The reeve of the MD of Willow Creek has been recognized for his contributions to community and country.
Henry Van Hierden of Fort Macleod received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“In granting you this honour, I thank you for your dedicated service to your peers, to your community, and to Canada,” Governor General of Canada David Johnston said. “The contributions you have made to our nation are most commendable and deserve our praise and admiration.”
The Diamond Jubilee medal was struck to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.
The medal was sent the municipal district’s headquarters at Claresholm by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, of which the MD of Willow Creek is a member.
MD of Willow Creek chief administrative officer Cynthia Vizzutti presented Van Hierden with the medal in a brief ceremony at the council meeting.
“I think it’s great,” said Coun. Phil Wakelin of the choice of Van Hierden for the medal. “I think he’s great. He’s always honest, he’s really good to work with. I really enjoy him.”
Born and raised in Fort Macleod, Van Hierden attended school in town before completing high school in Claresholm, graduating in 1978 from Willow Creek Composite.
Van Hierden and his wife Shannon have raised five children and have farmed in the Division 1 area of the municipality for more than 30 years.
Prior to running for council Van Hierden spent four years on the MD of Willow Creek subdivision appeals board.
Van Hierden was first elected as Division 1 councillor in October 2001 and is now in his fourth term.
Since his election Van Hierden has served on the municipal development and agricultural service boards and chaired the Willow Creek Foundation board, which manages Macleod Pioneer Lodge, Macleod Manors 1 and 2 and Chinook Arch Manor in Granum.
In 2008 Van Hierden became reeve of the municipality.
Vizzutti said Van Hierden takes seriously his role as chairman of council meetings and the leader of the municipality’s elected officials, but does not try to hog the limelight.
“He’s comfortable sharing that space,” Vizzutti said. “He doesn’t have to have the stage.”
Van Hierden brings a soft spoken, thoughtful approach to his position as reeve.
“Henry is pretty reserved but he’s not afraid to speak his mind when he has a stand on something,” Vizzutti said. “He’s a very honest and forthright person.”
Wakelin agreed that Van Hierden is a solid reeve.
“He’s always concerned about the MD and the community in general,” Wakelin said. “That’s certainly a positive thing. He’s not just worried about his area, he’s worried about the whole municipality.”
Vizzutti added that Van Hierden is fortunate to be the leader of a good group of councillors.
“They get along really well, and if they have a disagreement it’s always with respect,” Vizzutti said. “They keep their ear to the ground and listen to the ratepayers.”
Van Hierden is a member of the Fort Macleod Agricultural Society, is active in the curling club and has been a 4-H leader.
“He’s a heck of a nice guy,” Vizzutti said. “He’s a pretty solid fellow.”