Smoky River Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (SRPRRC) celebrated a milestone recently, marking Dr. Pieter DeWet’s twenty-year medical practice in the Smoky River Region.
At the celebration on March 1, SRPRRC also thanked Dr. DeWet’s wife Cator for supporting Dr. DeWet through his late nights and early mornings and accepting that he had to miss his share of family celebrations over the past 20 years while fulfilling the role of family doctor here in the Smoky River region.
“From our heart to yours we thank you for sharing your family and dedication to our Smoky River Community,” said SRPRRC Chair, Myrna Lanctot on behalf of the committee.
Twenty years ago, Dr. DeWet, his wife Cator and their two young children Ignes and Lizel took a courageous leap of faith, leaving their homeland South Africa to resettle in McLennan.
“What were you doing January 1998? You may or may not remember what took place that year for you and your family but I know a young family from South Africa was partaking in a life changing move to the Smoky River Region,” says Lanctot.
“I could only imagine what it must have been like to leave your birth country, family, friends and familiar surroundings and show up with a suitcase and family in hand to a complete strange country of Northern Alberta, McLennan. Wow… how courageous, adventurous and brave they were.”
The SRPRRC also recognized Dr. DeWet for the passion, commitment, and hard work he put into this community.
When Dr. DeWet arrived twenty years ago, he recognized McLennan as a friendly place and immediately felt a strong affinity for the community and the region.
“Right away I felt it was a welcoming place,” he said in an earlier interview. “I have never regretted moving to McLennan.”
Beyond his role as family doctor, Pieter DeWet has also played a significant role in improving the environment and advancing the interests of the community and the region.
The scope of Pieter De Wet’s involvement in the McLennan community in particular and the Peace River region in general, involves a wide variety of initiatives over the years, which continue to the present with numerous current projects.
Dr. De Wet’s role as president of the McLennan Leisure and Recreation Society (MLRS) has been remarkably productive.
Working relentlessly towards the beautification and enhancement of the town, MLRS has placed 50 benches throughout McLennan, planted 500 trees, created five ponds and erected a sundial on the hospital grounds.
The MLRS also created a 3km walking loop by the Kimiwan Lake and bird sanctuary and late last summer the society began paving those trails to create greater accessibility for seniors and all members of the community.