A Rainy Creek family was honoured with the Golden Furrow Award on Saturday Sunnybrook Farm Museum in Red Deer.
The award, created in 2005 to recognize and honour the agricultural pioneers of Central Alberta, was presented to the Nelson family who have a long history in the region.
Glen Nelson was “very honoured and surprised” to receive the award from Red Deer historian Michael Dawe. It had been kept a secret from him, said his wife Pearl. “We didn’t tell him until he got there and saw his family was being honoured.”
His sisters Lois Eaton, Beryl Abbott, Marina Becker and Donna Richards, all from Red Deer attended as did the Nelson’s daughter Jane Moore who farms west of Bentley. Their other three children were unable to attend due to holidays scheduled many months ago. Other family in attendance included grandchildren as well as descendants of other branches of the family.
Pearl said the presentation was made during the Pioneer Days Festival at the farm museum. That included demonstrations, tractor pulls, pancake breakfast, a parade of old tractors, homemade pie and ice cream among other things.
“It was a delightful day,” she said. Events continued on Sunday. One of the highlights for Glen was a steam engine from the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin.
Glen Nelson’s grandparents, Nels and Maren Nelson, settled in the Rainy Creek district in 1902, and Glen and Pearl Nelson have spent their entire lives operating a mixed farm where they still live today, according to Ian Warwick, executive director of Sunnybrook Farm Museum.
The citation for the winning family reads:
“The Nelson family first emigrated to Canada and settled in the Rainy Creek district in 1902. Nels S. Nelson was born in 1864 in Jutland, Denmark, and married Maren (Steiner) Nelson who was born in 1867, also in Denmark.
“Their son Frank Nelson was born in 1898 in Pipestone, Minnesota, and married Doris (Wyatt) Nelson who was born in 1905 in Sutton, Quebec. The Wyatt family had settled in the Rainy Creek district in 1913 where Frank and Doris met.
“Their son Glen Nelson was born in 1931 in Bentley, Alberta. Glen went to high school in Red Deer, and later married Pearl Swainson of the Burnt Lake district in 1954. They have four children: Brad, Jane, Holly and Beverley. Glen Nelson has operated a mixed farm all his life, where he and Pearl still live.
“Originally he farmed with his father Frank, and later with his brother Jim Nelson and his son Brad. Their daughter Jane currently owns and operates a cow-calf operation west of Bentley.
“In 2004, on Glen and Pearl’s 50th wedding anniversary, the couple was presented with Lacombe County’s 100 year farm family recognition.
“One of Glen’s successes in the agricultural field is his ability to design and fabricate tractor cabs, cranes, and hopper-bottom bins.
“Glen Nelson’s volunteer contributions to the community are numerous, including his 15 years as a delegate with Alberta Wheat Pool, nine years as a Lacombe County councillor, four years as a member of Lacombe Regional Hospital Board. He was instrumental in formation of Gull Lake Gas Co-op and served as secretary-treasurer for 10 years, along with many years volunteering with the UFA on numerous committees.
“Glen served for 42 years in various board and committee positions with Bentley United Church, for eight years as secretary-treasurer of Bentley Arena building committee, 15 years on Rainy Creek Community Hall Board, and somehow found time to coach hockey for 14 years.
“His service to the community and his dedication to the field of agriculture are being celebrated today with the presentation of the 2012 Golden Furrow Award.”