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Foothills MP John Barlow presents eight Fort Macleod residents with Canada 150 medals

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Fort Macleod residents who received Canada 150 medals were, from left: Marjorie Hart, Angie O’Connor, Conrad Van Hierden, Rhonda Van Hierden, Brenden Grant and Dianna Wakelin. Missing from the photo are Alice Van Driesten and Susan Simpson.

Emotions spilled over June 29 when Foothills MP John Barlow presented Canada 150 medals to people from his constituency.
Barlow was also struck by the strong emotions that were prominent during the ceremony at the Highwood Memorial Centre in High River.
“It was such a moving evening,” Barlow said. “The feedback from people has been beyond my expectations. There were tears from recipients, and so many people were moved by the stories of all those who were honoured. I think it was truly inspiring.”
Fort Macleod recipients were Angie O’Connor, Brendan Grant, Marjorie Hart, Susan Simpson, Alice Van Driesten, Conrad Van Hierden, Rhonda Van Hierden and Dianna Wakelin,
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of confederation Barlow earlier called for nominations for the special medals.
Barlow set out to recognize outstanding volunteers, community builders, artists and athletes through presentation of the medals.
Mission accomplished, according to the member of parliament for the federal Foothills riding.
“There are so many great individuals who call southern Alberta home, who give so much of themselves to make our communities better,” Barlow said at the medal presentation.
“Tonight is about honouring you, our community builders who sacrifice so much through your tireless efforts, of your time and your hard work.”
Barlow said the people being honoured serve their communities without any expectation of recognition, doing it because of a passion for, and love of, their communities.
Barlow called most of the recipients of the Canada 150 medals personally.
“It was amazing when I spoke to you many of you said, ‘Oh no, this is isn’t me, there is someone more deserving,’ or, ‘I do not deserve this, are you sure it is for me?'”
“You do not do what you do for the accolades or the recognition,” Barlow told recipients “You are so humble. You do what you do because you love your friends, neighbours, family and community. You do it to give back, you do it because it is the right thing to do.”
Barlow said residents of the Foothills riding benefit from the efforts of the medal recipients.
“You make Foothills what it is,” Barlow said. “The people in this room make Canada the country that it is, the best country in the world to work, live, and raise a family. A country that is strong, proud and free.”
“Congratulations to all of our winners, to all those who were nominated, which is also an incredible honour, and you should all be proud of what you have achieved because I know we are proud of you.”
The following descriptions were provided of the Fort Macleod medal recipients.
Brendan Grant
Brendan Grant has been volunteering with the A-T Walk for 18 years. He helps with organization and set-up. Three years ago Brendan started an A-T bike rally with 53-kilometre and 80-kilometre routes. Brendan lives in Fort Macleod with his wife Lindsay and their two children. Brendan is also involved in the Alliance Church board and his community.
Marjorie Hart
Nothing is ever too much for Marjorie Hart. She was a music teacher for over 60 years and over the course of her career she inspired many students and citizens to partake in the joy of music. On top of her musical contributions, she organized numerous school reunions, picnics, bake sales, and teas. Marjorie has conducted and played for many choirs including the Rotary Carol Festival, Centennial Singers, and the Order of the Eastern Star. She regularly shares her gift of music by volunteering to play for residents of Extendicare and Rosewood Villa. Marjorie always has a smile and a warm greeting for everyone she meets.
Angie O’Connor
Angie O’Connor is the director at Fort Macleod and District Family and Community Support Services. Angie is the go to person if you need something accomplished. She is very involved with the Community Crime Prevention Advisory Committee, Meals on Wheels, and Rotary Club. Volunteering is her passion. Angie assists with grant applications for numerous community organizations. The community of Fort Macleod is very fortunate to have Angie as an advocate and support person.
Susan Simpson
Susan was the director of the Kids First Family Centre for eight years. Kids First Family Centre has expanded from a one person staff to a seven person operation with many volunteers. Under Susan’s lead, the organization has been successful in receiving many grants for increased programming for the community. The centre was able to partner with Livingstone Range School Division and be co-located ensuring long term sustainability. Susan provided her support and participation on many community committees with her work such as the Affordable Housing Committee, Drug Coalition, and Early Child Development Coalition and Interagency group. She was a community volunteer member on the Willow Creek Community Adult Learning Council and the Fort Macleod Library Board.
Alice Van Driesten
Alice Van Driesten has been volunteering for the A-T Children’s project for 18 years. She is very committed to raising awareness and funds for the rare genetic disease. Her energy and commitment has played an enormous role in the success of the annual A-T Walk held at the Hill Top Dairy Farm. She is an exceptional fund-raiser who believes in the cause she has committed herself to. Alice has also served on the youth justice committee in Fort Macleod which encourages young first time offenders to complete community service to avoid charges.
Rhonda and Conrad Van Hierden
Rhonda and Conrad Van Hierden are two hard-working individuals. They have been the host of the A-T Walk for 18 years and are organizing the 19th year. Both have dedicated multiple hours to planning and organizing their event which draws about 400 to 500 people. Without the support and involvement from Rhonda and Conrad, the A-T Walk would not run as smooth as it has. On top of that, Rhonda and Conrad assist with planning a golf tournament, Rare Disease Day, and a pancake breakfast all in support of the A-T Children’s Project.
Dianna Wakelin
Dianna Wakelin has been active in the Fort Macleod community since she moved here with her husband Phil. They operate a rural bed and breakfast and consistently share with their guest’s information about all the amazing nearby sites and attractions. Dianna has been president, past president, and the director on the Empress Theatre Society. This group operates one of the oldest running theatres in western Canada. She has been treasurer of the Fort Macleod Crime Prevention Committee since its start in 2005. This also revitalized the Rural Crime Watch Committee which she is also the treasurer. Dianna is an active curler and has been part of the committees with the Fort Macleod Curling Club.

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