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Sandra Grier selected for Open Heart Award

The Open Heart award

The Open Heart award was initiated by the Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services Authority board to commemorate Henry Potts, a former board member with a life-long commitment to cross-cultural relations. Vera Potts presents the Henry Potts Open Heart Award to Keith Grier, son of recipient the late Sandra Grier.

A Brocket woman with a great heart for her people has been presented posthumously with the Henry Potts Open Heart award.
Former Piikani Child and Family Services director Sandra Grier, who died suddenly in November 2009, was granted the award Dec. 8 in a ceremony at the Palliser Education Centre in Lethbridge.
Grier’s daughter Angela and son Keith received the award on behalf of their mother.
The presentation was an emotional one, falling as it did close to the anniversary of Grier’s passing.
“It’s a nice acknowledgment of her hard work and the kind of integrity she possessed for the betterment of kids and society in general,” Keith Grier said. “That’s what she was about. It was never about herself.”
Grier was chosen for the award because of her contribution to Piikani Social Services and Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services Authority.
The Piikani Nation was the first office in Canada to reach a tripartite health services agreement between the tribe, the province, and the federal government in 1989.
Grier had been chief negotiator of the arrangement and subsequently filled the role of director of Piikani Child and Family Services working with the Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services Authority until her death.
“Sandra Grier used her ability to translate the needs of her people into action,” Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services Authority Aboriginal co-chair Sharon Holtman said.
“She did this through the strong bonds she forged between her staff and Child and Family Services Authority staff and the whole community,” Holtman said. “Those who knew Sandra Grier knew she stood for social justice and that she had a vision for change for those in her community.” 
The Open Heart award, now in its third year, was initiated by the Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services Authority board to commemorate Henry Potts, a former board member with a life-long commitment to cross-cultural relations.
Potts’ widow Vera, who made the presentation, spoke of how privileged she felt to present the Open Heart award recognizing her late husband’s accomplishments.
At the same time Vera Potts was especially pleased that Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services Authority had chosen Sandra Grier for the award this year, since Grier had been Henry Potts’ niece.
Vera Potts reflected back on times she remembered the two being together, always organizing and driven to create change.
Henry Potts had been a prominent figure of Piikani Nation.
In addition to his involvement with Southern Alberta Child and Family Services Authority he had also been an RCMP officer, a leader in starting hockey, baseball and boxing programs for youth, a foster parent, a member of Blackfoot traditional societies, and a volunteer.
About 50 people including family, friends, colleagues and Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services Authority board and staff attended the ceremony.

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