Telkwa’s mayor has brought home hardware honouring him for more than two decades of service as a public servant from an annual municipality convention that will be his last as mayor.
Mayor Carman Graf received the long service award at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities meeting in Whistler last month.
“I was quite surprised and very pleased. I never expected it,” said Graf. “I’d never even thought about it. I just put in the years and did my thing. It was a very humbling experience.”
The long service award is handed out to people who have served a total of 25 years as an elected member of a council or regional board.
Graf served as an Alderman (before they were called councillors) for the Town of Smithers from 1971-80 and from 1989-93, he also served as mayor of Smithers from 1981-85.
He is currently wrapping up his second term as mayor of Telkwa.
In total, he has completed 27 years on councils in the Bulkley Valley.
Jane Stevenson, the economic development officer with the Village of Telkwa, nominated him for the award.
“He has made significant contributions to local government for many years,” said Stevenson, who has worked with Graf for three years.
“It’s been great working with Carman. He’s a real, solid, steady mayor. It takes as lot to get him frazzled and he’s a strong personality at the council table.”
In Smithers, his proudest accomplishments include projects as large as the revitalization of Main Street in the ‘70s, finding a new water source for and building a reservoir, to smaller things such as improvements to buildings and streets.
Graf moved to Telkwa in 2005 after he retired and ran for mayor in 2008.
Most notably, his accomplishments include remodelling the community hall and installing the biomass heating system.
But it isn’t just his accomplishments that make him worthy of the award.
“He genuinely loves his community and he’s proud of Telkwa also, which is really great,” said Stevenson. “[His wife Joan] and Carman are really fantastic community members.”
While he has sat on countless meetings, Graf admitted he doesn’t consider himself a politician.
“I’m not much of a talker, but I like doing things, I like building things and being involved in the town,” he said. “I was never much of a politician per se, but I like doing things and building things and I still enjoy doing what I’m dong.”
However, Graf’s current term as mayor will be his final. He will be stepping down as mayor and instead is running for a seat on council.
With Graf in a less high-profile role, he still has his sights sets on making Telkwa a better place for residents.
“I just like to continue on with the beautification of the village and keep it neat and tidy and keep the water running and the sewer working,” he said.
Graf also received the diamond jubilee award a few years ago, which recognizes significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.