Honouring local 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 12 and Central Albertans from all facets of the community gathered in celebration of the accomplishments of the nominees.

Each year, 11 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, Mary Eileen Gardiner received that award. She has worked tirelessly in the health care field for 40 years. Her passion for the industry shone through during her acceptance speech and she was truly humbled to have received the award. Hearing all of the great accomplishments she has done over her career was inspiring and she did not do any of it for the recognition. She did it because she knew it would better the lives of others.

She is someone that we can all learn from.

Other recipients 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.

All of the women come from diverse backgrounds, sectors and age groups but are similar in their exceptional contribution in making Central Alberta a better place to live.

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 sixth 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 contributions of the nominees, who serve as role models for women and girls.

We all can learn something from this group of women, and from women who have been nominated for the awards in past years.

These women have sacrificed a lot and 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.

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