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MLA Roger Reid presents Queen’s medals

Roger Reid had the chance last month to honour some of the people he has met in the course of his work as MLA for Livingstone-Macleod.

Reid presented Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medals during a Dec. 17 ceremony at the Claresholm Town Office.

“In this job I have had the chance to meet some very incredible people in our communities in southern Alberta,” Reid said. “It’s so nice that we have so many who have been recognized for their contributions to our communities, our province and our country.”

The platinum jubilee medal commemorates the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension to the throne as queen of Canada.

Queen Elizabeth dedicated her life to the service of Canada, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth as Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

Prior to her death, the queen said she wanted jubilee events to express a sense of togetherness and optimism about the future.

“Today’s medal recipients would rather lead than wait to be led,” Reid said. “They tackle challenges head-on, they see problems as opportunities instead of obstacles.”

Reid presented medals to Ted Menzies, Conrad Van Hierden, James and Donna Cisar, Jeremy Day Rider-Oka, Werner Dressler, Verne Lunan and Jane Ann Reimer.

Conrad Van Hierden was recognized for his longstanding commitment in Fort Macleod and district, where he serves on many boards and committees and volunteers at many events.

Reid noted that Van Hierden and his wife Rhonda have worked tirelessly in fund-raising for A-T, a rare childhood neurological disorder that causes degeneration in the part of the brain that controls motor movements and speech.

For more than two decades they have hosted the A-T Walk for a Cure, raising more than a million dollars for research. Conrad also serves on the executive of the A-T Children’s Project.

A former Fort Macleod councillor and volunteer firefighter, Lieut. Werner Dressler has served country, community and the army cadet program for many years.

“He has been passionate about the youth and is well-deserving,” Reid said. “Werner has a deep desire to mentor and challenge the youth of Fort Macleod and Indigenous youth in the area.”

Ted Menzies is a lifelong Claresholm resident who served Macleod as Member of Parliament from 2004-’13. During his time in Ottawa Menzies was parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and served as minister of state for finance and was sworn into the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. 

Menzies also served as parliamentary secretary to Josée Verner, who was serving as the minister for international co-operation, minister responsible for official languages, and minister responsible for La Francophonie. 

“Ted has been a fierce advocate for our agriculture industry and has worked to promote and protect Canadian agriculture in several professional and volunteer capacities,” Reid said. “Ted continues to support and promote agricultural issues as a member of the board of governors for Olds College.”

Verne Lunan is a Royal Canadian Naval veteran who served more than 15 years with the Royal Canadian Naval Association as a club secretary, vice-president and as president for six years and past president for three years.

“He currently has been serving as the executive secretary for RCNA National for the last three years,” Reid said.

Jim and Donna Cisar are long-time Cowley residents who have contributed to the community extensively.

Jim Cisar has served as a councillor, volunteered with the fire department, volunteers to maintain the village’s park areas, is an active member of the Cowley and District Lions Club and is always willing to volunteer for any community events.

Donna Cisar is also heavily involved in the community, maintaining the gardens and flowers at the community park and volunteering for activities at the community hall.

Reid said Jane Ann Reimer demonstrates leadership abilities through spearheading initiatives that have enhanced the vibrancy of the Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass. 

“She has contributed much to the overall well-being of the ‘Pass,” Reid said. “Her ingenuity and volunteer efforts provide opportunities for residents to gather and celebrate together while building community.”

Reid said Jeremy Day Rider was diligent as a cadet, achieving the highest possible rank of chief warrant officer and receiving several awards.

Day Rider now belongs to the Sacred Horn Society and is learning to speak Blackfoot.

“He has now become a knowledge keeper of the sacred ceremonies and protocol involved with the commitments he has made to the community,” Reid said. “He has been a leader in reconciliation. Jeremy has been a champion of teaching truth and what it means to truly reconcile.”

Medals were also presented posthumously to Dave Friesen and Ian Sundquist.

David Friesen, who dies June 10 at the age of 92, made a significant contribution to Canadian society and in his service to the RCMP.

“He pursued justice for those who suffered in silence and were dehumanized through residential school abuse,” Reid said. “He understood that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission wanted to bring us to a place where the cycle can be broken and trust can be renewed. His first steps to take us from where we were to where we stand today and will not be forgotten.”

Ian Sundquist served as an MD of Willow Creek councillor for 27 years and as a volunteer in Stavely and district for his entire life.

Reid said the Stavely Elks, Oddfellows, community library, recreation, rodeo, fund-raising events have all benefitted from Sundquist’s service.

“His service to the community is well known,” Reid said of Sundquist, who died in August.

Reid also honoured owners and employees of four independent community newspapers in his riding, including Lisa Sygutek of The Pass Herald, Shannon Peace of Pincher Creek Shootin’ the Breeze, Amanda Zimmer and Rob Vogt of Claresholm Local Press and Frank and Emily McTighe of The Macleod Gazette.

“For generations our weekly newspapers have been read and they are reliable and trustworthy sources of local, national and international news,” Reid said. “Our local papers have provided a local voice and opinions that reflect the realities and the values of our rural communities.”

Reid said the four newspapers re carrying on the tradition of keeping their readers informed and educated about important matters.

“In a world where those who choose what we see and read are more and more removed from the local community, our local weekly newspaper publishers have stood their ground and stood up for their communities,” Reid added. “I am grateful for the service that local papers continue to provide in the face of adversity in a rapidly changing media market.”

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