When you read the letters submitted in support of her nomination, it’s clear why Paulette Patterson is becoming a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence. In addition to being the first female president of an Alberta Real Estate Board, the Grande Prairie grandmother has changed people’s lives through fundraisers and volunteer work. She credits her husband Wayne with sticking by her side throughout every endeavour.
“I feel without his unwavering support, I couldn’t have done half of what I did throughout the years, because I had to have his support and my kids support, because sometimes they were at the house doing their thing while I was out volunteering.”
You may recognize Patterson’s voice as the horse announcing and colour commentary at Evergreen Park from 1984 to 2004, or you may know her through groups like the Grande Prairie Ladies Curling Club, the Swan City Bingo Associations, and 4-H as a public speaking judge. She was involved in the fundraising and building of the new Catholic church, and most recently helped move the Archbishop of McLennan to Grande Prairie.
Patterson likes to call them “FUN”-raisers, and one that stands out to her is a one day toll she organized on the then-new bypass to raise $40,000 for the Odyssey House.
“I’ve always had a lot of fun with everything I’ve done, and the people around me are having fun also. You go to bed at night and you think, ‘job well done. When you’re a volunteer, you don’t just do it for the people you’re volunteering for; it makes you feel good.”
The Alberta Order of Excellence is considered the province’s highest honour, given to people who have made and outstanding provincial, national or international impact. Patterson says she also owes a lot of what she’s been able to do to her late parents.
“They instilled in me hard work, honesty, compassion, empathy and good humour. My kids are all compassionate and giving, and they have that kindness streak in them which I’m hoping is a legacy I’ve left with them, and now my grandkids.”
Patterson is a grandmother of six and great-grandmother of two. She’ll be invested with seven others in October. Joining former Smoky River MLA Walter Paszkowski, who nominated her for the honour. Other distinguished members of the Alberta Order of Excellence include Preston Manning, Philip Currie, and Bill Bowes.