BY RYAN WELLICOME
Corey Gish of Lacombe is slated to receive this year’s Citizen of the Year award, presented to her by the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce at the Business and Community awards gala this September.
Gish’s many various contributions to her community over a number of years have earned her the Chamber’s highest civic recognition.
“I’m very honoured to be chosen for this designation,” she said.
“There are so many others who are also making this contribution so I am quite pleased to have the honour and share it with all those other people that have been chosen.”
A lawyer and namesake of Gish Law Office, Gish grew up in Lacombe and has been involved within the community from minor sports to community development.
Minor sports, in particular, holds a place of special import.
“My kids are currently 17 and 14 so, as they’ve grown up, I’ve been fairly heavily involved in minor sports,” Gish said.
She spent almost 10 years coaching ringette in Lacombe, mentoring her daughter all along the way; even leading one team to a provincial gold medal.
“That’s always a proud moment,” she said.
“That’s a fun part of being part of this community, the families and the kids that you meet.”
In addition, Gish spent time on the Lacombe Ringette Association’s executive board as president and vice-president.
On the LRA board, Gish played a part in the modernization of the Association’s fundraising initiatives and the evolution of its safety standards.
“Just monitoring and making sure that there is sport to play and the kids are being treated fairly and that things are running well,” she said of her responsibilities while on the LRA board. She describes her near-decade with the LRA as being one of her greatest contributions to the community in terms of effort and volunteer hours.
In 2003, the City – or town, as it were then – hosted the Atom A provincial hockey championship; Gish co-chaired the committee that ran the event. The credit, she said, was not only hers to claim.
“On that team, every single parent worked their butts off to make sure that that happened and it was a lot of fun for our kids,” she said. “I think we did do an excellent job of showcasing our community.”
Currently, Gish is actively involved in minor baseball, serving as president on the board at the Lacombe Minor Baseball Association and previously as treasurer of the board.
“My husband is heavily involved in baseball as well, so both of us spend a lot of time with that Association. We really enjoy it,” she said.
She is also – currently – vice chair of the Lacombe Health Trust, a non-profit group of volunteers that facilitates the donation and allocation of funds and medical equipment to Lacombe’s health care facilities.
A hub of local activity and, arguably, one of Lacombe’s most recognizable buildings, the Lacombe Memorial Centre (LMC), underwent significant renovations in 2007 with creation of a refurbished and expanded event space, the reconstruction of the Mary C. Moore Public Library – then named Lacombe Public Library – and the additions of Anna Maria’s Cafe and numerous meeting spaces. Gish served as chair on the committee that was asked, by the City, to spearhead fundraising for the LMC’s – the then Civic Centre’s – rebuilding.
“That was a very successful campaign,” she said. The committee helped raised an estimated 20% of the total renovation cost of the building.
“Having that LMC as a centre point of our community, I think, is fundamental for the attitude and the atmosphere of what our City is trying to accomplish,” she said. “You become what you aspire to be and that building, I think, is part of this City’s aspirations to be more and better.”
Being born in Lacombe, Gish said she thinks she might be “genetically inclined” to be part of community leadership.
Growing up, she said both her parents were actively involved in the community. “I come from a fairly long line of staunch volunteers in this community,” she said. “How your family is involved becomes how you are as an adult.”
Gish was involved in student government and committees while attending school in Lacombe.
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