MP Earl Dreeshen recognizes Central Albertans with Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

October 10, 2012

Red Deer – On October 10, 2012, MP Earl Dreeshen hosted a medal presentation to recognize 31 Central Albertans whose contributions have made a remarkable positive impact in our region. The commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada and was a tremendous opportunity to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

“Great Canadians come from all walks of life here in Central Alberta,” said Dreeshen. “We have veterans, community builders, volunteers and students who have made a tremendous positive impact on our community. These awards are a way to recognize their efforts and achievements.”

In order to ensure the community was well represented, Dreeshen formed a committee made up of long time residents of the Red Deer Constituency. The committee reviewed nominations and passed on recommendations to the Governor General’s Office. Among the criteria considered was an individual’s dedication to the country, province, community and family.

“While the recipients come from different parts of the constituency with different backgrounds, experiences and professions – they are all united in the fact that they have made their mark in our communities,” said Dreeshen. “We really had an incredible group of recipients that vary in age from 12 to 102. We had Veterans, amazing volunteers, athletes, community builders and students. What all of our medal recipients have in common is their undeniable commitment to making the place they live better for the people around them.”

More information on the medal and various presentations across the country can be found at

Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipients

Dr. Brad Bahler was born and raised in Sylvan Lake. After completing medical school he choose to return to his home community. Dr. Bahler is the lead physician on a committee that is lobbying for an Urgent Care Centre for Sylvan Lake and Area and is the head of the Wolf Creek PCN. He is being honoured today as well for his work on behalf of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Pat Blakely is the past mayor of Sylvan Lake and a 30 year school board trustee. She is leaving an extensive legacy to the Town of Sylvan Lake including the CP Blakely Elementary School that was named after her. As an active member of the Sylvan Lake Archives, she is entrusted to keep the rich history of Sylvan Lake alive and available to all interested parties.

Carroll Borg. Ever proud of her inherited Swedish culture, Carroll and her late husband Robert founded the renowned Scandinavian dance troupe, Fanantullen Dancers in 1982. She is the multi-term chairperson of the Swedish Cultural Preservation Society and serves concurrently as the President of the Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society. In that role she has spearheaded the rejuvenation and renovation of the multi-cultural historical site, Cronquist House.

Roy Victor Busby has served the community in a variety of forms. He has 20 years active service with the Naval Officers Association of Canada, served on the Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada, 14 years as Branch Advisory Board of Central Alberta for the St. John’s Ambulance, 20 years as a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels, founding member of the Executive Local Community Association and a member of the Royal Canadian Legion. He continues to be active in the naval community and works with veterans to ensure they receive the support they deserve.

Kayden Byrtus is 12 years old and from Pine Lake. Since the age of 5, under her own initiative, Kayden has raised funds for the Red Deer Hospital. She has also raised $800 for breast cancer research and donated money and hundreds of items for pediatrics and daycare surgery to provide some measure of comfort for the children who are unexpectedly admitted. At her young age, Kayden has already made giving back to the community a lifetime commitment.

Earl Raymond Chadwick is a WWII Naval Veteran who served during the Battle of the Atlantic. Mr. Chadwick has been a lifelong athletic organizer and participant, formerly serving as the director of the Red Deer Athletic Association and as a tournament organizer both in Canada and Europe. In 1970 he was the Red Deer Sports man of the year. Currently he spends much of his time visiting shut ins and taking them for outings in the community.

Duane Daines’s determination, tireless work ethic and natural abilities resulted in a 17- year professional rodeo career that produced 13 Canadian Finals Rodeo appearances and nine National Finals appearances. An accident in a bucking chute in 1995 left Duane with a spinal cord injury. The same attributes that made him a champion in the sport he loved laid the foundation for his successful life after rodeo. He is an industry wide spokesman for Rodeo, a member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, a professional auctioneer and an avid promoter of many community causes. Duane Daines continues to be an inspiration to all Albertans.

Michael Dawe is a local historian and archivist who has spent nearly four decades on the Preservation, Promotion and Publication of the history of Central Alberta. In addition to his tremendous work locally, provincially and federally on historical committees, Michael has also served as a Hospital Trustee for many years. Michael has been a founder and member of dozens of local boards and committees that deal with Alberta’s Heritage and commemorating those who make a difference in our communities both past and present. A fixture at celebrations around the region, Michael has been voted Red Deer’s “Most Beloved Citizen” for both 2011 and 2012.

Smiley Douglas is a farmer in the Howell's Lake District. As a young man he served with the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry in Korea. Smiley lost his right hand in an attempt to save his fellow soldiers. A few years after returning home he and his wife Rose started farming. It was often commented that "Smiley could do more with one hand than most men could do with two!" He has been a community leader as well as an inspiration for a generation of local youth.

Brian Ennis is a strong community leader who founded Red Deer Pond Hockey. This has allowed children to enjoy hockey in our community in a fun, non-contact and affordable recreation league. He has a long history of involvement in many other sports organizations, but Red Deer Pond Hockey has been his most impressive contribution to date. The league has grown from 30 to almost 700 players from the ages of 6-17 who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful game.

