given out at first annual Excellence Awards



A man who has spent a lifetime risking his own life to save the lives of others was named the citizen of the year at a Friday evening gala.

The Citizen of the Year Award, sponsored by Pique Newsmagazine, was given to Brad Sills.

The humble man best known by most as the head of Whistler Search and Rescue (WSAR) was acknowledged with a standing ovation after 2011 Citizen of the Year Joan Richoz called his name.

Sills acknowledged his wife and his mentor after he was named as the recipient of the honour.

“In accepting this award tonight I do want to recognize a number of people, the first of course being my wife,” Sills said. “Not just because she’s my wife but for all the spouses of emergency services volunteers.”

He acknowledged his wife, Pixie, and other spouses who have to pick up the pieces after the phone rings. When the call comes, said Sills, the spouses of emergency services volunteers take over things like painting houses, renegotiating mortgages and raising children.

“These people need to be recognized for their patience, their innovativeness and their understanding because it is only with their support that these services are provided.

“I have one other person that I truly do want to recognize tonight,” said Sills with a hint of emotion in his voice. “He’s a long-time friend and he is my own personal mentor.”

Sills was thinking of Dave Cathers, another past citizen of the year and WSAR leader.

According to Sills, Cathers showed him the true rewards of volunteer service.

Sills was nominated with Sue Adams and Alix Nicoll.

The other award recipients at the event hosted by the Fairmont Chateau Whistler were:

  • Paul Mathews of Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners - Business Person of the Year Award
  • Sundial Boutique Hotel - Service Excellence Award
  • Whistler Community Services Society - Sustainability in Action Business Award
  • TD Canada Trust - Business and the Arts Award
  • Gala attendees chose RTown Communications as the Innovative Business of the Year through an interactive vote. The three nominees up for the award were given four minutes to tell their story. Norm Strim of Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Sauces spoke along with Chris Prior of Prior Skis and Snowboards and Don McQuaid of RTown.

    Check back for more coverage of the first annual Whistler Excellence Awards, presented by The Whistler Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Whistler, the Whistler Arts Council and the Whistler Centre for Sustainability.