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“Unity within our community is what makes Fort McMurray special.”

One of the questions that the nominees were asked this year was to name their YMM citizen of the year. Melissa Gallant opted for Marty Giles, NorthStar Ford owner and local philanthropist. What she didn’t know was we asked him what he thought about her. “When you hear Melissa’s story,” said Marty, “about being a parent to her children, while being a primary caregiver to her Mom, while winning the fight with cancer, there is only one word that sums her up. Resilience.”

People are on this list for many reasons, but Melissa is maybe the most shining example of someone who is here because she is such an awe-inspiring person. She is a single mom who has found her niche in customer service - a career built for someone so caring and giving. Melissa is so bubbly and full of life that when you think of what she has overcome, it’s difficult to see why she is so positive. A native of PEI, Melissa has lived here for 11 years, created a home for her family, and enriched us with her presence all through that time. As if squaring up to life head on, and choosing to see only the best the world offers isn’t enough, in her spare time she volunteers at the Food Bank. And she smiles. Always. Her smile lights up a room so much it seems to arrive before the rest of her.

Many people make this list for doing good. Melissa is one, but more than that, she is good, and her goodness warms us all.