Whether it’s his routine philanthropy, offering his hotel venues to community clubs for fundraising efforts, or simply bringing chocolates to crews working on a plumbing contract, it is Pius Pfeifer’s innate nature to give back to the community which has earned him the recognition of Citizen of the Year.
And the community is appreciative because of his generosity, as seen through the dozens of nominators who eagerly referenced a range of longstanding commitments Pfeifer has contributed to the region wholeheartedly, without recognition.
Pfeifer immigrated to Canada from Germany, somewhat by fluke, in 1953, among the wave of youngsters following in the fad of heading abroad after the war. His intended destination was Australia, but his travel plans become mixed up, and the man landed in the Great White North.
He and four colleges from a boxing club in Germany left around the same time — three found their way to the USA and one to Australia — and five years later, only Pfeifer remained away from home.
“It was the land of opportunity,” he said. “I loved Canada.”
Pfeifer arrived in North Battleford in 1956 and launched Twin City Plumbing and Heating. The business flourished and he quickly expanded the plumbing shop to Kerrobert, Meadow Lake and Cut Knife. Farther down the line he entered the hotel business, building and operating hotels in Lloydminster, Meadow Lake, North Battleford and Saskatoon.
During his time as a successful businessman, Pfeifer gave philanthropically to several charitable organizations, be it Catholic Family Services, the Knights of Columbus — where he has been a member for 61 years — and St. Joseph and Notre Dame Parishes. He was a major contributor to the development efforts of the Credit Union CUPlex and the Battleford Trade and Education Centre’s Pfeifer Learning Centre.
His contributions go well beyond the borders of North Battleford, as, several years ago, Pfeifer generously donated one of his downtown properties in Saskatoon to the Lighthouse to establish a homeless shelter.
“Pfeifer is a strong, faith-filled man of integrity that respects, appreciates and acknowledges those values in others, which in turn empowers others to serve,” nominator Vicky Serblowski, executive director of St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission wrote.
Others, including David Dekker, described him as one of the Battlefords’ best known and respected entrepreneurs.
“Pius never hesitates to share his success, quietly supporting a long list of local groups and individuals,” he wrote.
Ron and Grace Lang wrote how whenever approached for fundraising initiatives, Pfeifer made them feel as though the request was his utmost importance.
“His response is always the same: He quietly listens. One can see him thinking. He asks a few questions, demonstrating and insight and grasp of the situation. Them come the “ah-ha” moment. His eyes twinkle and he tells me how he can help us reach our goal,” they wrote.
Many note how humble the man is, noting he never boasts or discusses or keeps track of the amount he gives.
Asked why he so bountifully gave back to the community, Pfeifer said the city was very good to him.
“When I started the business I met a lot of good people and I have been around the world, in Europe and many places and Canada was one of the friendliest places I have ever been,” he said.
The man was even more simple in his response to hearing the news of the award.
“I am the happiest man on Earth,” he said. “I loved North Battleford and I still love it.”
Both Pfeifer and Allysa Woodrow, the Junior Citizen of the Year, will be honoured at a banquet March 15 at the Western Development Museaum. Tickets are $35 a piece and available at the Discovery Co-op administrative office.
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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