Mayor's Recognition Awards

The Mayor’s Recognition Awards recognize Red Deer individuals, groups or teams who have brought honour and recognition to Red Deer in one of five categories. Award recipients are selected by the Mayor’s Recognition Awards Committee, with the exception of the Mayor’s Special Award recipient, which is selected by the Mayor.

Mayor Ken Johnston

The Mayor’s Recognition Awards recognize Red Deer individuals, groups or teams who have brought honour and recognition to Red Deer in one of five categories:

  • Athletics
  • Fine and performing arts
  • Distinguished voluntary service
  • Community builder
  • Mayor’s Special Award (for humanitarianism, exceptional achievement, or an act of heroism or bravery)

Award recipients are selected by the Mayor’s Recognition Awards Committee, with the exception of the Mayor’s Special Award recipient, which is selected by the Mayor.

Nomination process

Nominations are open to anyone who lives in or contributes to our community. Nominees can be an individual, group or team, and must be either:

  • a resident of the City of Red Deer, or
  • nominated for service to or within Red Deer, or
  • a member of a group or team that is based in Red Deer.

2022 Award Recipients

Athletics

Red Deer Ringette – U10 Rush

The Red Deer Ringette U10 Rush team consistently demonstrates their dedication and commitment on and off the ice. This resilient, competitive team competed at the highest level -  U10 Step 3 Black division, which consists of 16 associations across northern Alberta. They had an impressive record in the 2021-2022 season, going undefeated at five tournaments across the province. With a 12-1-1 record, they also finished first in the league championship tournament. The team was just as impressive off the ice, volunteering their time to a pajama drive and wrapping Christmas presents for the Adopt a Family program. To the players and coaches, thank you for representing our community and for your commitment to your sport. 

  • Emma-Lea Bowie
  • Hailey Cockerill
  • Amy Condratow
  • Sophie Fleck
  • Blair Fleming
  • Ainsley Gosnell
  • Avelynn Grzyb
  • Peyton Horvey
  • Ainsley McFarlane
  • Areyanna Payne
  • Sophie Peake
  • Bowen Pilipchuk
  • Aysia Rosentreter
  • Finlee Rudolph
  • Harper Voice
  • Myles Peake (Head Coach)
  • Steve Bowie (Assistant Coach)
  • Jordan Fleck (Assistant Coach)
  • Shauna Grzyb (Assistant Coach)
  • Sarah Tittemore (Manager)
  • Lacey McFarlane (Junior Coach)

Distinguished Voluntary Service

Glenn Allen

When Glenn retired from his job as a teacher and principal, he knew he wanted to continue serving the citizens of Red Deer. He turned his attention to local seniors and noticed a distinct lack of participation among men at the Golden Circle. That’s how “Mengagement”, or finding ways to better engage senior men in the community, was born. Following consultation, goals and priorities were set, with the objective of increasing opportunities for senior men to engage with the Golden Circle and the community. Since then, several events and initiatives have occurred, with strong attendance.

Steven Carter

Steve has dedicated his life to helping others, through teaching, tutoring and mentoring. A Red Seal trained chef by trade, he went back to school to become a teacher. Returning to his former high school, he developed a Knowledge and Employability program that allowed students to earn their high school diploma through vocational work experience and courses adapted to their learning level. Steve’s commitment to literacy and learning continued after retirement and he now tutors in the Adult Literacy Program at the Red Deer Public Library.

Rhonda Derouin

After enjoying a successful career in the financial and human services industry, Rhonda wanted to spend her time volunteering in a meaningful way. For seven years, she has been a dedicated volunteer with Alberta Health Services, serving in various roles. As a Hemodialysis Assistant, she supports dialysis patients and helps with day-to-day operation of the unit. As Moose Cottage Assistant, Rhonda provides comfort to patients, families and visitors. Most recently, Rhonda served as a COVID Vaccine Clinic Assistant, helping to ensure the smooth operation of the clinic.

Elaine Findlay

Elaine has been an active volunteer with the Red Deer Lions Speed Skating Club since 2012 when her daughter joined the club. She brings her professionalism, eagerness and positive attitude to all she does and has served in various executive roles. During the pandemic, she played a key role as the Return to Play Coordinator, helping to ensure a safe return to the sport. Now serving as President, Elaine continues to work tirelessly to keep the club active and competing. She secured two grants, allowing the club to upgrade equipment and keep registration fees low.

