Curling champ to speak at Citizen of the Year Gala

Red Deerians are being called upon to nominate someone they know who has made a difference in the community.

The deadline for nominations for Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year is March 31st. The Spring Gala honouring the recipients will be held May 3 at the Sheraton Red Deer.

The annual award goes to people with a longstanding record of volunteerism and leadership in community involvement and people who make a contribution and impact on the City.

Citizen of the Year dates back to 1969 when it was started by the City and the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce, but was later taken over by the Rotary Clubs of Red Deer.

Past recipients include Hazel and Morris Flewwelling, Joan and Jack Donald as well as Dennis Moffat, Don Hepburn and Lyn Radford.

Last year’s recipient was Kathy Lacey, a life-long volunteer of many organizations in Red Deer. Azalea Lehndorff was also named Young Citizen of the Year. She was working with a Central Alberta based international development organization, A Better World, to help educate young Afghanistan girls.

Meanwhile, this year’s guest speaker at the Spring Gala will be Olympian Cheryl Bernard, who is best known for her long list of curling accomplishments, as well as her unrelenting sense of perseverance.

The silver medal winner at the Vancouver 2010 Games, Bernard is also a four-time Alberta Women’s Champion, Canadian Runner-Up and TSN Skins finalist. For the past eight years, she has maintained a top-five status on the World Curling Tour, protecting her team’s position as one of the most competitive curling groups in the world.

Bernard’s competitive spirit started to shine when she began curling as an eight-year-old. The instructor at the Northill Curling Club in Calgary told her that if she could push the rock down to the other end of the sheet – she was in. As Bernard put both feet in the hack and heaved hard, the 44lb rock got to the other end – the rest is history.

Curling has not always been at the top of her ‘to do’ list. At the age of 23, Bernard started an insurance brokerage in Calgary. By creating a dynamic agency culture that empowered others, she and her staff propelled the agency to $6 million in sales in 11 years. At that time, Bernard decided it was time to re-focus on curling, writing and fundraising – so she sold her agency to Western Union Insurance.

In December 2009, Bernard and her teammates won the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials in Edmonton and headed to Vancouver to represent Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics. After a grueling 10 days, Team Canada brought home a silver medal, and at the same time earned the country’s respect with their poise, conduct and teamwork at those games. Two months after the Olympics, Bernard was nominated by her peers as the 2010 Most Valuable Player in Women’s curling.

Throughout her life, Bernard has never lost site of the need to give back. She has volunteered on a variety of boards, as well as for the Canadian Curling Association and the World Curling Tour. Following the death of her father from a brain tumour, Bernard created the annual ‘Curl for a Cure.’

In the five years that this event ran, over $1.3 million dollars was raised.

Bernard was the spokesperson for the 2010 Terry Fox Run and has done promotional work for the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Children’s Miracle Network, Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day, Microsoft and the Toronto Children’s Hospital. She is currently the spokesperson for The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

In 2005, Bernard co-authored and published Between the Sheets Creating Curling Champions, which describes the mental side of the game of curling.

Currently, Bernard spends much of her time doing motivational speaking for corporations and schools, sharing the lessons learned from sport and life. She also attends adult and junior curling clinics in Canada and the U.S., continuing to

compete in the game she loves – curling.

Tickets for the Red Deer Citizen of the Year Spring Gala are $100 per person. To order individual tickets visit or contact Dean Williams at 403-350-8429 or Hillary Boijolie at 403-341-4000.