By Sherry Devlin/Missoula Current

Karen Sippy, who says – simply – that she “just loves Missoula so much,” is the city’s neighborhood volunteer of the year.

A proclamation says so, as did the Missoula City Council on Monday night and a collection of her friends and neighborhoods in attendance for the proclamation reading.

Sippy was recognized for her work on the Grant Creek trail, for which she helped raise $180,000, and for her years of volunteerism for the city’s urban forestry department.

“Karen is an outstanding asset to the city and to me,” said urban forester Chris Boza, who recognized Sippy’s contributions to the city’s volunteer pruning program, its urban tree inventory project and with a new forestry education program for high school students.

Wendell Beardsley, president of the Grant Creek Neighborhood Council, hailed Sippy as a tireless worker. Neighbor Bert Lindler said she was essential to the effort that worked for years to successfully build the Grant Creek walking/running/biking trail.

Mayor John Engen’s proclamation urged “all citizens to join in recognizing their profound connection to place and to each other by offering their service for the betterment of their own neighborhoods in challenging and meaningful new ways during this commemorative month and beyond.”

Council president Marilyn Marler, who presided over Monday night’s meeting in Engen’s absence, said the volunteer recognition was always her favorite council meeting of the year. She knows Sippy, she said, and therefore can testify to her myriad contributions to Missoula.

For her own part, Sippy thanked others – her husband, Parks and Recreation director Donna Gaukler, the urban forester, the mayor and council members, and her neighbors in Grant Creek.

“I just love Missoula so much,” she said.