“Absolutely incredible” response from community

Support from the community was overwhelming for the 4th charity Sylvan Lake RCMP Regimental Ball at the community centre May 25.

Support from the community was overwhelming for the 4th charity Sylvan Lake RCMP Regimental Ball at the community centre May 25.

Jennifer Plotnikoff, program coordinator with Sylvan Lake and District Victim Services, said the evening was “amazing”. Over 250 people attended.

“The response was absolutely incredible,” she added. Now she’s hearing from people who wish they had attended. Some people didn’t realize the evening was open to the public, something they’ll stress the next time they plan a ball.

“It was a really amazing night of fun and laughter,” she said. Yet it was also a formal event with RCMP members in red serge uniforms, toasts and speeches.

Detachment commander S/Sgt. Gary Rhodes welcomed the audience and noted that 2013 is the 140th anniversary of the creation of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, the forerunner of the current RCMP. Formal balls have been held since the late 1880s to instill high morale, good fellowship and esprit de corps.

He added the RCMP were “pleased to support Victim Services” with the fundraising evening. “They play a key role. Thanks to Victim Services and all the volunteers, you truly make a difference,” Rhodes said.

He also noted the number of past members and employees who returned to support the event. “That says a lot about this detachment.”

Chief Superintendent Curtis Zablocki, replying to a toast to the force stated the RCMP have a long and rich history in Alberta. “Celebrating history is one of the most endearing traditions.”

He added the RCMP have “build strong relationships with the citizens of Sylvan Lake and area. That’s fundamental to our success. Your presence here tells me the RCMP will endure. Thank you for 100 years of steadfast support.”

Speaking to staff he said he daily sees “examples of exceptional police work in communities throughout the province. Canadians do value and appreciate what you do on their behalf. Because of the strong history of citizen support the RCMP continues to stand for what Canadians stand for.”

Cst. Scott Smith, now stationed in Red Deer, handled the live auction portion of the evening drawing some high bids from the audience. A variety of items, many of them unique to the RCMP, were also offered during the silent auction.

Remi’s Catering served a delicious meal.

Plotnikoff said Tuesday that she doesn’t have a final total of how much was raised but said it was significantly more than the $20,000-$25,000 raised during the annual Victim Services golf tournaments.

This year the golf tournament was cancelled because the Regimental Ball was held.

The last Regimental Ball in Sylvan Lake took place in 2003, said former detachment commander, S/Sgt. Tim Gilbert.

Plotnikoff suggested the next Regimental Ball would be held in several years, partially because of the amount of work involved in organizing such an event. She predicted they’d have to use the multiplex because they were filled to capacity at this year’s evening.