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Former Fort St. John Mayor Jim Eglinski Receives Prestigious Freedom of the City

Former Fort St. John Mayor Jim Eglinski received the city’s highest honor, City Freedom, on Saturday.

Former Fort St. John Mayor Jim Eglinski received the city’s highest honor, City Freedom, on Saturday.

Family, friends and local dignitaries gathered at Town Hall for a ceremony honoring Eglinski, who served as mayor from 2005 to 2008 after starting his career in city politics in 2002.

“It’s a hell of a honor, you don’t realize it until you start reading the names on the wall and see what it’s all about,” Eglinski said. “The public service has been my strong point in life since I was 19. I have joined the best organizations in the world that match me.”

“It is a blessing in life to be able to serve your community, to give as much of yourself as possible, and to help shape this role model.”

Prior to his life in politics, Eglinski served 35 years with the RCMP, enlisting in April 1968. During his career, he had nine postings and five detachment commands, ending his career in Fort St. John. He was then elected MP for Yellowhead, Alberta in 2014, a position he held for five years before stepping down in 2019.

Eglinski, visibly moved during the ceremony, spoke about his tenure on city council and the importance of planning for the future, the results of which continue to be seen today.

“When you sit down and bring the community together, listen to the community and work with it, you can come up with some pretty good deals,” Eglinski said, taking note of the city’s new hospital, schools and police station.

“We talked about it 10 to 12 years ago. All of us, members of the municipal council, participated in this strategic planning. We saw a future for this community, and it has happened. we have to watch out for tomorrow. “

He added, “The only thing I have learned in all the communities that I have served, you develop friendships. I have always found that you have so much for them, you have learned about your community by learning to them. to know.”

Former Fort St. John Mayor Jim Eglinski talks about his career at a city freedom ceremony on October 23, 2021. Dillon Giancola

Mayor Lori Ackerman and MPP Dan Davies paid tribute to Eglinski and the value of his mentorship when they were new to city council.

“I remember coming to the office a lot when I was a new advisor to keep up to date with what was going on and understand what was going on behind the scenes, to understand the development department, how it works and the changes. important that needed to be done, ”Ackerman said.

“You get from your community what you give to your community and not one iota more. That’s how I was raised, and that’s what Jim describes.”

Eglinski helped set the course for where Fort St. John is today, Davies said, and laid the groundwork for projects like the Pomeroy Sport Center.

“I remember if I was on city council there were a lot of late nights and late discussions about it,” Davies said. “And now people in the community can’t even imagine not having this facility. “

Past recipients of the Freedom of the City include longtime Alderman Charles “Bud” Hamilton in 1979 and Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps 2276 in 2006.

The Freedom of the City was also awarded to Senator Richard Neufeld and posthumously to Elder Advocate Jean Leahy in 2019. Sue Popesku, Arts and Culture Ambassador and Community Organizer, also received the award posthumously in 2020 The official ceremonies for these people are yet to come. to come.

Eglinski was recently mayor of Yellowhead County in Alberta and will be sworn in to his successor on Tuesday. Fort St. John will always be home, he said.

“I’m calling Fort St. John home. I have never lived in a place as long as here, ”said Eglinski. “Every time I come here, Nancy can say at the top of Taylor Hill, ‘There’s where we’re home.'”

– with files from Dillon Giancola, Matt Preprost

Email Editor Matt Preprost at [email protected]

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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.