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Community members recognized for outstanding volunteerism

The Volunteer Gala and Awards Evening was held at the Sylvan Lake Community Centre on Saturday.
Healthy Communities Initiative Cup – The Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee gladly accepted the Healthy Communities Initiative Cup at the Volunteer Gala and Awards Evening Saturday at the Sylvan Lake Community Centre. In this photo: Brian Inglis

The Volunteer Gala and Awards Evening was held at the Sylvan Lake Community Centre on Saturday.

Three different awards were given out to recognize individuals who have shown exceptional volunteerism in the community.

There were just under 200 volunteers who were put forth for recognition, all being recognized.

The three different awards included the Healthy Communities Initiative Cup, the Town Council’s Award for Volunteer of the Year and the Mayor’s Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service.

All of the award winners were surprised when they heard their name called out and were humbled to have been given the awards.

The Healthy Communities Initiative Cup was awarded to the Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee.

The Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care Committee was formed in 2011 and has 17 dedicated members. The committee’s goal is to enhance medical services by offering medical care seven days a week with extended hours and access to laboratory and X-Ray equipment. Once up and running the facility will be staffed by doctors and nurses and will serve the Sylvan Lake and Area.

To date they have raised over $120,000 from different fundraising initiatives.

Committee member Susan Samson said being awarded the cup is bitter sweet. The committee has spent a lot of time raising money held in the trust account for future medical equipment. They have done everything they can do to get an enhanced care facility but have nothing to show for it as of yet.

“Instead we have five years of a lot of hard work and no recognition from the government,” Samson said.

She emphasized that winning the award was bitter sweet because the committee has nothing to deliver back to their partners, the community residents or visitors. Never the less the community will not give up.

“I just wish I had something more to give back so that we could be celebrating instead we having a protest talk,” Samson said. “I wish we could be celebrating instead of having these conversations.”

After some entertainment from St. James Gate who played a variety of celtic/rock and Australian music that made people get up and dance, the next two awards were announced.

The Town Council’s Awards for Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Cinzia Capella.

Cinzia Capella, who was volunteering her time at the check-in desk for that event, was humbled, shocked and in tears for being chosen for the award.

Her volunteering has not gone unnoticed but she stated she does not put her time in to helping the community for praise. Capella volunteers for many place in Sylvan Lake, one being the senior bowling league.

Upon receiving the award Cinzia simply said “This is very unexpected, I just love this community, thank you.”

“I am very surprised by this,” she added. “I don’t do this to expect anything in return so having this award just proves that people know that I am out there helping them and I want to thank them.”

The Mayor’s Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service were given out to Klaas Van Veller and Judy Scanland.

Klaas and Judy were shocked to know they had been chosen for the award.

Klaas was chosen for his dedication and admirable leadership while serving on many Lion’s committees. He has volunteered countless hours at fundraising events like pancake breakfasts, food drives, garage sales - where all proceeds went to support many local programs, organizations as well as the construction and development of green spaces.

Upon receiving the award Klaas simply said, “If I said I wasn’t honoured to receive this I would be lying. All the support that I get from the Lions club, it’s quite an honour.”

Judy was chosen for the award as well for her dedication to being a Brownie leader in the community for the past 43 years. She has worked with JumpStart to make sure the girls who have families in need can still access the guiding program.

She has also volunteered her time driving the seniors bus for the past 15 years and is also involved with the local Red Hat Group, The Sassy Sylvan Sisters.

When Judy received this award she was caught off guard and delighted all at the same time. She said when her family moved to the community many years ago it was with anticipation of starting a new life.

“I want to thank my immediate family and my special friends,” she added. “There have been many people along the road who have helped me get to where I am today. Volunteering is one awesome way to get to know people.”