Loretta Lyons of Outlook was among friends, family and peers as she took to the stage last week to receive the Female Official Award, given to her for her decades of dedication to young athletes in the sport of track & field.
Loretta was one of many people who went home with recognition from the Saskatchewan Sport Awards, held on Thursday, March 28 at TCU Place in Saskatoon.
In a room filled with like-minded individuals, brought together for the sheer love of sport, every cheer and applause brought forward to each award recipient carried its own unique form of appreciation in the intimate event setting.
"Every year, the Saskatchewan Sport Awards celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of coaches, officials, volunteers and athletes and we are incredibly proud of our honorees, including the Athlete of the Year recipients and finalists who have represented Saskatchewan with distinction both at home and abroad," said Leslie Blyth, Chair of Sask Sport's Board of Directors in a media release. "Their accomplishments go beyond gold medals and first-place finishes. Through hard work and dedication, each serves as inspiration for all future athletes who want to set goals, commit themselves to sport and pursue their dreams."
In a video clip shown to the audience, Lyons spoke of her love for the sport of track & field, and how she sees her role in working with the young athletes of today.
“I started officiating in the early 80’s because I wanted to be with my family when they went to track meets to participate. I guess I have a very soft spot for the kids of all ages, right up to the Masters. I like to be there to walk alongside them and encourage them. I’m there just to make them feel at ease, and to be there to help or assist them in any way I can. We’re all learners.”
Lyons’ imprint in track & field goes back more than three decades, but to this day, she continues to make contributions to the track and field community by mentoring and evaluating new officials. Loretta holds Level 3 vertical and Level 5 horizontal jump certifications and is also a trained run, jump and throw instructor. In her experiences, she has officiated at many provincial, national and international events, including the Saskatchewan Summer Games, Canada Summer Games, North American Indigenous Games and World Masters Summer Games.
As well, Loretta is no stranger to awards when it comes to her dedication to sports, as she is a past recipient of the Bob Adams Foundation Official of the Year and Saskatchewan Athletics Official of the Year awards.
Loretta’s late husband Blake was also a previous recipient of the Male Official Award at the Saskatchewan Sport Awards, receiving the honor in 2011.
In taking to the stage at TCU Place to accept her award, Lyons gave thanks to those who have helped her along the way, not only in sport, but also in life.
“What an honor to receive this award tonight. Many thanks come to mind; Sask Sport, thank you for having this great celebration. Sask Athletics, thanks for the great nomination. Athletes and coaches, thank you for making these track meets a very happy day. Friends, thank you for supporting me by being here tonight. You are always in my life, a bright shining light! To my adopted grandkids, thank you for being here; you are very special indeed. Thank you for coming into my life in my time of need. To my Lord, I thank him for the blessing that he has given me the opportunity to be a part of this great community.
Much of this award really belongs to Blake, my husband, who has gone on to his heavenly award. It was Blake that introduced me to athletics many years ago. He was always there to encourage me, support me, share his knowledge with me, and officiate with me.
This is a very special award, and it will be treasured forever. Thank you!”
In addition to Loretta Lyons receiving the Female Official Award, young racquetball sensation Cassie Prentice of Macrorie was a finalist for the Youth Female Athlete of the Year Award, a designation that ultimately went to Savannah Sutherland of Borden.