Editorial – What’s in a name? Here’s the story!

Richard Froese

Many communities have public buildings, parks, facilities and schools named in honour or memory of significant residents.

High Prairie has J.B. Wood Continuing Care Centre, E.W. Pratt High School, the Gordon Buchanan Recreation Centre and the Moostoos Building that houses the High Prairie Municipal Library.

Falher has Ecole Routhier School and Peavine Metis Settlement has Bishop Routhier School.

T.A. Norris Middle School and 12 Foot Davis Events Park are located in Peace River.

So, who are all those people – and many others who have been honoured with their name at a local landmark?

Wood was a longtime physician in the High Prairie region from the 1930s to the 1970s. A special visual profile of Wood was placed inside the west entrance of the continuing care centre on Feb. 7 as a project of the High Prairie Health Complex, Twice Is Nice Boutique Society and the Wood family.

“Important people and their contributions should not be forgotten,” society president Diana Oliver says.

Essentially, all people honoured were oldtimers in the community – residents who lived a long time in the area and made a significant, special, unique, or longtime contribution to the region and beyond.

Many current longtime residents will remember them.

But the younger generations and newcomers to the community may have no idea who those people are and what they did to serve their community.

That is, unless a special visual tribute with a photo and a brief biography of the person is featured at the location.

That visual recognition needs to be prominently located in a main public point in the building – the entrance or lobby is ideal.

So what make a good biographical profile?

What do people want to know about the person?

A full-length biography may not be required.

Most people would probably just want the key points – much like a listing in a person’s resume – and not a full-length narrative.

Take for instance, the recent recognition for Wood.

What years did he serve as a doctor in the community?

What were his significant contributions in the community?

What year was the long-term care facility named in his honour?

It’s best to create that presentation at the time the building or other facility is named or dedicated.

Many times the answers to those questions are not easily found in the history books long after the person has left the community or passed on.

It’s also difficult to get that information when no family members currently live in the community.

What’s the point in honouring someone in that way if people don’’t know who they are and what they contributed to the community?

Honour residents where recognition is due.

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