Service awards honour outstanding contributers
Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 06:00 am
Outstanding athletes and dedicated volunteers will be recognized with the Innisfail 2012 Community Service Awards on Oct. 19 at a gala event.
Maymie O’Dwyer, one of the selection committee members, said “it is wonderful to recognize these citizens in our community who have either demonstrated outstanding service, achieved athletic or coaching success or given significant contribution to Innisfail through volunteering.”
She said while none of the award recipients gave their time in order to receive such recognition, it’s important to show them gratitude as a community.
“In order to have a great community like Innisfail, it takes involvement beyond the private and public sectors,” she said.
Doug Bos, a selection committee member as well, said it’s been a tradition in Innisfail to recognize exemplary community participants.
It’s tough to pick a winner when there are so many qualified nominees, he said.
“It comes down to some fairly fine lines,” he said.
Heather Dixon, community facilitator for the Town of Innisfail and part of the selection committee, provided some biographical highlights for each award recipient.
Male Athlete of the Year
Darius Ramrattan is a local young kayaker who has already made a huge impact on the sport, Dixon said.
“He’s been a dominant force in the U14 division for kayaking,” she said.
Ramrattan has also attended national championships for the past two years, she said.
This past summer alone, Ramrattan brought home four gold medals and a silver from kayaking events at the Alberta Summer Games.
Female Athlete of the Year
Mackenzie Ramsell brought home gold medals, one for long jump and one for high jump, from the 2012 Alberta Summer Games.
She represented Team Alberta at the Western Canadian Track and Field Championships in Medicine Hat this summer as well, bringing home a gold for long jump, a bronze in high jump and silver in triple jump.
In addition to her track activities, she also plays volleyball through the Red Deer Queens Volleyball Club.
“Her career began with being active in almost every sport … Innisfail had to offer,” Dixon said.
Sports Team of the Year
The Innisfail Peewee Cyclones are taking home another prize after last season’s perfect record.
“They are a championship team,” Dixon said, noting they went 9-0 in the 2011 football season.
They captured the Central Alberta Tier III title and brought home a gold medal from the Alberta provincial championships.
“That was a first for any Innisfail team,” Dixon said.
Coach Recognition Award
Rick Blais has coached t-ball, rookie ball and softball.
“He has coached since 2001,” Dixon said.
The long-time ball coach has also been behind the bench of local minor hockey teams for eight years.
He’s “very involved in minor sports,” Dixon said.
Blais brings to his coaching duties a focus to develop every player no matter what level they play at, she said.
Community Cultural Award
Lawrence Gould has been on the Innisfail and District Historical Society’s board since 2004, Dixon said.
He’s also the historical village’s on-call handyman.
“He is always there keeping the museum in great working order,” she said.
Gould also organized a antique car circle tour that ran earlier this year, bringing several motorists into Innisfail.
Dixon said he’s also very involved in helping out several different community groups with their audio/visual equipment needs.
Leaders of Tomorrow Award
Trey Christensen and Sierra Copeland are both receiving this award.
Christensen is a young man who volunteers as a coach for lacrosse, Dixon said.
“Trey demonstrated to his bantam team what it means to be a leader on and off the floor,” she said.
Copeland is part of a mentoring program run through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Innisfail, helping others with peer support and more.
A recent recipient of Copeland’s mentoring wrote on her evaluation “thank you for being my mentor, without you my life would be even lonelier.”
She also volunteers with the Innisfail Alliance Church, Dixon said.
Mayor’s Recognition Award
Kari Fox is a tireless volunteer in the community with school-aged kids and school-related activities, Dixon said.
She serves on the parent advisory council but she’s also put 27 weeks a year for the past six years into instructing the Roots of Empathy program that runs in Grade 1.
“It is a program to end bullying,” Dixon said.
Community Builder Award
Danny Groeneveld is the past president and current vice president of the Cottonwood Kayak Club, Dixon said.
“He has been instrumental in keeping the Cottonwood Kayak Club going and growing in Innisfail for over 10 years,” she said.
Citizen of the Year
David Layden has been involved in the local chamber of commerce, Dixon said.
A local businessman as part of the team at ITS Travel and Cruise, Layden’s been on the national Ensemble Canada Travel Advisory Board.
In addition to other community involvement, he’s been active at the Innisfail Alliance Church, Dixon said.
“He’s quite active in the Rotary Club,” she said.