Anyone who has ever thrown a curling rock at the Beaver Valley Curling Club, hit a golf ball at Champion Lakes Golf Club, or swung at a baseball at McInnes Park owes a debt of gratitude to the 2014 Beaver Valley Citizen of the Year, Ed Wilcox.
The dedicated Fruitvale native is the 2014 recipient of the prestigious award, selected from a number of nominations to the B.V. Citizen of the Year committee.
“Ed Wilcox has been doing a lot of stuff for a lot of years,” said committee member Joe Stochmanski. “I remember him when I first came to this area, and he was coaching and umping and that’s how I got to know him . . . he is a personable type of individual too and you can’t find any better.”
Wilcox is a Beaver Valley boy through and through. The 57-year-old Teck instrument mechanic is the product of long time Fruitvale residents Gylie and Barb Wilcox. Gylie, also a former BVCOY award recipient, set a fine example for his two sons and two daughters, instilling a community-minded sensibilty.
“There is nobody that’s been a greater community citizen than my father,” said Ed before teeing off at Men’s Night at Champion Lakes Golf Club last week.
“He gets involved with all these things, he’s an amazing person, still today he does these things.”
For Wilcox, playing sports as a kid was as natural as breathing, and caring for the different facilities, even at a young age, was simply an extension of his own back yard.
“I was very lucky,” said Wilcox. “That’s probably what got me going, when I was a kid going to the ballpark there was always some guys that worked in the ballpark and made it into a nice park so we could play on it.
“And I enjoyed a good ballpark so I was happy to go work on it and that’s what got it started . . . It migrated to the curling rink, and then when this thing came along, (Champion Lakes Golf Club), this was a wonderful addition and I’ve never really been the leader, I’ve been a good helper.”
It’s that self-effacing and friendly demeanor that has made his tenure on various executives and clubs so consistent and his ability to rally support so effective. And in typical fashion, Wilcox gives most of the credit to the many Beaver Valley residents who respond when Ed calls.
“Whenever we want to do something, and I want to include people, they come, they all come,” said Wilcox. “We’re so blessed in our little valley to have people that like the recreation, they’ve got tremendous skills, and they’re committed, they’ll do it, they’ll help.”
In the late 70s and early 80s Wilcox was involved with Sr. Babe Ruth baseball and coached in the Beaver Valley Senior Men’s Baseball League, he umpired Sr. Babe Ruth and was the Umpire in Chief during the American Legion District Championships in Trail in the early 80s.
Ed coached hockey and Little League in the 90s and took a lead role in rebuilding the McInnes Little League Baseball Field.
Wilcox also joined the executive of Champion Lakes Golf and Country Club and was involved in the planning and development of many of the outbuildings such as the cart shed and maintenance buildings. He was also the captain of the Men’s Club for several years.
He has been on the executive of the Beaver Valley Curling Club, manages the building and it’s operations, was instrumental in the addition of the third and fourth sheets of ice, and, with the Curling Club celebrating its 50th year, it seems only appropriate that Wilcox receives the recognition.
“The whole family, like Sera is a volunteer too, big time, she does stuff with the Nitehawks and everything else, so their whole family is really into the volunteering, which is nice to see since its so hard to get people volunteering these day,” added Stochmanski.
Wilcox remains active, and is still one of the best golfers and curlers in Beaver Valley’s respective clubs. He plans to retire in the upcoming year, but whether he is on the golf course or in the hack, fixing the ice or serving a cold beverage at the curling club, he does it with energy and an unflinching positive attitude.
When asked if he thought he was too young for what is often considered a lifetime achievment award, Wilcox replied.
“You bet. All of a sudden you are older than you think you are. I look at the new kids at work and they look at me like I’m an old man, and I still think I’m a young kid.”
Regardless, the award is apt recognition for his years of dedication and commitment to the Beaver Valley community, one that is richly deserved and, perhaps, long overdue.
“It’s pretty humbling,” said Wilcox. “I don’t think anybody does these things looking to be the spot light person, I certainly don’t want that, but I appreciate it. It’s an honour.”
Wilcox continues to volunteer and recreate in the valley with his wife Sera, daughters Alyse Lajeunesse, Becky, and son Jason.
The B.V. Citizen of the Year presentation ceremony and reception goes at the Beaver Valley Curling rink on May 23 at 7 p.m.