Milestone Achievement Award winner Debbie Coleman and Manon Therriault, the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s CEO, smile for a photo at the Festival of Trees volunteer breakfast. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Festival of Trees volunteers honoured at breakfast

This year’s Festival of Trees provided the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre with 19 medical scopes and one washer.

“Being able to have these scopes on site will keep our patients from having to go to Calgary or Edmonton,” said Manon Therriault, the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s CEO, at the festival’s volunteer breakfast on Saturday.

“It’s our hope … to ensure that people don’t have to travel for the services that can be provided in Red Deer, should we have the equipment.”

The amount of money raised at the annual Christmas-themed event was not disclosed.

The goal heading into the festival was to provide 28 scopes to the hospital.

“There are still nine scopes on the list that won’t yet be funded. So we’re putting out a call to the community … to help us fill that gap,” said Therriault.

This year’s festival was impacted by the struggling economy, Therriault added.

Red Deer’s Debbie Coleman, 63, received the 2019 Milestone Achievement Award at Saturday morning’s volunteer breakfast.

“This is very special knowing that they think that much. It’s really nice,” said Coleman.

“What keeps you there in the long run are the people who you work with. Seeing everything come together is always really exciting.”

She’s been volunteering with the festival for nearly 25 years.

“It’s really important to know that we can count on a fundraiser like the festival every year to bring things to our hospital that we count on and that we need to have,” said Coleman.

“I’m a nurse as well, so I see it from both sides. All the extra things that any hospital needs are not generally supplied by the government. Not even just the extras; sometimes, just the basics that you need.

“Everybody accesses the hospital at one point or another.”

Rocky Rauckman received the 2018 Milestone Achievement Award at Saturday’s event as well.

The winners of the youth volunteer award were Danica McKinstry (2018) and Tucker Latreilli (2019). The corporate/group contribution award went to the Red Deer Twilight Homes Foundation and Red Deer Kiwanis (2018) and the Boys & Girls Club of Red Deer and District (2019).

The outstanding contribution award winners were Cheryl Adams (2018) and Shauna Glover (2019).

Therriault said an event like this couldn’t be done without the volunteers.

“There are so many hours that go in, not only during event time, but for setup and throughout the year,” she said.

“It doesn’t just take the foundation team to create this event, it takes a whole community of volunteers to get this thing together.”

There were 1,239 volunteers helping out at this year’s festival. The festival also featured 44 decorated trees and 146 silent auction items.

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