Patricia Arango received the highest honour at the 13th annual Women of Excellence Awards.
The executive director of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre was given the lifetime achievement award during the 2020 gala, which took place online Saturday.
“Patricia has participated in deep-rooted work that creates a ripple of positive impact,” said Erin Peden, executive director of the Red Deer and District Community Foundation, which hosts the Women of Excellence Awards every year.
“She has selflessly reached into the heart of hard issues and continuously works to provide a stronger, healthier quality of life for all.”
This year’s gala was held online due to COVID-19.
“It was a year unlike any other,” said Peden.
“This spring, we were called upon to do and be all things within our households. So many of the women in our community found themselves navigating a full-time job, supporting education from home, being a counsellor and a caregiver.
“They were being physically and emotionally challenged every minute of every day.
“The foundation recognized there has never been a more appropriate time to celebrate the outstanding achievements of these women – even if it had to happen virtually.”
More than $12,000 was raised through the virtual gala, which aims to celebrate some of central Alberta’s most significant women.
“The nominees’ support networks and family members from all over the world were able to participate in this celebration,” said Peden.
“That was one really special piece of hosting an online event.”
Donna Bishop, who has received accolades such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, received the inspiration award during the virtual gala.
The Women of Excellence Committee recognized Bishop as someone who “conjures inspiration among peers, colleagues and strangers by working selflessly to not only recognize issues, but by creating strategies and actions to address them.”
Complete list of winners:
Agriculture: Michelle Brown
Arts & Culture: Laurie Maetche
Athletics, Recreation and Fitness: Kathy Lalor and Lynne Stephenson
Business and the Professions: Mary Kemmis
Community Building: Dianne Macaulay
Women of Excellence in Construction: Natalie Paetz
Education and Training: Jacqui Renwick
Entrepreneurship: Jenna Stubbe
Environment: Shannon Lirondelle
Health and Wellness: Dr. Jody Carrington
Human Services: Raelynn Notley
Young Woman of Excellence: Brittany Lausen
Lifetime Achievement Award: Patricia Arango