For Lorraine Desaulniers, the desire to volunteer isn’t for self-fulfillment, it’s about working with others for the good of the community and building a lasting legacy.
To that end, Desaulniers has been presented with the provincial government’s Recreation Volunteer Recognition Award. She very much appreciates this award, but attributes the recognition to those who have worked with her over the years in many capacities.
“I don’t do it for any recognition,” says Desaulniers. “I do it because you have to get involved and make it happen. When you have ownership of projects, you set your goals and work hard. You feed off the energy of others and they build who are you. It’s about working together.”
The Recreation Volunteer Recognition Award reads, in part:
“In appreciation of your personal commitment, dedication and leadership in the development of recreation in Alberta.”
Ricardo Miranda, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, was to present this award to Desaulniers at the Energize 2016 Conference near Jasper in late October. However, Desaulniers was unable to attend and she received the award recently.
The Town of Falher nominated Desaulniers for the award, for her involvement with the Falher and Area Beautification and Leisure Activities Society, the Falher Recreation Development Society, the Honey Festival and as a champion of active lifestyles.
Desaulniers always loved sports from high school onward. This includes her active interest in the Falher Pirates, especially when they were on the verge of folding in the early 1980’s due to debts.
Her other volunteer experience included being the events planner for the Falher and Area Chamber of Commerce. She was also a board member for the Falher and Area Community Association of Professional Services, which manages the operations of the Falher Medical Clinic.
When the old hockey arena was in need of replacement, she joined the board for the Falher Regional Recreation Society to help with fundraising. Due to the efforts of her and the board, the Falher Regional Recreation Complex opened in 2006. That was when the Falher Pirates resumed playing in the NPHL too.
In 2006, she along with Jean Lemire and Lise Cote led Falher in the first nationwide Kraft Hockeyville competition, finishing in the top five in Canada.
The Honey Festival has become one of her other causes, and she was the Town of Falher’s recreation coordinator for two years. In that time, she successfully completed a lot of grant applications. This included repairing the first baseball diamond and establishing the second. She also helped to reestablish minor ball in Falher.
Her volunteer experience served her well in business life. This included her role as the director of the daycare facility in Falher, which she held for 20 years. She had to manage the operations within a strict budget and come up with creative fundraising strategies.
She has also operated the Beehive honey products store in Falher for many years.
Desaulniers encourages others to take on the kinds of volunteer roles and responsibilities she has – to enter public service in one way or another.