Davidson receives Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Before Christmas, Jim Davidson was awarded the medal for the years he devoted to countless groups and organizations in the Bulkley Valley.

Jim Davidson isn’t an attention seeker.

He quietly and efficiently gets things done.

He doesn’t really like talking about himself and when he does it’s self effacingly.

Before Christmas, Davidson was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for the years he devoted to countless groups and organizations in the Bulkley Valley.

“Is that really newsworthy?” he said when asked to come in for an interview.

Yes, it is.

And what really makes the tale noteworthy is Jim’s mother, Phyllis, was presented with the Queen’s Coronation Medal in 1953 for her community service.

“Women didn’t get a lot of awards back then,” Jim said.

“My Mom did a whole lot of things quietly.

“She was a great example, she deserved this award, there’s no question about it.”

Phyllis came to the Bulkley Valley in 1925 to teach school at Evelyn.

In 1940, Phyllis came up against what Jim thought may have been one of the more challenging chapters of her life, the establishment of an amalgamated school district.

“Now you have people, elected from all over, telling people in Houston how to run their school,” Davidson said.

“Can you imagine how that went over?”

“I think that might have been a beauty,” he laughs.

During the Second World War, Phyllis helped out the Red Cross and was always very involved in her  church.

She also volunteered at the Fall Fair.

Jim was born and raised in Smithers.

As a young man he was a “side street farmer,” until his family moved out of town to a property on Zobnick Rd.

The farm grew as did the family.

Jim spent time working on education and agriculture initiatives.

A particular highlight of this time is helping to create a school for children with developmental disabilities as this was not common at the time.

“Because of that, many kids got to go to school,” he said.

Davidson spent the better part of the last 30 years on Town of Smithers council, first as a councillor in the ‘80s, finishing his final term as Mayor in 2008.

When he first talks about his time on council, it’s the failures that come to mind.

He wanted to see Chandler Park utilized when it became vacant, but even a second kick at the can was unsuccessful when he was Mayor.

He counts among his successes the creation of the Wetzin’Kwa Community Forest, the designation of the Willowvale subdivision and the airport runway extension project.

At the end of the day, he’s most proud of the connections he made during his time on council, and how they continue to benefit people in the area.

“It’s about relationships and I think I was OK at that,” he said.

Jim stresses he was never alone on any of these projects.

“That’s the beauty of Smithers,” he said.

“It’s a community of people who do things.

“I love my town, I’m proud of it and I like working for it.”

Jim now considers himself officially retired.

He’s handed day-to-day operations of the family farm to two of his boys, John and Paul, and has largely stepped back from boards and community organizations.

But it’s only temporary. Jim said he will soon be back doing what was instilled into him at an early age, taking part in community service organizations, actively making Smithers a better place to live.

Jim was nominated for the honour by the current Town of Smithers council.

“He obviously has a deep love for this community and the people who call it home,” Mayor Taylor Bachrach said.

“He has earned respect from people right across the spectrum.

“I wouldn’t have given it to me if I were you,” Jim said.

“There are lots and lots of people who participate in the community.

“I was lucky, I was involved in things that gave me opportunities.”