As he stood on the stage holding his award in his hand, Fred Alteen had a smile on his face.
“It’s kind of humbling,” he said a few minutes after being named Corner Brook’s Citizen of the Year for 2013 at the Achievement in Community Excellence (ACE) Awards ceremony at the Pepsi Studio on Wednesday night.
“I feel very humble about being awarded the Citizen of the Year Award,” said the 91-year-old, who has been a businessman and volunteer in the community.
“It’s refreshing to think that your peers in the community think that way about you. It’s kind of nice.”
See related: Photos from the ACE Awards presentation
Alteen is originally from Amherst, N.S. His community involvement goes back to before he came to the city when he joined the Kinsmen in North Sydney in 1947.
He also served overseas in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War and has been a member of Branch 13 of the Royal Canadian Legion for more than 60 years.
He was nominated for the award primarily for his advocacy work on behalf of veterans, probably the most important of which was helping to create a dedicated space for veterans at the O’Connell Centre through the DVA ward.
“The First World War veterans weren’t very well looked after,” he said. “They were over in that old O’Connell Centre and it was kind of depressing just to go over there on the sick and visiting committee.”
But Alteen said that changed with the opening of the DVA ward.
“If you had to be in a home like that, we probably had the best place at the time.”
When asked why he got so involved in the community he simply said: “I think you reap what you sow.
“God has been very good to me and the family.”
His humbleness showed through once again when he took the time to recognize the other award nominees.
“There are many people in the community that have done all sorts of things ... that never get recognized.”