Full house for largest ever Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast

A full house at Community Centre for the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast last Friday was a strong indication of how quickly the annual event

Red Deer mayor Tara Veer speaks at the fifth annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast in Sylvan Lake last Friday.

Red Deer mayor Tara Veer speaks at the fifth annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast in Sylvan Lake last Friday.

A full house at Community Centre for the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast last Friday was a strong indication of how quickly the annual event is growing in Sylvan Lake.

About 240 people were in attendance — up from last year’s 165.

“It’s the greatest one we’ve had,” said Steve Rowe, chair of the event’s organizing committee. “We’re just thankful to see the unity — you don’t get that in a lot of other communities. Everybody’s on board here.”

Prayers were led by 10 members of the community, following speeches by Mayor Sean McIntyre and guest speaker Red Deer mayor Tara Veer.

The Prayer Breakfast marked McIntyre’s first since being elected Mayor last year. In an emotional speech, he spoke of his gratefulness.

“It’s an honour to serve you as mayor, and I’m not sure I’ll ever grasp the weight of that,” he said.

Volunteers, elected officials and members of the faith community were among those he honoured during his speech as were those who attended the breakfast.

“There’s an incredible amount of people here today, and that’s extraordinary,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary event, and it’s something that I’ve been happy to be a part of.”

Red Deer mayor Tara Veer, keeping with the event’s theme of celebrating youth leadership in the community, spoke of her own youth, during which she faced her fair share of adversity.

With well-timed words of encouragement from an adult mentor, however, she eventually overcame that adversity to begin a successful career in politics.

“My road to the mayor’s office at time was paved with adversity that began when I was a youth, and I shared that story to encourage youth to follow their dreams and to persevere through whatever circumstances they find themselves in, because the future is bright for them,” she said. “It was also a message to the adults in the room to invest in the youth and kids in our lives, because I am where I am today because of a well-timed word of encouragement from a teacher who spoke to me at a critical moment.”

McIntyre noted his appreciation for the many regional partnerships the town has with surrounding municipalities, including the City of Red Deer.

Veer said she hopes ties between Sylvan Lake and Red Deer will become even stronger in what she referred to as an “era of unprecedented regional relationships.”

“Red Deer has strong operational partnerships to the north and south of us, and I think, ideally, we would like to partner more to the west,” she said. “Really, our citizens work and play in each other’s communities, so essentially we’re one larger community and region, and it’s important that we recognize that in the way that we do business.”

The Prayer Breakfast, now entering its sixth year, was supported by the Sylvan Lake Ministerial Association.