When the Rev. Ian Robertson got a call from Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce President Eldonna Shaw this week, he had no idea the chamber had just selected him as the winner of its Citizen of the Year award.
“They caught me by surprise,” he said. “I thought she was asking me to be on the committee to choose it.”
The award is given every year to a person who performs exemplary service and helps promote business and community growth by enhancing programs that improve the community.
Robertson, who retired as senior pastor of the Valley Church of the Nazarene in 2007, is heavily involved in the community. He organized and still runs the Valley Ministerial Association, sits on the city of Spokane Valley’s planning commission and led the effort to reopen the failed Sports USA sports complex as the Valley HUB.
“He’s just done a lot of things,” said Shaw. “You look at his achievements and it’s just amazing.”
Shaw said Robertson is not only being recognized for his community work, but also for his ability to bring people together to work on issues. “He’s just always there with a positive attitude,” she said.
Robertson had double bypass surgery not long after he retired when a routine checkup discovered severe blockages. “My energy level was going down,” he said. “I guess I just needed the time to recoup and get better again.”
He’s going full-steam ahead now, serving on several community boards in addition to his work with the Ministerial Association and Spokane Valley. He’s also been preaching at area churches to help fill in for pastors on vacation. “Just enough to keep me in practice,” he said. “You don’t have the daily grind of being a pastor. It’s totally different. It’s more relaxing.”
Robertson has no thoughts of sitting at home in a recliner during his retirement. “I’m enjoying what I’m doing,” he said. “I like being involved in the community. I can put in a full day’s work again, not that I do every day. It’s good to be able to do what you want to do.
“I’ve just been doing my own thing and trying to stay out of trouble.”