Darlis Bachusky was just finishing a volunteer shift with Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter when she received a call she wasn’t expecting.
She’d been chosen as the winner of the 2012 Ruby Award from Soroptimist International of Central Alberta, a volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women locally and across the world.
“I don’t even know how to express what I felt — what I’m still feeling,” said Bachusky, a realtor with Royal LePage in Red Deer.
“I’m deeply honoured.”
The Ruby Award, formally called the Making a Difference for Women Award, is offered to women who make a positive impact on women and girls in their community.
It’s named after the Soroptimist club’s first president, Ruby Lee Minar and some past recipients include Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski, former mayor Gail Surkan, and the executive director of Central Alberta Women’s Outreach, Barb Barber.
It will be presented to Bachusky today at the Soroptimist International Women’s Day Luncheon.
Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School student Julia Maksymetz is taking home the $600 Violet Richardson Award.
Esther Fubara, a single mother and student in the licensed practical nursing program at Red Deer College, will also be receiving an award.
For the past five years Bachusky has been not only volunteering on a regular basis with CAWES and the Safe Harbour Society but she also serves as an “Agent for Change” with the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.
She is one of two agents in Alberta for this public foundation, the largest one in Canada committed exclusively to funding women’s shelters, violence prevention and education programs.
As an agent for change, Bachusky organizes local fundraisers such as garage sales and golf tournaments and acts as a media liaison to help spread awareness about domestic violence.
It’s an important issue to Bachusky who struggled with domestic violence herself during her first marriage.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for a shelter in Medicine Hat,” she said.
“This is me wanting to give back.”
She is now married to Johnnie Bachusky. They have a daughter, Darlana, 23.
“Darlis is one of the most motivated people I know,” said Anna Robertshaw, CAWES marketing and development co-ordinator.
“She goes out of her way for us . . . I couldn’t think of anyone who deserves this recognition more.”
According to Soroptimist International, the ruby gemstone is also a associated with wisdom, importance, vitality, strength, vivacity, power and love.