Every year Red Deerians are asked by the Rotary Clubs of Red Deer to nominate outstanding individuals making a difference in the City through their volunteerism or philanthropic work.
Each year two locals are honoured by the clubs at the annual Citizen of the Year Gala, which was held last week at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Centre.
This year’s Citizen of the Year went to Sheila Bannerman for her 33 years of service to her City, which included spearheading the City’s centennials celebrations, extensive work with the Central Alberta Historic Society as acting president, as well as sitting on the board of the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery. Her current work has been with assisting in the ‘Walking With Our Sisters’ traveling exhibit, which sheds insight on missing and murdered aboriginal women of Canada and which is currently on display at the Museum.
Bannerman, who holds a masters degree in history, has spent nearly half her life in volunteerism for her community but it isn’t the awards that keep her doing it.
“It’s about continuing to serve your community,” said Bannerman. “I believe very strongly in serving the community of Red Deer because I love it here and I love the people here – so it’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
The 2015 Young Citizen of the Year title was awarded to Stephanie Aubuchon for the work she began during her time as a student at Hunting Hills High School, where she co-chaired the school’s inaugural bike-a-thon.
The event just finished its third consecutive year in which thousands of dollars are raised annually and put towards supporting those with mental illness. The money raised has since funded programs for students such as the ‘Breaking Down The Walls’ – a workshop designed to unify, empower and engage students to create a positive and supportive school atmosphere.
Aubuchon was also commended for the years of volunteerism at the Red Deer Hospital where she has been volunteering since the age of 12.
It was during her time here that she discovered a passion for helping others. She recently finished her second year at Red Deer College where she is enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program and hopes to pursue a career in nursing.
“In volunteering at the hospital, I saw the role nurses play and that’s something I’m very interested in pursuing,” said Aubuchon. “For me it’s about patient care and being with people – that’s what I like.”
Aubuchon attended Joseph Welsh Elementary School and Eastview Middle School before heading off to Hunting Hills High School and onto college. She hopes to one day continue to live in Red Deer and continue her career with the Red Deer Hospital, and perhaps begin volunteering with the local hospice.
The award recipients are chosen by a board of Rotary members, with nomination criteria for the Citizen of the Year Award stating the decision is based on length of service to the community, a legacy created, the impact created in the community as well as community enhancement.
Young Citizen of the Year Award nomination criteria states that the recipient of the award demonstrates leadership commitment and outstanding community service commitment and must be under the age of 26 years.