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Businessman John Iatridis named 2020 Citizen of the Year

“If nobody steps in and does it, then it’s not going to get done, right?”
Iatridis citizen 2020 1b
John Iatridis, owner of The Mad Greek restaurant, displays the plaque he received after being named the 2020 Citizen of the Year. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

Businessman John Iatridis can thank his parents and uncles for setting a good example of serving the community because his efforts have led to him being named the 2020 Citizen of the Year.

The Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce handed out the award during an online ceremony on Feb. 4. The Moose Jaw Heritage Advisory Committee also handed out its annual awards during the event.

The other nominees for Citizen of the Year were Ashley Armstrong, Aspen Williams, Marta Woodrow and Nick Hennink.

The Moose Jaw Kinsmen Club was named the Group of the Year for 2020.

Iatridis — owner of The Mad Greek restaurant — was surprised to win the Citizen of the Year award, saying that he didn’t know he had been nominated until the week before the event. However, he thought it was great to be recognized, while he has appreciated learning from other community-minded residents during the past year about how he can do more to support Moose Jaw.

“(I’m) proud of it (and humbled), but it’s unexpected,” he said. “It’s great; it’s an honour to be nominated.”

Before the chamber event began, Iatridis told his wife that he didn’t think he would win since he was in a group of worthy recipients. He singled out Williams’ efforts as a young person to help others — “When our kids are doing things like that, that should give us hope” — and Woodrow for her work behind the scenes in the business community.

Iatridis pointed out that his parents and uncles did what they could to support the community since they were thrilled to live in Moose Jaw after emigrating from Greece.

“I just tried to follow that example and do what I can,” he said, adding he would be pleased if he could do even one-quarter of what his parents did in the community.

Some activities in which Iatridis was involved this past year included helping people wherever he could, running errands for others, thanking front-line workers with free food, supporting minor hockey, buying outdoor Christmas ornaments for a family whose display was stolen, and being the board chair of the Moose Jaw Downtown Association.

Being involved in the business community puts Iatridis in a position to help people regularly, which is a good feeling, he said. This is particularly relevant during the pandemic and the increase in mental health issues. He has enjoyed being able to spread goodness and make people feel better.

With a chuckle, he admitted that he didn’t know how the chamber found out about his efforts to support the family at Christmas. He explained that it was a friend from school whom he helped with ornaments after they went missing.

“I don’t like people feeling like that, I guess. I felt it was a good reason to go out and help him out (and) make them feel better,” said Iatridis. “I know they have two little girls (and) I have two little girls as well.”
Iatridis became involved with the Downtown Association since he believes Moose Jaw is “the best little city in Canada,” and he is thrilled to be from here and live here. He pointed out that while many people have ideas about what needs to be done in a community, few will ever put those ideas into action.

“I just wanted to do … ,” he said, pointing to particular citizens and groups that work to enhance the community and that he wants to emulate. “Because if nobody steps in and does it, then it’s not going to get done, right?”

A recording of the awards ceremony can be found on the YouTube page of the Chamber of Commerce.

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