They never did their volunteer work for the appreciation but two Red Deer citizens were applauded and recognized last week at Red Deer’s 2016 Citizen of the Year Gala. One person who received acknowledgments at the gala was Red Deer’s 2016 Citizen of the Year award winner Rod Kennedy.
Kennedy grew up in Red Deer and has seen firsthand the progression of the volunteer community and what it has grown into. Kennedy began getting involved with the Red Deer community at a young age and said that as Red Deer has increased in size the volunteer community has offered exceptional volunteering options.
“As the years have gone on the volunteer organizations have stepped it up and grown and that’s great for everyone. The volunteers benefit immensely from that too. There’s a lot to be said about volunteering and the things you get out of it,” said Kennedy.
Adding onto all the good that volunteering has given Kennedy, this is not the first time he is being recognized for his community efforts. He has also won the Westerner Exposition Association Award for Outstanding Service in 2005, the Alberta Centennial Medal for Contribution to the Citizens of the Province of Alberta in 2005, as well as a list of other accomplishments. Although through all the recognition and medals, Kennedy still feels the importance of volunteering in one’s personal life as well. He said that the vast majority of people he associates with are not the people he grew up with but the ones met through his volunteer work. He emphasized how like-minded people are more likely to meet each other and stay in contact through community involvement.
“Volunteer work gives others the opportunity to engage with other people and have a lot of fun.”
From someone involved with the volunteering community for the majority of his life, to someone still starting out, Andrew Panteluk is Red Deer’s 2016 Young Citizen of the Year. Panteluk’s volunteering endeavors include helping out with the provincial election campaign, spending his summers at the Heritage Youth Researcher Summer Program, as well as devoting his time at the Red Deer Regional Hospital as a health services volunteer. Panteluk’s time spent at the hospital has also helped him focus in on and decide on his chosen career path in medicine.
Despite all the good that volunteering has done for Panteluk, he stressed the importance of youth involvement in the community. He said the vigorous energy that youth could offer as volunteers can really make a difference in not only the lives of the people they help but their own personal lives as well.
“I know a lot of times people refer to youth as having energy and I think that using that energy in a constructive manner instead of a destructive manner is really important. Using that energy for community involvement and community building is one way you can have a positive impact rather then a negative impact.”