Diane Finstad has graced Central Alberta's airwaves for many years. Diane's professional career as a reporter has been appreciated by her grateful audience. As an agricultural reporter her knowledge is so refreshing and the genuine interest she shows helps bring rural life alive for both young and old. Diane also shows this same passion when she is working on the Rodeo Circuit. Whether she's talking to a young mutton buster or a crusty old cowboy she is able to bring out the best in everyone. Central Alberta owes so much to this hard working advocate for our Rural way of life.

Stewart Ford takes pride in his family’s Penhold roots and as a business leader has worked tirelessly to enhance his community. The historical accounts that he has documented from Stewarts Supplies mirror the exciting stories of the pioneers and entrepreneurs that made Penhold what it is today. Stewart's ability as an excellent draftsman gained him much recognition in the business world. By coupling his love of history and his artistic skills he has created many Heraldic crests which are a sense of pride not only to him but to those communities and organizations blessed by his creations. Stewart and his wife Eileen have a unique appreciation of the Arts and of the Natural Beauty that exists in this world. Their generous support of this Community is greatly appreciated.

Spencer Hachey was awarded the 2007 Red Deer Young Citizen of the Year award. Now 23, Spencer was the Organizer and Chairperson for the Red Deer Rock A Thon fundraising project that raised $30,000 for the Wheelchair Foundation of Canada and helped purchase 280 wheelchairs that were sent to Cuba in 2008. Spencer has been a volunteer at the Red Deer Food Bank and was a part of the RDC Partnerships Advancing Global Education Fund.

Kathy Lacey Kathy has been a long time member of the volunteer community in Central Alberta. She has volunteered for the Festival of Trees since 1993, been the Chair of the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools, served on the Board of Directors for Westerner Park and for the Central Alberta Freestyle Ski Club. In 2010 she was honoured with the Red Deer Citizen of the Year award. Over the years, Kathy has been involved in A Better World, with trips to Kenya and Rwanda aiming at helping develop those countries.

Win Ledieu served as a WAAF & leading aircraft woman in Great Britain during the 2nd World War. She came to Canada as a war bride in 1946 and has been a member of the Royal Canadian Legion for over 60 years. Win has volunteered at the hospital since 1994, spends her time visiting veterans in nursing homes and assists many seniors in the community. She has received several legion and WWII medals over the years.

Amanda Lindhout A native of Sylvan Lake, Amanda was a freelance journalist. In 2008, she journeyed into Somalia where she was kidnapped and held hostage for over 15 months. Through this experience, Amanda was inspired to found the Global Enrichment Foundation which dedicates resources to improving the struggles of the Somalia people with specific focus on empowering Somali Women and all women across the globe.

Ed MacPherson served his country for 32 years and has been an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion for 27 years. He helps veterans deal with pension issues and provides other support for veterans and seniors. Ed is a longtime volunteer at casinos and bingos helping organizations like the Penhold School, Innisfail Optimists, the Cadets, legion and the Springbrook Community Association.

Meagan McLavish is a great example of youth involvement in our community. Having just turned 21, Meagan has already been involved as a volunteer at the Red Deer Regional Hospital, Central Alberta Special Equestrians, Barbeque for Homeless, Children’s Fest, the Women’s Shelter, Habitat for Humanity and the Festival of Trees. She has also been a Link Crew Leader – mentoring Grade 9 students. At 19, she was named the 2009 Red Deer Young Citizen of the Year.

James McPherson is a passionate and dynamic man who gives his time, personal finances and leadership to affect positive changes in the community. Some of the positions he has held are as a Board Member for RDC and AMA, director of the Alberta Paraplegic Foundation, Director of the Mac and Cheese Charity Luncheon for the Red Deer Food Bank, former chair of the Michener Centre Ministers Advisory Board and past president and current member of the Rotary Club – just to name a few. Of course, we also know Jim as the former MLA for Red Deer and as the 2011 Red Deer Citizen of the Year.

Kylie Morrison is another one of outstanding young people in Central Alberta. Kylie was awarded the 2011 Red Deer Young Citizen of the Year award in recognition of her dedication to the community. Some of the highlights of her volunteer involvement include the Cerebral Palsy Association, the Epilepsy Association of Calgary, Red Deer Public Library, Central Alberta Diversity Association, Hub on Ross – which is a group that helps Persons with Developmental Disabilities, the Global Enrichment Foundation, Kerry Wood Nature Centre, CNIB, Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, and many more organizations and events.

Madiha Mueen has been a driving force in Central Alberta for much of her young life. At only 21, she already boats an impressive resume of volunteer activities such as the Festival of Trees, Salvation Army, SPCA, United Way, Street Wise Homeless Shelter, the Red Deer Regional Hospital and the Seniors Downtown House. She has also been the Chair of the Red Deer Youth Initiative and been instrumental in projects such as Halloween for Hunger, Coats for Kids and Build a School in Kenya – through her former high school Hunting Hills. Madiha was the 2008 Red Deer Young Citizen of the Year at just 17.

