What ties a community together?

Triumph and tragedy in just a couple of days…

What ties a community together? Geography, shared experience, common goals, beliefs, relationship, love or all of the above?

For the past three years I have had the amazing opportunity to serve as the MLA for Drayton Valley-Devon and one of the recurring themes of this job has been community. I grew up in cities like Regina, Toronto, Edmonton but after living in Drayton Valley for 30 plus years, having taught, coached and raised a family in this constituency and now as the MLA I have come to treasure the sense of community that surrounds me.

It has been such a pleasure to be invited into each of the special communities that make up this constituency. Sometimes the “communities” revolve around town life and it has been so amazing to see that each town has its own cast of characters, history, sets of relationships and character. At other times the “communities” revolve around faith or a shared immigrant experience or culture.

This past week was dominated by two events that have had me reflecting on the communities that make up this amazing constituency.

On Friday April 13th, 2018 I had the opportunity to attend the Black Gold Celebration of the Arts at the Winspear Center in Edmonton. Black Gold School Division is part of the constituency and it has been my pleasure to get to know some of the teachers, administrators, trustees and students as part of my job. I was so impressed with the evening and I experienced education at its best. You could clearly see the results of superb teaching and engaged students in all of the fine arts disciplines. Photography, Art, Video, Drama, Vocal and Instrumental music were all highlighted throughout the evening. The evening was filled with creative, funny and engaging performances and works of art. I walked away inspired and grateful for the educational community and its efforts to provide the foundation our young people will need to take into the future.

The second event was much more sobering but none the less important as together the constituency grieved over the deaths of so many young Alberta hockey players. I’m sure like most of you I was horrified when I first heard about the crash but it took a little time for me to process that this bus crash in Saskatchewan was going to hit so close to home. Two of the Humboldt hockey players Tobin Parker and Tyler Smith played with the Drayton Valley Thunder last year, a third player, Logan Hunter was born in Drayton Valley and when I attended the memorial service in Edmonton a former pastor from Drayton Valley – Pastor Doug Hale officiated at the service of Stephen Wack. While grief drew us together it was love, the love of family, the immediate family, the hockey family, the national family and the family of faith that brought a measure of healing and hope.

That is one of the best things about living in the Drayton Valley-Devon Constituency – we live in community, in all of its diversity we are drawn together as we raise and educate our children and when we tearfully say good bye.

Mark Smith is MLA for the Drayton Valley-Devon constituency and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.

Just Posted

Mulhurst Daze coming up at Pigeon Lake Aug. 4

Parade, show and shine, market and more at Mulhurst Bay

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff’s vehicles were also involved in the collision that closed down one lane

Questions before borrowing for the farm

Every farmer has a different tolerance for debt

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate theft of almost $140,000 value in Millet

Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to past break and enter at a rural Wetaskiwin property

Writer says ‘New Debt Party’ needs to come back to reality

New pipeline projects doomed to failure if government involved

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Stettler hosts antique tractor pull

Participants come from across Alberta

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

WATCH: Joe Hittel is the number one fundraiser in Northern Alberta for Rope for Hope

Hittel of Red Deer raised $14,000 for Make A Wish event

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Watch: Westerner Days in full swing

The heat and the thunderstorms didn’t stop anybody

Most Read