Two Red Deer-area powerhouse volunteers were among 12 Albertans to receive Senate 150 Commemorative Medals in Calgary Thursday afternoon.
Lyn Radford, of Red Deer, and Joan Donald, of Red Deer County, were presented with the medals that recognize Canadians whose generosity, dedication, volunteerism and hard work make their home communities a better place to live.
Radford, who is currently board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society, was the fundraising force behind Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta, and helped pull off the 2010 Red Deer Olympic Torch Relay and the 2006 Alberta Summer Games. She also lobbied for the gymnastics facility to be built in the Collicutt Centre.
Radford said she focuses her volunteer efforts on creating a strong foundation for youth.
“If (youth) have it given to them, maybe they will in return pay it back and do it for the generation after them. It’s just an improvement for everybody,” Radford said.
She encouraged everyone to share their talents by volunteering.
“Every event or organization can use your talent. Everyone has a place, some place, in the volunteer world.”
She said it’s an honour to receive the Senate Medal, but it’s also an opportunity for Canadians to recognize Red Deer’s amazing volunteer community.
“This community is a rock star community. It’s always fun to be able to celebrate it,” Radford said.
Both Radford and Donald said volunteering has enriched their lives through the friendships they have made along the way.
“I do all these things because I enjoy it and for the people I meet. That’s what keeps me going. It’s the friends you make,” Donald said.
As a successful business woman, Donald has worked with her husband Jack in petroleum marketing, investment and real estate. The dedicated volunteer was instrumental in starting the first Festival of Trees event in Red Deer, and has served on numerous boards throughout the years.
Donald said when she saw how much fun her family had at a tree festival in Edmonton, she knew Red Deer had to have a festival too.
At the time Donald was a Red Deer Hospital Foundation Board member.
“There had been a big cutback on equipment for the hospital so I thought let’s raise some money for the hospital,” said Donald, an Order of Canada recipient.
Now in its 24th year, Donald still volunteers. She is on the sponsorship team and is the co-ordinator for the dignitaries for the 2017 festival to be held Nov. 22 to 26 at Westerner Park.
“I call it the premier event and a must-attend for the people of Red Deer.”
Donald is also an honorary sponsorship chair for the 2019 Canada Winter Games, and is known as a generous philanthropist. She has donated millions towards the well-being of the Red Deer region including funds for the health and wellness wing at Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre under construction at Red Deer College.
On Thursday Senator Doug Black and Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell presented certificates and the Senate Medals, that are actually table medals, to each recipient.
“This year marks Canada’s 150th anniversary. It is important for the Senate to seize this opportunity to recognize the incredible Canadians whose contributions, volunteerism and dedication to their local communities help make our country a better place to live,” said Black in a press release.
The medals also mark the 150th anniversary of the Senate’s first sitting on Nov. 6, 1867.
Other medal recipients at the Calgary ceremony included George Brookman, of Calgary; David Carpenter, of Lethbridge; Marty Giles, of Fort McMurray; Diane Randell, of Lethbridge; Helen Rice, of Grande Prairie; Irv Kipnes, of Edmonton; Norbert Meier, of Canmore; Nabeel Ramji, of Calgary; Dr. Joseph Doucet, of Edmonton; and Brad Zumwalt, of Calgary.