Audrey Gauthier

Having volunteered 506 hours since 2015, Audrey is passionate about adult literacy. As a tutor in the Red Deer Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program, Audrey is invaluable to the citizens of Red Deer. She has been working with one learner from China for seven years, helping her not only with her English skills, but has gone above and beyond to help her with job applications, interview skills, registering for courses and filling out forms. Audrey is a committed volunteer who works tirelessly – never was this more apparent than during the pandemic when she in fact doubled her volunteer hours, finding different ways to connect with her leaner.

Tina Mah

For over 22 years, Tina has been the voice of the Red Deer Vipers Junior B hockey team as their volunteer anthem singer. But involvement with the team goes beyond singing. She is their biggest supporter, travelling to away games and helping in any way she can. Tina has loaned her voice to many other local teams and events, including the Red Deer Rebels, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Rogers Hometown Hockey to name just a few. Tina takes pride in being an anthem singer and loves to represent Red Deer through her singing. A mom of three, Tina has shown her family what devotion and true commitment looks like through her volunteerism.

Carol Oleksow

Carol has been a dedicated and reliable volunteer at the Mustard Seed for close to five years, giving over 500 hours to the organization. Carol is committed to helping our most vulnerable citizens, working in the hygiene department three days a week and helping with meal prep and clean up. She also volunteers her time to the various Mustard Seed events. Her nominators describe Carol as a wonderful volunteer who makes a difference in our community.

Ken Ott

When Ken noticed fresh, gourmet bread going to waste in our community, he was saddened by the waste, but also devised a plan. He started by contacting local social agencies to see who might be in need of bread donations. Soon, Ken and his wife were delivering bread to groups in need one day a week. They invited friends and churches to join the movement, and today, 50 volunteers deliver bread six days a week – about 5,000 loaves a month! There’s been learning along the way, especially during the pandemic, but this program is making a difference in lives of many people in our community.

Christopher Rogers

Christopher has volunteered for over 10 years – and over 6,000 hours – at the Red Deer Regional Hospital. Through a partnership between Cosmos and the hospital to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities for persons with disabilities, Christopher is a chart pack volunteer. As part of this team, he assembles patient information into a package for quick access by health care professionals. Christopher is described as a very important asset to the team, with a cheerful, positive attitude. During the pandemic when many other volunteers took a step back, Christopher jumped in and covered additional shifts – since March 2020, he has volunteered for 317 shifts!

Kathy Saunders

If you’ve ever attended Festival of Trees, you’ve seen Kathy’s dedication and hard work on display for over ten years. Kathy has chaired the Silver Bells Tea and more recently took on the challenging role of co-chair of Candy Cane Lane, which sees thousands of children visiting over three days. Described as a hard worker with a “get it done” attitude, Kathy also played a key role in the inaugural “Cowboy Kicks” fundraiser that raised funds for the Westerner Foundation and the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team. Kathy took on the role of managing food for the event, serving 600 hot meals in two locations at the same time. That definitely took leadership and organizational skills.

Ron Soehn

Ron has been a dedicated volunteer at the Red Deer Regional Hospital since 2009, volunteering 1,155 hours of his time. Wanting to help others in the community, he assists with the Community Home Visiting Program. Through this program, Ron visits with homecare clients, providing support, empathy and friendship. When the pandemic hit, Ron changed gears and joined the “Call a Friend” program, calling homecare clients to offer a listening ear. Ron has a talent for building strong relationships based on trust and respect, making him a source of comfort for people in need.

Ken Vis

As a volunteer at the Mustard Seen, Ken leads a team once a week to make lunches for 500 students in Central Alberta. He delivers the lunches to 16 schools, helping students focus on their education instead of hunger. He also advocates for food donations for Mustard Seed guests who have recently moved into their own housing. Ken is compassionate, empathetic and dedicated to helping the most vulnerable in our community. Ken, it is our honour to recognize you as a Distinguished Volunteer.

Alison Wigelsworth

For the past 10 years, Alison has quietly but confidently kept the Red Deer Lions Speed Skating Club running smoothly. Often working behind the scenes, Alison has held many positions with the organization, bringing her professional competency, accuracy and ability to quickly solve problems to everything she does. With a knack for making people feel welcome, Alison helps to support new members and introduce them to the sport of speed skating. Beyond the Red Deer Speed Skating Club, Alison has also offered her technical expertise to Speed Skating Canada and Speed Skating Alberta.

Good Deeds

This group of six neighbours came together with a common goal – to make Red Deer more beautiful. It all started in 2020 when Cindy and Darrel started collecting garbage on their regular walks. They soon discovered that their neighbours, Bonnie Jean and Don did the same and they began setting regular times to meet. Before long, Lois and Bill joined the group. Since then, the group has been meeting up on a weekly basis from mid-March to late-October to clean up garbage. For them, it’s not just about picking up garbage, it’s about being outside, spending time with friends and helping the environment.

