Two Indigenous elders were the big winners at the 2019 Women of Excellence Awards.
Theresa “Corky” Larsen Jonasson and Doreen Bergum both received the lifetime achievement award at Wednesday’s ceremony, hosted by the Red Deer and District Community Foundation.
“It’s a real honour to share my Metis heritage,” Bergum said to the 600-plus in attendance after receiving the award.
Jonasson praised the nominees from every category during her acceptance speech.
“I’ve been trying to keep track of all the nominees. I read their bios and go, ‘Wow look at what she’s doing.’ This is all happening in our city and our community,” said Jonasson.
“What I do is work hard for my community, in my community, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
Kristine Bugayong, the foundation’s chief executive officer, said Jonasson and Bergum “have so much to teach us.”
“Their knowledge, their spirituality and their desire to spread kindness throughout our community is an inspiration,” said Bugayong.
“The Women of Excellence Awards program gives us the opportunity to shed light on women like Doreen and Corky who have tirelessly dedicated their lives to creating a great community for all.”
Sixteen women representing 12 categories, including education, construction and environment, received awards at the ceremony at the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre.
A record-breaking 56 women were nominated.
“We continue to see such incredible growth with the Women of Excellence Awards,” said Bugayong.
“It is incredible that so many residents of central Alberta took the time to nominate and acknowledge the outstanding efforts made by women in our communities.”
The Women of Excellence Awards were developed to honour women in our district who have been strong role models to the women and girls in our communities.
All proceeds from the evening’s raffle draws and silent auction go toward the Women and Girls Fund, a foundation endowment fund geared towards supporting projects that directly benefit women and girls in our district.