Lacombe-Ponoka MLA and Minister of Culture Ron Orr awarded 20 constituents with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal at an event at Wolf Creek Golf Resort on Oct. 14.
The medal was created to commemorate the late Queen Elizabeth’s 70th anniversary of ascending to the throne and will be awarded to 7,000 Albertans throughout 2022.
Recipients must have made a significant contribution to Alberta or their region or community. Orr nominated individuals who have been an integral part of volunteering, supporting and encouraging others.
The recipients for the Lacombe-Ponoka riding were as follows:
– Donna Abma, The Broom Tree Foundation facilitator. The Broom Tree is a not-for-profit organization that supports women who have been faced with a variety of obstacles and encourages them achieve their highest potential.
– Karie Ackermann, executive director for the Blackfalds Food Bank. Ackerman was instrumental in rebranding the name to Beyond Food Community Hub.
– Louise Bell, Clive resident and community volunteer. She started the local thrift store 22 years ago, ran Christmas food drives and spearheaded the community walking trail.
– Steve Christie, former mayor of Lacombe. He coached girls’ softball for many years, was chair of the Youth Advisory Council, member of the Lacombe Rotary Club, Lieutenant for the Lacombe Volunteer Fire Department for 12 years) and served on Lacombe Council for 13 years and two terms as mayor.
– Ed Cole, traffic ticket defence agent. Cole served with the RCMP in Alberta until his retirement in 2001. He is also a councillor for the Village of Alix.
– Ralph Flewelling of Lacombe. He spent 30 plus years on the board of the Lacombe and and District Agricultural Society and has been a fastball coach in and around central Alberta for 27 years.
– Terry Jones of Ponoka. Jones has been on the Ponoka Stampede Board for 42 years. he has been a director of the Calnash Trucking Ag Event Centre for the past 10 years.
– Amanda Henderson Kada, executive director of Rising Sun Clubhouse in Ponoka. She is actively involved on numerous boards and committees such as Leaders of Tomorrow, Opportunity/Halfway House, Housing and Homelessness Committee and more.
– Riley Kay, owner of Cilantro and Chive with his wife Kim. They opened their restaurant in Ponoka in 2012, moved their business to Lacombe in 2015 and opened an additional restaurant in Red Deer in 2020. The business donates to various charities.
– Fred Knip, pastor of Ponoka Zion Christian Fellowship. He is known for his fellowship and ministry work around the world, as well as coaching football in Lacombe since 1986.
– Jason Lunn, a.k.a. Jigger. Born and raised in Lacombe, Jigger has inspired others after a spinal cord injury in 2011 left him a quadriplegic. He strives to break down small barriers for mobility, function, and daily activity in his own life, and to help others to do the same.
– Jerel Peters, executive director of Central Alberta Youth Unlimited. He has demonstrated a commitment for youth and young adults in Central Alberta by his mentorship, volunteering his time in schools and organizing service trips both locally and abroad.
– Tabitha Phiri, social justice advocate. Fleeing civil war 24 years ago, she helps newcomers to Alberta in many different aspects. Two years ago, Phiri received the Diversity Award.
– Pauline Prins, retired nurse. Prins served on numerous boards including the Kidney Foundation, Alberta College of Art and Design and the World Relief and Development Agency Board. She has volunteered on the Lacombe Health Trust Board for six years.
– Beth Reitz, executive director of the Ponoka Youth Centre. Reitz works to improve the lives of both child and parent with the organization’s many programs and events. BGC expanded its services to Rimbey eight years ago and more recently to Lacombe.
– Cliff Soper, teacher. A longtime volunteer, Soper also served on Lacombe County’s council from 2001 to 2003. The 25-acre Mary and Cliff Soper Natural Area, located east of Blackfalds was donated by the Sopers in early 2017. Soper was selected as Lacombe’s Citizen of the year in 2018 and has received the Prime Minister’s award for excellence in Teaching.
– Jack Surbey. Surbey has been a coach, volunteer, Town of Ponoka councillor, and has been a board member for J.J. Collett Natural Area since 1985.
– Dorothy Ungstad, educator. Ungstad has made countless contributions to Ponoka through youth sports, the Garden Club, the Ponoka County Fair, 4H programs, many activities with the Ferrybank-Half Way Grove Women’s Institute, and the Reo-Dennis Sewing Club. She is also a longstanding member of the Ponoka General Hospital and Care Centre Auxiliary and Ponoka and District Health Foundation.
– Crystal Zens, executive director for Lacombe and District FCSS. She also volunteered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters Lacombe for 13 years and has been involved with charity work since 1998.