  • Bonnie Jean Brown
  • Don Tymchuk
  • Bill Bryant   
  • Lois Bryant
  • Cindy Plackner, and
  • Dr. Derrel Plackner

Community Builder

Shirley Hocken

Shirley, a long-time Red Deerian, has been a fixture in the Riverside Meadows neighbourhood for more than four decades. She has been involved with the Riverside Meadows Community Association since its inception in 1976, faithfully serving on the board the entire time. Shirley has volunteered her time and energy to many projects. She was the driving force behind a historical book about the community, was instrumental in planning of the North Red Deer Centennial celebration and worked to have the CPR Bridge designated a municipal historic resource. She now serves as the Secretary Treasurer for the Association, offering advice and historical perspective for new members.

Alexis Holmgren

Alexis is an advocate for diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Alexis is a strong voice for young women, representing today’s youth and the unique challenges they face, many like herself, who live with life-threatening disorders. While Alexis gives her time and effort to many causes, one of her most notable achievements was helping secure grant funding for the installation of UV blocking film installation on the windows at the G.H. Dawe Community Centre. This allows those with light sensitivities, such as Alexis, to enjoy the pool. This earned her the “Difference Maker of the Year” award from the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program.

Dick Huddleston & Jerry Tennant

Dick Huddleston and Jerry Tennant are very long time volunteer members of the Red Deer Games Foundation.  The Red Deer Games Foundation began as a legacy program of the Alberta Sumer Games that were held in Red Deer in 1975.  As a legacy program from the Alberta Summer Games, the Red Deer Games Foundation provides funds to develop elite athletes in the community. To date, the organization has provided grants to over 400 athletes for a total of well over $195,000.00. Dick has been with the Foundation since it’s inception in 1976, with Jerry joining a year later in 1977. They have been valuable volunteer members to the Foundation for over 46 years. We thank Dick and Jerry for their outstanding, long-term commitment volunteering for an organization that has helped young athletes from Red Deer and Central Alberta with their athletic endeavours, and provide opportunities for youth development.

Alex Ivanenko

Alex is committed to making life better for those around him. When the conflict in Ukraine began, Alex and his family worked tirelessly to help the people of Ukraine. They collected medical and military supplies, led peaceful rallies to raise awareness of the Ukrainian conflict and sent packages overseas to help families in need. Drawing on his skills, Alex also created/welded a new sign and cross for the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Described as thoughtful, respectful and selfless, Alex goes above and beyond for our community and abroad.

Lending Cupboard Volunteers

The dedicated volunteers at the Lending Cupboard go above and beyond every day to serve our community. This non-profit organization lends medical equipment at no cost to Central Albertans. These volunteers worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure clients still had the access to supplies they needed. But their passion for helping others goes beyond their own organization –  during the pandemic they partnered with the Golden Circle to purchase pre-made meals to donate to Ronald McDonald House. Other efforts include donating gifts, mittens and toques to the Christmas Bureau and participating in the annual Green Deer clean up. To these dedicated volunteers, thank you. You truly do make a difference in the lives of others and our community is better for it. 

The National Pickleball Organizing Committee

Hosting a national sporting event is no small feat, but the Red Deer Pickleball Club stepped up in a big way when they hosted the Pickleball Canada National Championships in August 2021. With the newly opened 20-court facility, the Red Deer Pickleball Club welcomed hundreds of players, spectators, officials and volunteers from across the country for a successful event. Earning high praise from attendees, Pickleball Alberta and Pickleball Canada, the event was deemed an overwhelming success. With entertainment, vendors and of course lots of pickleball, there was something for everyone at this event.

Period Promise Pilot Project

Soroptimist International of Central Alberta and United Way Central Alberta teamed up in January 2021 to join the worldwide movement calling for free access to menstrual products. After receiving a grant from the Red Deer and District Community Foundation, a Period Promise pilot project was launched at four local high schools, providing free menstrual products in all washrooms. The Period Promise aims to end period poverty and reduce the stigma around menstrual hygiene. In addition to the pilot project, both organizations continued to champion the Period Promise message through product drives, awareness events and social media. To all those involved, thank you for your dedication and passion for improving the lives of others.  

