Veteran councillor Helen Rice has wrapped up her time with the city, but she’s not slowing down.
She plans to continue working for the Downtown Business Association until July and then will continue to serve on boards. She was just elected to serve as the President of the John Howard Society.
When reflecting on her council days though Rice says its their group dynamic she’ll miss most.
“We get up from that table and you know we all join in [the fun]. The camaraderie is great. We don’t take it away from the table. I have never been able to figure out why Grande Prairie is that much different, but we are.”
She compared it to her experience working on other boards saying there was always different dynamics that played in to the way they ran.
When asked what prompted her to get involved with city council Rice says the community was good to her and her family so it seemed like a way to give back but it wasn’t the only reason.
“Oh, you’re Ken’s wife or oh, you’re Lisa’s mother! I used to think, I have my very own name you know, and nobody cared what it was. That’s what I was, I was wife and mother.”
A recent shopping trip with her daughter proved to her she had made a name for herself after someone recognized her distinctive voice and said, “Oh, you’re Helen Rice!”
Over her years in office she met a number of celebrities including Ronald and Nancy Reagen, the Queen, Robert Plant, Farrah Fawcette and Ryan O’Neal. Her favourite encounter though was Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar.
She also was just honoured with a plaza for her service to the city. H. A. Rice Plaza is located in front of Revolution Place.