CARLSBAD — City Council chambers brimmed with celebration Nov. 8 as two longtime residents, Hope Wrisley and Jim Smith, were honored as 2010 Carlsbad Citizens of the Year.
Mayor Matt Hall presented the awards during the afternoon celebration. “For me, it’s very special and I think it’s special for the whole community,” he said. “We felt that it was very important to have such an event to recognize people in the community who have given back.”
Wrisley, 77, is a retired travel agent who has resided in Carlsbad for 47 years. When they heard the news that she was designated Citizen of the Year, many believed she had already earned that title.
“So many people thought that I already had it because my husband Ralph and I were named Blade Carlsbad Citizens back in 1992 and it was not from the city of Carlsbad,” she said, adding that this new recognition is wonderful.
For decades, Wrisley has been involved in countless volunteering endeavors. With her accomplishments ranging from community boards and civic activities to political campaigns, Wrisley has left an indelible imprint. Among her undertakings are the Parent Teachers Association, the Carlsbad Unified School District Board, the Housing Commission and serving as president for both the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Carlsbad.
Currently, Wrisley serves on the Traffic Safety Commission for the city of Carlsbad.
“You don’t do things like this to get accolades, but when they do come along it’s nice to know that someone was noticing,” she said.
Her newest enjoyment is being part of the Tri-City Hospital Auxiliary Board where she works at the reception desk.
“I work hard for the hospital and I think it’s a jewel in our community,” she said.
Wrisley said she feels the same way that Steve Garvey did after he hit the home run that sent the San Diego Padres to the 1994 World Series. “They asked Garvey how he felt about it and he said, ‘It was my pleasure’ and that’s how I feel about my volunteer work, ‘It’s been my pleasure,’” she said.
Smith, a former real estate broker, retired two years ago. He has been a Carlsbad resident since 1980.
Smith, 93, said he was surprised about being named a 2010 Carlsbad Citizen of the Year.
“It was an honor and I never expected it; they must have dug up a lot a stuff about me,” he said.
Smith has served on the Planning Commission, as a Carlsbad Senior Citizen Association board member, on the Carlsbad Senior Citizens Commission, and as a longtime member of the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary.
Of all of Smith’s accomplishments, his efforts as founder of the Carlsbad Golf Association remain high on his list. His steadfast commitment of more than 20 years eventually led to The Crossings at Carlsbad, the municipal golf course.
“When I first moved here, I realized that the city didn’t have a municipal golf course so I wrote a letter to the city manager and they decided to listen to me,” he said. “I’ve been a golfer all my life, I like to play on our own golf course and this city is such an incredible city that they needed one.”
Smith said he is accepting this honor not only for himself, but for all the volunteers in Carlsbad. “This is a tribute to all the volunteers in Carlsbad who help make this city so great,” he said.
More than 40 years old, the Citizens of the Year program acknowledges residents who go above and beyond in community dedication. This year, the committee that chose Wrisley and Smith was comprised of Mayor Matt Hall, former Mayor Bud Lewis, Knox Williams, Bobbie Hoder and Pat Kurth.