The region’s outstanding social services workers have been recognized for their contributions to their communities. The 14th annual Passionate Heart Awards were handed out on February 14th, with eight recipients thanked for the ways they enhance social services in the region and improve quality of life.

“Today is about celebrating and honoring the individuals, teams and business who have demonstrated time and again that contributing time and attention to those in need, or helping the organizations that work with the individuals, creates healthier and stronger communities,” said County of Grande Prairie FCSS Director Kathleen Turner. “This year’s recipients are once again, a well-deserving group who’ve made a difference in the lives of others. The fact that the nominations are made by their peers emphasizes how much these individuals and organizations are valued.”

Passionate Heart Exceptional Service Awards were given to Sarah Herman, a grade six teacher with the Peace Wapiti Public School Division, James Walker, a Clinical Supervisor and Psychologist with PACE, Samantha Cabral, a Program Manager with the Beaverlodge Victim Services Unity, Constable Joy Ajele, an investigator with the RCMP, and Lisa Wiseman, who works in Family & Parent Education at the Peace Wapiti Public School Division.

This year’s Passionate Heart Exceptional Team Awards went to Camp Heal-A-Heart, put on by the Grande Prairie Grief Support Association, as well as PACE’s Safe Visitation Team. The Passionate Heart Business Award was handed to NTL Pipelines Inc., while the Chris Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award was a nod to Penny Michanuck, the Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Grande Prairie.

“The social well-being of our communities is impacted everyday because of the hard-work and dedication of our front-line workers,” says City of Grande Prairie Community Social Development Manager Angela Sutherland. “These awards are our way of acknowledging and celebrating these everyday heroes that are committed to creating a healthy and thriving community.”

The awards are sponsored by Family and Community Support Services in the City and County of Grande Prairie, the towns of Beaverlodge, Sexsmith and Wembley, and the Village of Hythe. Nominations are accepted each January.