Each year, the Yukon Order of Pioneers (YOOP) selects Mr. and Mrs. Yukon in recognition of two longtime Yukoners who have made lasting contributions to their communities. This year they have named Valerie Drummond (born Wakefield) and Dan Drummond of Haines Junction as the worthy representatives.
They didn’t know each other when they arrived in the Yukon, Valerie first in 1973 and Dan in 1974, but it’s no secret that their partnership is quite the iconic Yukon love story. They met over Valerie’s blackjack table at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s in Dawson City. Dan may have won a few dollars, but it was the promise of moving back to town that following winter and seeing Valerie again that was the real prize that night.
Dan and Valerie were married in 1976 and have always called the Yukon home, having been valuable volunteers and community members in three different places; Dawson City, Whitehorse, and Haines Junction.
The recognition as Mr. and Mrs. Yukon provides a real opportunity to reconnect with old friends and to build new acquaintances, according to Valerie.
“It took us by surprise when we found out we were nominated,” she said. “We are looking forward to meeting a great number of people in the territory.”
As part of the role, YOOP supports Mr. and Mrs. Yukon to get involved in multiple Rendezvous events, and the couple will be invited to be special guests at a number of important festivities across the territory, including visits to Dawson City for the Commissioner’s Ball this summer, as well as potentially Discovery Day celebrations.
“On February 10, we get ‘pinned’ and get our banners from YOOP,” Valerie said. “And then make our first official appearance at The Royal Feast the following night.
“We’ll likely attend the local Canada Day Parade in Haines Junction… and Yukoner’s Night in Vancouver.”
The couple were recognized for their extensive contributions in the community including volunteer firefighting, organizing minor hockey, Christmas festivities in Haines Junction, work with Scouts Canada, and past work with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, to name just a few. That community spirit continues today with Valerie’s work with women’s hockey and their work for the Kluane to Chilkat Bike Relay.
The year promises to be one that they’ll both enjoy and will let them reconnect with people around the territory. It’s something they’ll both be proud of for their community.
“Renewing acquaintances is important,” Valerie concluded. “And we’re very excited to be representing Haines Junction and the Kluane region.”