Celebrating women

Last week in Red Deer, many locals had the privilege of honouring some pretty incredible women.

The Women of Excellence Awards Gala, hosted by the Red Deer & District Community Foundation, was held on June 10th and Central Albertans from all facets of the community gathered in celebration of the accomplishments of the nominees.

Each year, women from across Central Alberta are honoured in a variety of categories.

The selection committee then chooses a recipient for the Lifetime Achievement Award from all of the nominees.

This year, Eileen Cole received that award. She has worked tirelessly in the community whether it’s organizing the ladies’ luncheon for the Lending Cupboard, teaching Sunday School, working political campaigns or volunteering at the Ronald McDonald Charity Bonspiel.

After her retirement, Cole accepted a 16-month, full-time volunteer position as coordinator of the Firehall Fun Factory which was an integral part of the $2.5 million Literacy & Legacy Campaign for the children’s library.

Another accomplishment includes organizing Red Deer’s very first Festival of Trees on a zero budget. She continued organizing that event for the next eight years.

Cole was also the Health Region Foundation liaison for the Healing and Hope Campaign which raised $2.5 million to fund the interfaith chapel and meditative garden at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

Hearing about all of the great accomplishments Cole has achieved to date was inspiring.

Other recipients included Melanie Tuck for Athletics, Recreation and Fitness; Gwendolyn Clarke for Business and the Professions; Valdene Callin and Delta Rempel for Community Building; Helen Sommer-Longshore for Education and Training; Barbara Jean Tumanut for Entrepreneurship; Joanne Temple for Environment; Dr. Jennifer Anne Bestard for Health and Wellness; Rubyann Rice for Human Services and Madeleine Schultz received the Young Woman of Excellence Award.

A special congratulations goes to Judy Dick, manager of our sister paper, the Ponoka News, who was nominated in the Community Building category.

RDDCF’s mission is to be a community catalyst and grow a legacy which strengthens the quality of life in Red Deer and Central Alberta. The Foundation manages a collection of endowed funds established by individuals and corporations.

All endowment funds are invested in a professionally-managed portfolio to support charitable activities in the community.

The seventh annual Women of Excellence Awards Gala is their celebration of innovation, leadership, achievement and talent as demonstrated by women in the community.

The Awards honour the contributions of the nominees who serve as role models for women and girls.

We can all learn something from this group of women, and women who have been nominated for these awards in the past. These women have sacrificed a lot, and often have put their lives on hold in some way to help make a difference in the community.

They are an inspiration that should make us all want to achieve greater things.