The Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau has handed out more than a dozen awards to those in the community who went above and beyond to help their fellow residents over the past year.
Volunteer of the Year went to Wendy Doucet, who administered temperature checks as well as gently reminded residents of social distancing, mask-wearing, and hygiene practice as a volunteer with the Grande Spirit Foundation. GPVSB Executive Director Carol-Anne Pasemko says, quite simply, Doucet may have helped save lives.
“She did all of that and she did it all on her own time and did it every day.”
Pasemko adds the awards were put together in partnership with the City of Grande Prairie, and “couldn’t have been done without [their support].”
Other winners include the Grassroots Realty Group taking home the 2020 Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award, while Fletcher Bootle and Vicki Ross were named the 2020 George Repka Outstanding Achievement Award recipients, both of which are City of Grande Prairie awards. The Stitch Club of Grande Prairie was named the Bill Bowes Volunteer Organization of the Year.
Pasemko says, while social services are well worthy of the praise they get, volunteerism has seen a fair share of heroes rise up from a number of areas, including sports and recreation and church groups. She adds the quality of life of everyone in the region has been impacted by COVID-19.
“It has negatively impacted on volunteerism, because things that people would traditionally be able to do to volunteer and support the community, they haven’t been able to do that.”
Pasemko says the virus has also significantly impacted those who are retired. She adds those who would spend their time going into South Peace Regional Archives, for example, can’t do that anymore because of social distancing.
“They don’t have computers at home to just zoom in and whatnot, so that is really impacting a significant portion of the population as in some of the ways they volunteer are no longer available.”
Meanwhile, Lori Brough, Angie Crerar, Taj Johnson, Sharon McLean, Tom Pura, Karen Rosvold, Tyla Savard, and Jessica Schoepp were named 2020 Oustanding Citizens in the Community. In the Leaders of Tomorrow Category, Rosie Plante and Akisa Mukaga were named Advocacy Award winners, with Quinn Best and Zac Jinkling taking home the Leadership Award, Natasha Manahan and Mark Tagal took home the Perseverence Award, with Shaen Gignac and Nikolas Slade winning the Volunteer Award.
A replay of the virtual award ceremony and more information on all the winners can be found on the Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau website.