Inspiration is akin to air and water: It’s a basic human necessity.
We as a society and a community need role models and heroes.
By definition, they demonstrate behaviours and attitudes and levels of self-sacrifice that should be emulated for the greater good of families, communities and cultures.
So there is no better way to start a new chapter of history and turn the calendar’s page to a New Year than by shining attention on our own citizens – role models and heroes — deserving of recognition.
On January 29, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) will host a by-invitation-only event at MacDonald Island Park where a number of nominees will be toasted as "Citizen Champions of the Region" by Mayor Melissa Blake, Regional Council and the Citizen Recognition Committee.
When one examines the field of nominated candidates, it’s obvious that the RMWB has a rich array of individuals who, through their commitments of time, experience, compassion and interest, devote their efforts to the betterment of community organizations and the public at large.
They also represent hundreds more residents who volunteer their time and energy to various community events, social-profit organizations and other groups of residents in need of help and understanding.
Bigspirit.ca is pleased to present the field of citizens nominated by their fellows for public recognition. It’s evident that they are not only inspired, but also, inspiring.
In "Why Inspiration Matters," an article by Scott Barry Kaufman in the Harvard Business Review, Kaufman notes that inspiration (and those who inspire us) “… is evoked spontaneously without intention…it is also transcendent of our more … self-serving concerns and limitations …” and it causes individuals to strive “to transmit, express or actualize a new idea or vision,” another way of describing innovation and creativity.
Congratulations to all of the Citizen Recognition Program nominees, listed below along with some of their accomplishments.
They are the role models, heroes and leaders who inspire purpose, vision and excellence in their fellow citizens.
- Community connector for new Canadians in Wood Buffalo
- Organizer of many community events
- Director with the Multicultural Association
- Coordinator with the Association Canadienne Française de l’Alberta
- Community Branch Manager at ATB Financial
- Ambassador for Wood Buffalo
- Involved in many community boards: Fuse Social, Keyano College Foundation, Rotary Club, TEDx Fort McMurray, Convergence YMM, Leadership Wood Buffalo, Northern Alberta Business Incubator, Volunteer Alberta
- Assists newcomers to look for jobs and to connect with local organizations
- President of the Fort McMurray Cricket Club
- Was instrumental in the creation of Fort McMurray’s first cricket league
- Member of the Pakistan Canada Association Advisory Board
- Has volunteered in Wood Buffalo for over 40 years
- Executive member of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons for over 20 years
- Vice-President of the Northern Alberta Athletic Association
- Volunteers with the daily operations at the Casman Centre
- Born and raised, proud Fort McMurray resident
- Executive Director of St. Aidan’s House Society
- President of the Re/Max-BP SloPitch League in Fort McMurray for the past 13 years
- Regional Ambassador with the National SloPitch Association as a Regional Director
- Is a community connector and ambassador for the region, whose professional career has been dedicated to the community she calls home
- Former Municipal Councillor and School Trustee for the Fort McMurray Catholic School District
- Advocate and supporter of Aboriginal, First Nation and Métis members of the community
- Founding member of the Regional Aboriginal Recognition Awards
- Strong advocate for the Wood Buffalo region
- School Counsellor at Bill Woodward School in Anzac
- Has taken a leadership role in developing the “Positive School Climate Committee”
- Supports children and families in the community
- Active member of the Roots of Empathy Steering Committee
- Advocate for children and families’ needs in the rural communities
- Hoop dancer, actor, writer, poet and visual artist
- Strong supporter of arts and culture in Wood Buffalo
- Strong supporter of social profit agencies and newcomers to the region
- Board member with the Boreal Art Institute
- Artist with the Wood Buffalo Artist in Residency program
Devon and Dustin Loy
- Committed volunteers as Sparky, the mascot for Regional Emergency Services and Bylaw Bob, the mascot for Bylaw Services
- Kind, gentle, professional, dedicated and engaging volunteers
- Are members of the 868 YMM Rotary Northstar Air Cadet Squadron
- Volunteers at the Royal Canadian Legion
Carrie Lynn Loy
- Born and raised, proud Fort McMurray resident
- Victim Services Unit Advocate
- Volunteer Event Coordinator with the Fort McMurray Legion
- Volunteers with Wood Buffalo Food Bank Drives, Santas Anonymous and Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation
- Former member of the Westview and Thickwood School Parents Associations
Della (Kerfont) McIsaac
- Respected advocate for the 1300+ members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1505
- Strong communicator between the Union and Management
- Collaborator and compassionate leader
- Unselfish and solution-oriented mentor
- Always makes others feel respected, valued, supported and important
- Chairperson of the Fort McMurray Catholic School Board of Trustees
- Co-Chair of the Northeast Alberta Child and Family Services Authority Board
- Member of the Wood Buffalo Health Advisory Board
- Represents the community on a variety of boards and committees
Jack "Torchy" Peden
- Has been involved with the Fort McMurray Historical Society since 1995 and is the current Vice President
- Instrumental in the development of Marine Park
- The Waterways Train Station Museum Centre is called the Jack “Torchy” Peden Centre
- Spearheaded the restoration of Heritage Park after the flood of 2013
- Provides breastfeeding support to new mothers in the region
- Assists rural communities with breastfeeding support groups
- Created the “Where’s my Midwife” campaign to advocate for midwives in the region
- Lactation consultant for mothers
- Graduate of Leadership Wood Buffalo and member of the Recruitment and Alumni Committee