Recognizing our heritage

A special event is slated for later this week that will provide an opportunity to honour those who work hard to preserve our local heritage.

The 2014 Heritage Recognition Awards run Sept. 26th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the downtown branch of the Red Deer Public Library. Everyone is welcome.

Preserving history is extremely important, but sadly North American culture doesn’t seem to buy into it much. Anyone who has traveled overseas can’t help but notice how buildings are often very old but have been carefully preserved. The penchant on this side of the world seems to be ‘just tear it down and make room for something new’.

It’s just not a priority. So that’s why events like the Heritage Recognition Awards are so important to support.

This year, the new Lifetime Achievement Award category was added to recognize individuals who have demonstrated excellence in heritage education and awareness in the community over an extended time. Nominees this year include Irene Verhaeghe, Michael Dawe and Rod Trentham.

There are also six nominees being honoured in the five remaining categories, organizers say. Central Alberta Historical Society is nominated for its work on the Historic Arches project, which serves as a reminder of the history and importance of the railroad in Red Deer and Central Alberta.

Remembering the Children Society is honored for its outstanding efforts to preserve the memory of the children who attended the Red Deer Indian Industrial School between 1893 and 1919. Mary Joan Cornett is nominated for her leadership in a number of heritage projects, including her long-time commitment to the preservation of our built heritage with her work on the Red Deer Main Street Committee.

Central Alberta Historical Society Press is nominated for two awards for its work in publishing a translation of Dr. Allen Ronaghan’s translation of Three-Persons and the Chokitapix; Jean L’Heureux’s Blackfoot Geography of 1871 and for the digitization and electronic publication of The Homesteads That Nurtured a City by E.L. Meeres.

Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School has made a special contribution with its Memorial Wall Project which commemorates Red Deer high school students who served and died overseas during the First and Second World Wars.

The City of Red Deer and Red Deer County sponsor the Heritage Preservation Awards annually, through the work of the Heritage Preservation Committee.

Clearly, there are many organizations and individuals that deserve commendation for their work in keeping local history alive. We have plenty historical chapters in this region that simply have to be preserved. Even if that means going against the grain in a modern society that doesn’t seem to place a whole lot of stock in appreciating the past and the remnants of it that remain with us.