Greg Thompson

Greg has been instrumental in building youth football in Red Deer. He is a founding member of the Red Deer Minor Football Association, which now serves 250 youth annually. Greg is a tireless advocate for the sport of football, serving as the Board president and coordinator for programs for 15 years. He also volunteers as an assistant coach at Hunting Hills and serves as the primary coordinator for Central Alberta for Football Alberta. His dedication for the sport runs deep, helping to raise money for equipment to ensure that all who are interested have access to the sport. A strong believer in the power of sports, Greg has mentored thousands of youth, and Red Deer Minor Football has an impressive list of athletes who have gone on to have successful careers, both on and off the field. Thank you Greg for your passion for sports and mentoring. You truly have made a difference in the lives of many youth.

(Nana) Monique Trottier

In 2017, Monique (aka Nana) fulfilled a life-long dream and at the age of 76 earned her high school diploma from Red Deer Public School’s Alternative Program.  Making the moment even sweeter was the fact that her granddaughter walked across the stage with her to receive her own diploma. Monique, the mother of five, grandmother of 13 and great-grandmother of seven left school in grade five to earn money for the family. After volunteering in the school’s administration office for two years, she became inspired to resume her studies. Today Monique is a fixture at the school, spending her days in the kitchen preparing meals and snacks for students and sharing her kitchen skills. Monique, you are an inspiration to all. Thank you for your passion and for working to makes the lives of others better.

Youth Peace Camps

Led by Urban Aboriginal Voices Society, students in the Youth Peace camps were taught the Indigenous Practice of circle making. Community Elders shared knowledge with the youth to help build cultural identity and learn cultural practises for restoring harmony in relationships. Using the knowledge and skills learned, youth can build a campsite and call a circle wherever they see the need to address bullying, discrimination and racism. They can facilitate the programs in the community and their schools, such as the Blanket Exercise, and the “No Such Thing as a Bully” program. Thank you to Urban Aboriginal Voices Society for developing this important program, and thank you to the youth who are working to create safer places in our schools and broader community.

Mayor's Special Award

Brian E. Crawford

For Brian Crawford, August 20, 2019, started out as any normal day. As a Transport Operator for Calfrac Well Service, Brian was out driving, as he did every day. But on this day, he found himself in the middle of a serious traffic accident involving multiple vehicles.

As he sat in a line of nine vehicles stopped at a construction site on Highway 9 near Chinook, Brian had no way of knowing what was to come. Behind him, a chain reaction of collisions occurred after a semi-truck rear ended the line-up of vehicles. This created a large, intense fire that engulfed the vehicles.

Despite being involved in the collision, once Brian was able to get out of his truck, he immediately began helping others to get out of their vehicles. With little regard for his own safety, Brian helped two others free an unconscious woman from her vehicle. He went on to help a man trapped in his car escape and then helped another man through the fire to safety. Brian also comforted an injured victim in distress, staying with her until the STARS team arrived to transport her.  

Sadly, three people lost their lives that day. Another ten patients were transported to hospital by STARS and ground ambulance. There is little doubt that Brian’s actions saved lives. An on-site RCMP officer said that Brian’s actions were heroic and that he had helped a number of people in danger and distress.

This was a tragic accident and many people demonstrated incredible bravery that day. As a member of the Red Deer community, Brian’s family at Calfrac felt he was deserving of a Mayor’s Special Award, and we couldn’t agree more. His unselfish acts went above all expectation and are most worthy of recognition. 

We thank Brian for his courage and compassion. It is our privilege to honour him with a Mayor’s Special Award for his heroism and bravery.

Val Jensen

Val’s passion for improving community life in Red Deer runs deep and she has impacted the lives of many. Through her work, Val has ignited our community. Her passion is kids and keeping them healthy and moving.

Whether she’s focused on affordable, accessible and fun dance or putting together ceremonies and celebrations to support large scale sporting events, her never ending energy and vision are a gift for our community. Just to name a few, the initiatives and programs Val has been involved with include Dance Magic, Woody’s Triathlon, 2019 Canada Winter Games Red Deer is Ready Rally, PCN Fun Run, and the Bower Community Association.

With a knack for drawing people in, her supporters affectionately refer to working with her as “val-unteering.” But these “val-uneteers” keep coming back to be part of the energy Val creates. She has a way of making people feel safe, special, seen and connected, regardless of their role or job they are doing.

Our community is stronger as a result of the thousands of lives Val has touched throughout her lifetime of service in our community. Her efforts have left a lasting legacy on our community and she continues to inspire and motivate the community to volunteer.

We thank Val for her passion, commitment and hard work. She has made and continues to make our community a better place now and for future generations. It is our honour to recognize you with a Mayor’s Special Award as part of the 2022 Mayor’s Recognition Awards.