Volunteer leaders honoured with Caring Canadian Award

Six longstanding Alberta volunteers were recognized at a Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award ceremony hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta at Government House.

“Each of these outstanding Albertans has offered a lifetime of dedicated service,” said His Honour Col. (Ret’d) the Honourable Donald S. Ethell. “They have quietly and compassionately gone about the work of building better communities for us all. On behalf of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, I’m pleased to be able to offer sincere thanks for their great work.”

Since its creation in 1995, over 1300 volunteers from across Canada have received the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, including 103 from Alberta. The award recognizes those who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad. Often working behind the scenes, these individuals volunteer their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens.  Additional details about the award, including information on how to submit a nomination, are at www.gg.ca/caring.

Recipient award citations - August 28, 2012 ceremony, Edmonton

Gloria Aaron (Edmonton)
For 57 years, Gloria Aaron volunteered for the Edmonton Symphony Society, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Canadian Cancer Society. She undertook whatever job was called for, from helping to organize educational initiatives and rummage sales, to visiting cancer patients or making sandwiches. With great determination, she has helped graciously and tirelessly to provide support to her community.

Dennis Anderson (Edmonton)
For 40 years, Dennis Anderson has been a mental health advocate who has designed programs that help and support people with mental illnesses. He is the founder of the Alberta Alliance on Mental Health and Mental Illness, an umbrella organization that gathers all professionals and non-profit organizations together. He created the Chimo project, which uses pets in the treatment of people with mental illness.

Margaret Day (Edmonton)
Margaret Day has volunteered for numerous organizations in her community. She is known most particularly for being one of the founders and promoters of the Londonderry Community League of Edmonton. Since 1968, this organization has sustained and developed social, recreational and sporting activities for families and youth.

Ralph Jespersen (Stony Plain)
Ralph Jespersen has been a strong pillar and leader in his community for over 50 years. He has been directly involved in the preservation of the cultural legacy of Stony Plain and is a founding member of the Heritage Agricultural Society. He has been a researcher, director, tour guide and a storyteller for the Multicultural Heritage Center. He also represented different local organizations at the provincial level. He is considered the Ambassador of his region by his peers.

Allan R. Johnston (Big Valley)
For over 45 years, Allan R. Johnston has planned, led, organized and compiled everything that involves heritage in the village of Big Valley. A community leader, he has been the driving force and the glue behind the Big Valley Historical Society. He worked very hard to preserve the buildings and the railroads of the region that today are important to the local tourism economy. He is a dedicated and passionate volunteer who has protected a historical legacy that is now available for future generations.

Reta Pettit (Sherwood Park)
For many years, Reta Pettit has been volunteering for numerous organizations. She prepared and served meals and filled food hampers at her local food bank. She planted flowers in her neighbourhood. She taught English to newcomers through her church. For the Canadian Cancer Society, she drove over 13,000 kilometers for rural cancer patients. She volunteered for many festivals. She participated in international housing projects with Habitat for Humanity and helped a project that raised thousands of dollars for grandmothers in Africa, to raise public awareness of the plight of children left orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.

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Media inquiries, contact:
Janet Resta
Communications Officer, Office of the Lieutenant Governor
780-427-9222