Submitted by Christina Hovde, Summer Student –Heritage Museum
Christina Hovde accepted the challenge provided by reporter, Barry McDonald to ‘partner’ in the following article. Christina is currently working as a summer student at the Wetaskiwin and District Heritage Museum. She recently graduated from MacEwan University with a Bachelor's Degree in English and will be pursuing a Public Relations Diploma in the fall.
On Friday, June 15th, 2014 it became official. Lorraine and Mervyn Arnold were named Mr. and Mrs. Pioneer of the year by the Wetaskiwin and District Heritage Museum. In keeping with the weekend’s theme of Civic Pride, the couple was honoured for their unwavering commitment to volunteer projects such as Communities in Bloom, teaching adults in Maskwacis, and fundraising for cancer causes. An exhibit representing the Arnolds’ numerous community projects was set up for guests’ viewing pleasure. Amidst a crowd of 90 friends, family, previous Pioneers of the Year, and museum staff and volunteers, Lorraine and Mervyn were presented with the Pioneer of the Year trophy and individual plaques of appreciation. Saturday morning the Arnolds led the city parade riding in a 1929 Model A Ford supplied and driven by Rod Doupe.
The Wetaskiwin and District Heritage Museum has hosted The Pioneer of the Year award ceremony for the past sixteen years. Museum manager Karen Aberle explained, “The Pioneer of the Year is chosen from a pool of nominations. Picking just one is never an easy decision. In fact, this year, the Museum found it so difficult they chose to award the honored title to two individuals, Lorraine and Mervyn Arnold. This is the first time in the sixteen years of awarding the title, that it has been bestowed upon more than one person.”
Celebrating community spirit and citizen involvement
On Saturday, June 14th the Heritage Museum hosted a second day of celebrating community spirit and citizen involvement. Approximately 65 people were in attendance to recognize volunteers who have made contributions to the advancement and beautification of the City and County. Forty-nine volunteers from all facets of the City were nominated by their peers.
Eighteen of the nominees were in attendance on June 14th and presented with certificates of appreciation by Museum CEO Sylvia Larson, Museum president Kathy Lund, and Museum manager Karen Aberle. CEO Sylvia Larson laughingly suggested, “There were even more volunteers who were unable to attend our ceremony. They were too busy volunteering (at other venues as part of the Summer Showcase celebration).” She remarked that the 49 volunteers that were nominated illustrate the remarkable amount of community involvement within Wetaskiwin.
Youth were also provided an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to community spirit and citizen involvement by participating in a children’s art contest. All artwork featured favourite aspects of the new Main Street. Clare Smallboy (Grade 5) was awarded with 25 dollars and a certificate of achievement for winning the art contest. The art will be on display for one week beginning June 14th.
A slide show presentation depicting the evolution of Main Street from 1897 to present concluded the ceremony. One of the attendees stated, “The slide show was very interesting. I had seen many of the pictures before, but there were also many I hadn’t seen. I learned a lot that I didn’t know about Wetaskiwin’s history.”
The Heritage Museum thanks all who joined in the weekend’s festivities to celebrate Mervyn, Lorraine, Clare, and the countless additional volunteers that better the lives of their neighbours and their communities.