Volunteers ‘heart and soul’ of community

Women appreciate their certificates of appreciation. Left-right, are Elke Janhsen, Silvia Hauck, Alenda Schafer and Jule Asterisk.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Volunteers were recognized and thanked in the High Prairie region during National Volunteer Week from April 14-20.

Big Lakes Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) honoured volunteers in Big Lakes and the Town of High Prairie during a regional dinner April 18 at Triangle Hall.

FCSS received 219 nominations, down from 252 last year.

FCSS manager Nicole Hanna says 112 people attended, down from 180 last year.

Volunteers were congratulated by Nancy Marquardt, FCSS outreach worker for High Prairie and Enilda.

“We know volunteers are the backbone of our community,” Marquardt says.

“That is why it is so important to give them the recognition they deserve.”

Nominated volunteers received their certificates of appreciation as they entered the building.

“Almost all FCSS programs around Alberta host a volunteer appreciation event to honour those who donate their time and hard work to make their communities a better place to live,” Marquardt says.

Big Lakes Reeve Tyler Airth commended the volunteers on behalf of council.

“Tonight, we’re celebrating you – not just as volunteers, but as the heart and soul of our community,” Airth says.

“Your passion, your energy and your kindness bring us together and make us stronger.”

He says citizens are grateful for those who volunteer.

“Tonight is about saying a big thank-you for every hour you’ve given, for every project you’ve brought to life and for every person you’ve reached out to,” Airth says.

“Whether it’s sprucing up our community facilities, organizing events, helping out our community members or being there for our young ones, you’re the reason our community feels like home.”

Volunteers are more the just the heart and soul.

“Every year, we get together to celebrate something really special and the heart of our community – the spirit of volunteering that you all embody,” Airth says.

“Your generosity, your hard work and the love you put into everything you do has made our community brighter, warmer and more welcoming.”

He says it all makes a difference.

“It’s there in the happy faces of kids at school, the thankful nods from our elders and seniors and the lively places around our community where we all come together,” Airth says.

He commended the volunteers are urged them to continue to pursue their passion to serve others.

“Let’s all keep doing what we can do to make our community stays a place full of opportunities, laughter and warmth for everyone.”

“Thank you for everything you’ve done and for the spirit you bring and the bright future you’re helping us build.”

The event was the second regional volunteer celebration.

Big Lakes council passed a motion at its regular meeting Feb. 10, 2021 to change the format when one event was held in High Prairie and one in each of the five hamlets, Enilda, Grouard, Joussard, Faust and Kinuso during the week.

One large event is easier on staff to organize and host rather than several smaller events, Hanna says.

The regional event will rotate around the county.

Nominated volunteers are all smiles. Left-right, are Lisa Cook, Darlene McRee, Mark Burke, Michelle Deering, Colebee Harding and Andrea Werner.
Volunteers are happy to receive their certificates of appreciation. Left-right, are Jim Zinyk, Joyce Zinyk, Linda Wedmid, Debbie Yandeau and Donald Bissell.
Several volunteer show their certificates of appreciation. Front left-right, are Cindy New and Margaret Willier. Back row left-right, are Jeanette Willier, David Lamarche and Cindy Frigon.

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