Phil Neufeld is best known as the President of True Line Contracting, Red Deer. Under his leadership, True Line has helped raise over $2 million for local charities through the 25 lottery homes he has built. Phil has also been instrumental in helping raise substantial amounts of funds for the expansion of the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter and has served as a volunteer for the Youth & Volunteer Centre Renovation Project. He has donated countless hours, personal funds and gifts in kind to many worthwhile causes in the community.

Bill Olafson has left a remarkable impact on Central Alberta. He has served as a member and President of the Westerner Board, the Rotary Club for over 20 years, the Tourist & Convention Board, and the Chamber of Commerce. He has taken a leadership role in many fundraising exercises including the Stair Air Ambulance, the Red Deer Hospice, the SPCA Building Fund, co-chair of the Women’s Shelter Expansion Project and as a major sponsor of the Red Deer Festival of Trees.

Lyn Radford has dedicated her life to this community. Her name is synonymous in Red Deer with “making things happen” and she thrives on the success of the community. She has served as the Bid Committee Chair for the 2007 Western Canada Games, the 2006 Alberta Sumer Games and the 2003 Alberta Seniors Games recently. Currently she serves on many volunteer boards such as the Alberta Sport Development Centre, the Red Deer Games Foundation, the RDC Board of Directors, Westerner Association and Children’s Services – Fund Development Committee. Lyn has been honoured with the 1996 and 2003 Sport Volunteer Certificate of Merti, the 2006 Toyota National Never Quit Award, the 2007 Mayor’s Recognition Award and the 2008 Red Deer Citizen of the Year. These activities and accomplishments only touch on Lyn’s contributions to the area and to her fellow Central Albertans.

Mary Elizabeth Reaume is tonight’s older recipient at 102. At 17 she began teaching students from Grades 1-8 in a one room school, as well as English to their immigrant parents. She was instrumental in starting the Friendship Centre, which is now the Sylvan Lake Senior Centre. She was always a leader in fundraising, from her church to the Fish and Game Association and the Lion’s Club. She started the It’s New to You second hand store to provide affordable clothing for Sylvan Lake residents and was an active volunteer until she was 95.

Ray Reckseidler and his wife Sheila came to Innisfail in the late 60's. As a beginning English teacher Ray's organizational skills as well as his kind but firm manner quickly earned him a job as a Vice-Principal.  Shortly thereafter he moved to Delburne where he took over the Principalship eventually returning back to a full time classroom teacher.
Rays's love of kids was not only evident in the classroom but also in the Hockey rink where he would spend several summers running a Hockey Goalie School. Ray always put service above self and considered politics as a way to give back to the community. He has served for many years on Delburne Council, including his present role as Mayor, and has been a mentor to many aspiring community leaders. 

Gwen Renouf is the daughter of the former Chuckwagon Pioneer Jim Ross and his wife Winnie. The same drive and determination that made her father a champion has been evident in Gwen's approach to her community of Elnora. Having worked for many years at the village office she organized many events for the town and its citizens.  Even after retirement Gwen continues to organize bus tours for seniors.  Her years of involvement on the Alberta Arts Touring Alliance makes her an invaluable source of knowledge and helps keep Elnora entertained and vitalized. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Whether acting as Master of Ceremonies or doing kitchen cleanup she sees all roles as important and her positive personality makes working with her pleasant indeed.
Danny Rieberger has been a Royal Canadian Legion Member for 35 years serving on all Executive positions over the past 14. He is a past president and founding member of the Innisfail Optimist Club, a past board member for Minor Hockey and a member of the Rotary Club. The past 3 years, Danny has been deeply involved in organizing the Relay for Life in Innisfail and has always been available to assist with many other projects in Central Alberta.

Kolton Streit was a recipient of the 2011 Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and the 2011 Mayor’s Recognition Award for Citizenship. Now 18, Kolton has exhibited leadership and volunteerism through the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, the Red Deer Nursing Home and the Red Deer Youth Bowling League. Kolton is also active with the Air Cadet Squadron as an instructor, team leader and mentor – instructing younger cadets in teamwork, aviation, wilderness survival and drill.

Bryan Wilson has been involved in a variety of different community organizations: the John Howard Society, Parent School Council, his church board and many other groups. In 1999, Bryan joined a group that was advocating for the construction of a hospice. He became actively involved in fundraising, building and governance of the hospice which opened in 2005. The Red Deer Hospice has provided dignity and support for over 400 residents and their families and it would not have happened without Bryan.

Ron Woodward simply put, is a champion for Red Deer as well as Central Alberta. Ron is an amazing individual whose work in his community is second to none. He throws himself into the projects that he is involved with wholeheartedly and with an enthusiasm that is unmatched. In 2009, he was named Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 749 Red Deer Communication Squadron. He has served our community well in this new capacity as well as previous capacity as RDC President from 1998-2009.