PRINCE ALBERT — Prince Albert citizens involved in improving daily life for people in their communities were awarded medals of two kinds last month: the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.
The Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal was established in 1995 to recognize volunteers with exceptional community involvement. Jeanette Eddolls and Dale Ebert received the medal April 26 in a ceremony at Government House in Regina. It was presented by Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield.
Eddolls said she was stunned when she found out.
“I really gain a lot personally through meaningful connections with others. I believe in community development and working alongside others. I believe that we are all our brothers’ keepers. There is much need in our society. If I can do something to assist others, I may be a contributor to making a person more comfortable, at peace, and then I may have accomplished something meaningful. It is about connecting with others.”
Throughout the years, Eddolls has been involved with many programs and associations, including the Tutor Learner Connections Program, the Prince Albert Food Bank, Catholic Family Services, St. Michael Community School Operation Christmas Store, and the Spruce Home Activity Centre. She works with literacy training and foreign exchange students, and distributes quilts to shelters and daycare centres. In 2003 she travelled to Ghana as an educational volunteer for Project Overseas.
Ebert, a retired teacher, also received the Saskatchewan Volunteer Award. A Knights of Columbus member since 1961, his volunteerism spans local, provincial and national associations. He has been a member and president of both the Saskatoon West School Division Teachers Association and the Herbert School Division Teachers Association. As a resident of Wakaw, he worked with the Wakaw School Division Teachers’ Negotiating Committee and Sports Committee. He was a member of the Wakaw Curling Club executive and coached the Wakaw School girls curling team.
He served on the boards of Prince Albert’s KIN Enterprise and the Canadian Association for Community Living. He volunteered for Prince Albert Victim Services and comforted terminal patients for the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region.
The Saskatchewan Order of Merit acknowledges individuals who have made their mark in agriculture, the arts, business, industry, community leadership, public service, research and volunteer service. It takes precedence over all other provincial honours and awards.
Isabelle Impey, social worker and child advocate in Prince Albert, received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit from the Lieutenant Governor May 24 in Regina. Known for her gentle nature, Impey has “provided leadership and service to her community and beyond in the areas of culture, family life, justice, education and the alleviation of poverty” according to her biography on the Government of Saskatchewan website.
An indigenous elder and advocate for women and children, she was a major contributor in founding and implementing the Opikinawasowin (Opik) child welfare dispute resolution process, which over 100 families have chosen to use. Opik has a high success rate in bringing families back together.
Impey co-ordinates the Opik Elders Council, whose members form the Opik Dispute Resolution Hearings. She helped build Interval House, the first women’s safe shelter in Prince Albert, and is a major organizer for the annual Prince Albert Community Christmas Dinner which provides meals to those in need on Christmas Day.
In 2009, she received the Aboriginal Women of Distinction Award. She is involved in organizations that provide resources to those in need, including First Nations and Métis child advocacy, Second Harvest programs, Prince Albert Aid to the Homeless and Hungry, and the West Flat Community Centre.
According to the Government of Saskatchewan website, Saskatchewan has the highest rate of volunteerism in Canada.