Michael Fox, right, has been named the 2013 Sackville Citizen of the Year. TOWER PHOTO
He has had a significant impact on improving ‘town and gown’ relations, has been a tireless volunteer in the community in the 12 years he has lived here, and has encouraged hundreds of Mount Allison students to contribute their time to make Sackville a better place right along with him.
For these reasons, and many, many others, Michael Fox was named this year’s recipient of the Sackville Citizen of the Year award. Fox was presented the honour during Sackville Fall Fair’s opening ceremonies on Friday evening.
Local resident John Higham, who nominated Fox for the award, says “Sackville is a better place for Mike Fox’s varied and rich volunteer and professional efforts; and his method of fostering others to act is building a lasting legacy of change.”
Fox has volunteered and worked on multiple fronts over the years to enhance the quality of life here in Sackville.
Fox, along with his wife Cathy and their three children, arrived in Sackville in 2001. The university professor soon found that his passion for the environment and making his community a better place for everyone, led him to join the local planning commission, where he served in various positions for seven years, including chair.
Fox has also assisted and helped get a number of community organizations off the ground, some of which are now recognized well beyond our borders. Fox recognizes issues within the community and works with students, the town and community members to address those concerns.
His contributions include, among others: helping to incorporate the Sackville Farmers Market; working with the downtown revitalization committee to create an approach to beautifying the downtown core; sitting as a board member of Renaissance Sackville; developing a strategic plan for the town; opening discussions on the impacts of climate change in the region; working with local businesses to voluntarily separate waste; overseeing research on town-specific issues; and helping to develop a Regional Centre of Expertise on Sustainable Education in the Tantramar region.
“Each of these initiatives has touched many people and contributed to the type of community we see today,” says Higham.
Former Mayor Pat Estabrooks says that throughout her four-year term, “council found Mike to be a committed volunteer who put in incredible hours investigating issues.”
Local volunteer Tracey Wade says that “Mike Fox has played an integral role in so many community initiatives, it is hard to keep track. He’s always in the background working to help the community and is an inspiration to both his students and fellow Sackvillians.”
Fox has also worked tirelessly to challenge his students at Mount A, students who come from other communities, to really see and appreciate the community they live in.
He gets them involved in Sackville life through both their studies and in their extracurricular lives. He offers the students a chance to participate in community projects, and many students do. Fox’s efforts, including bringing a council meeting to campus, have fostered stronger student/community relationships and encouraged student-led projects that benefit the town.
Fox also took this approach to the high school, where the Tantramar Advantage geography course has similarly enthused young people about their town. And more recently, Fox’s attention has included Salem Elementary school, where joint efforts are creating an “Outdoor classroom” to build knowledge of the community environment at the youngest of ages.
“Mike’s volunteer work clearly demonstrates his sense of how a community can work together to enhance the quality of life for all,” says Higham.