A number of women were honoured at this year’s Women of Excellence Awards Gala.
The gala, which was held in Red Deer last week, was a chance for the community to recognize the achievements of local woman.
Mary Eileen Gardiner was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Once and a while something happens that blows our socks off. Well this has not only blown my socks off, but my shoes off too,” she said, during her acceptance speech. “I think I’m going to need that deliberator that I just installed at the Red Deer Tennis Club.”
Gardiner, a retired registered nurse with more than four decades in the field, was recognized for being a pioneer in the field of mental health. She collaboratively initiated the ‘to hear it with your hands’ flagship clinical preceptorship program which is currently in practice in Alberta.
As an alternative of retirement, she developed curriculum and was instrumental in the establishment of a Primary Care Health Services Network for nurses across the Northwest Territories.
Gardiner is also an avid tennis player and ambassador of the sport.
Other awards that were given included Sheila Bannerman for Arts, Culture and Heritage; Kay Kenny for Athletics, Recreation and Fitness; Patricia Bourne for Business and the Professions; Robin Armitage and Shirley Challoner, both for Community Building; Judy Dorland for Education and Training; Katherine Mercedes Cummins for Entrepreneurship; Beverly Anderson for Environment and Jan Underwood for Human Services.
After receiving her award, Bourne had some advice to offer attendants of the gala.
“If you are following the path that you have set for yourself, don’t be afraid to change course if you are not happy,” she said. “I am truly humbled to have been chosen as one of the recipients. Any one of these women could be up here like me. They deserve it.”
Dorland said it is an honour to be recognized for something she has loved for many years.
“Teaching is about helping to develop a child into an adult. It is a great honour to be recognized for something I am passionate about.”