Here are the winners for the Olds Institute Citizens of the Year announced at the 2016 Rotary Harvest Ball on Saturday October 29, 2016 in Olds AB.
Citizen of the Year – Donna Smith
Donna is a committed volunteer who has dedicated her time to the Olds Regional Exhibition for over forty years. She was the Livestock Chairman for the Fair & Rodeo and volunteered for numerous special events. She was the lead caterer in all of the ORE’s catering and concession opportunities.
In 2011 Donna was declared a lifetime member of the ORE.
Since 2014 Donna has acted as the ORE’s Farmer’s Market – Manager working with a diverse group of vendors to create a weekly market assuring that the market showcases food and crafts from local entrepreneurs.
She has been actively involved in fundraising initiatives with Wild Pink Yonder and the Rotary Harvest Ball. She was also a “Lead” between the Mountain View 4-H District and the Kiwanis Club of Olds for the annual 4-H District level speak offs.
Donna was a leader with the Eagle 4-H Club, past Chairman of the Harmattan Community association, past Chairman of the Calgary Stampede Beef Cattle Committee and a Member of the Strategic Planning committee for Stampede Cattle Trail.
Donna’s volunteer commitment includes a variety of ORE tasks, catering meals at the Harmattan Community Center, event planning with the Stampede Beef Cattle Committee and assisting with local 4-H clubs.
Donna has also instilled her sense of volunteer responsibilities in family members who carry on her tradition with local and regional involvement in non-profit organizations.
Youth Citizen of the Year – Emily Vandermeer
While attending Olds High School Emily was a giving student with a desire to make a change by using her initiative to get things done. She joined the Interact Club in grade seven and performed many roles including chairing the banquet committee for two years.
Emily took part in the Olds Institute’s Connected Community Cyber Seniors project as a mentor and used her passion to help promote the project on campus.
She sought funding for the Gowns 4 Grads concept from the Interact Club and worked on programming the event which she co-hosted at the Trans-Canada Theatre in Olds.
Emily promoted the concept of Fair Trade at the high school and sought funding for an agricultural project in Namibia organized by a local resident.
As a connection between Rotary Club and the school, Emily attended the Rotary Youth Leaders in Action program and brought back many good ideas to the Interact club.
Some of the many activities Emily has taken part in were: a mentoring program at the Olds High School, she co-founded the Spring into Summer event to raise money for Kindness Matters Foundation, sh e has tutored middle school classes at E’cole Deer Meadow, raised awareness for the Anonymous Good Olds project and took a leadership role at the Alberta Schools Leadership Conference.
Thanks to Emily’s infectious smile and personality combined with her innate leadership skills the Olds Institute is proud to name her the Youth Citizen of the Year for 2016.
Humanitarian of the Year – Elsie Machell
Elsie works selflessly in many ways in the community, and has done so for many years. Even while raising a family of five she has found the time to volunteer in our community..
She is a long standing member of the Hospital Auxiliary, calling BINGO for the long term care patients, serving at special teas and working in the tuck shop. As one of the main workers at the hospital gardens, she strives to create beauty for the patients.
She is known to add cheer to her Meals on Wheel deliveries and sits on the board of that organization.
Elsie notices things that need doing around the Lutheran church in Olds and quietly does many jobs without calling attention to herself. She always volunteers to deliver Christmas baking to church members who no longer are able to do their own baking. She also plants and tends the flower beds at the Lutheran church in Olds.
Every winter she helps out by making quilts for the Mustard Seed, the Women’s shelter and Lutheran World Action. She spends many hours visiting those who need a friend, particularly seniors.
Elsie believes that music can enrich our lives and she sings in the community choir and has also volunteers at the local music festival .
Elsie is not one to call attention to herself and she is very humble about the things she does in our community and has truly earned the Olds Institute’s Humanitarian of the Year award.