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News Review
Volunteers Recognized at Annual Award Ceremony
Posted Date: 2/7/2019

Over 330+ volunteers were recognized at the annual City of Grande Prairie Volunteer Recognition Event for their outstanding contributions to the organization and the community.

The volunteers were involved in a wide variety of groups and roles across the organization including the Arctic Winter Games Bid Committee, Grande Prairie Museum and Homeless Initiatives, among many others.

Three awards were presented during the ceremony by Deputy Mayor Clyde Blackburn.

Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue received the 2018 Bill Bowes Volunteer Organization of the Year Award. This award recognizes volunteer organizations or foundations in Grande Prairie that have provided outstanding contributions to the community through admirable service, voluntary contributions and exemplary community development which have a direct, positive effect on the residents of Grande Prairie. For over five years Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue has provided animals in need with the care and compassion before they are adopted into their new families. The organization works 24/7 to provide this important service to our community and does so successfully while being completely volunteer run and self-funded.

Susan Thomson and Willie Braun each received the George Repka Outstanding Achievement Award. This award recognizes long-service volunteers who have significantly contributed to our community in the areas of recreation, culture or social services for over 20 years.  The award was named after George Repka, a former mayor of Grande Prairie, who himself made a significant volunteer contribution in a number of significant roles. Each year the award goes to a community member who represents a legacy of devotion to their community.

For over 30 years Susan Thomson has contributed in ways big and small to develop the vibrancy of our community, with particular focus on supporting children and celebrating culture. A teacher by profession, Thomson contributed in many roles including saving the Valhalla School from closing and mentoring the next generation of teachers through the Grande Prairie Regional College, University of Alberta and the Alberta Teachers Association. Upon retirement, Thomson remains dedicated to bringing rich, cultural experiences to the children of the Peace Region including through roles in the Destination Imagination tournament, the Northern Alberta Regional Heritage Fair, the Grande Prairie Children’s Festival, Tiny Hands of Hope and more. Thomson enriches our community in many ways and is a well-deserving recipient for carrying on the tradition of George Repka’s contribution to this city.

Willie Braun has dedicated his energy, creativity and knowledge to the community since 1985. Starting as an usher in the Alliance Church where he has served for over 25 years, Braun has expanded his volunteer roles most notably to the Grande Prairie Live Theatre and the Grande Prairie Museum. He has generously lent his construction skills to build props for community productions, and helping the museum meet its goals in terms of artifact storage, displays, special events and educational programming. His ability to restore and refine antique furniture and collectibles and his historical knowledge has enriched the museum’s programming and visitor’s experiences. Willie Braun has been an invaluable asset to this community by helping bring people together and preserving and enhancing the culture and heritage of our community for years to come, making him an excellent candidate for this award.

The City of Grande Prairie thanks each and every one of the individuals who devoted themselves to these volunteer opportunities. It is because of your support and generous contributions that we are able to offer so many successful events, programs and initiatives and make our community a great place to live, work and play.