Caught in the Act shares the stories of outstanding Volunteers in our community and their work with the organizations that nominated them. We hope in sharing these stories we inspire others to volunteer and show the importance of volunteerism.


Michelle Sutley Nominated by Spinal Cord Injury Alberta

Michelle Sutley - Caught in the ActWhen meeting Michelle Sutley for the first time at the Spinal Cord Injury Alberta office, located at the Eastlink Centre, she was hard at work writing a letter to Chris Warkentin, M.P. for Grande Prairie – Mackenzie, about Accessible Canada, which promotes equality, services, and initiatives related to accessibility and persons with disabilities.  Michelle has a long association with SCI Alberta, and after volunteering at the QEII Hospital after 91/2 years, visiting patients with Alberta Health Services, Michelle was asked if she was interested at volunteering for SCI Alberta.  Already a weekly visitor to the office to use their special computer equipment Michelle agreed and now picks up and delivers the organizations mail every week.  She also volunteers with the Wolverines Wheelchair Basketball Association located next door.

Michelle’s volunteer work is more than just getting the mail. Speaking with Mieke de Groot, SCI Alberta’s Regional Program Coordinator and Team Lead, she says, ”Michelle offers a subtle form of community development”; de Groot states, “Michelle is a good Self-Advocate and her presence at the Eastlink Centre helps to break down barriers by engaging the staff & patrons and by creating awareness of life with spinal cord injuries.” Michelle enjoys her time interacting and meeting new people at the Eastlink Centre, she likes the feeling of self-worth and independence helping others and raising awareness gives her. 

Read more: Caught in the Act - Michelle Sutley

Petey the Dog Nominated by Bear Creek Funeral Home

CIA Petey

It’s not uncommon to see volunteers and their therapy dogs visiting senior homes, hospitals and care centres, helping ease the pain and loneliness the residents and patients face there.  A new growing trend is finding these animals in funeral homes helping those dealing with the loss of a loved one and easing the stress of planning the final arrangements and saying goodbye.  At Bear Creek Funeral Home, located here in Grande Prairie, this role is filled by their resident comfort dog Petey.

Over a year ago, Doug and Eunice Friesen, the owners of Bear Creek Funeral Home were thinking about getting a dog but with opening a new business and working long hours it did not seem possible.  Then the idea struck that if they could find the right canine, the animal could not only enrich their home life but also help benefit the grieving customers at work. Upon a visit to the SPCA they found a Staffordshire-Terrier mix, who seemed to match what they were looking for.  After having SPCA staff bring him out to the reception area at the shelter to see how he acted with strangers coming and going.  The Friesens saw he had the right personality and was perfect for both their home and organization so they decided to adopt Petey.

Read more: Caught in the Act - Petey the Dog

Meg Archer and Molly - Nominated By St. John Ambulance

ciaMegMolly9 years ago, while grocery shopping at Safeway, Meg Archer noticed a St. John Ambulance poster looking for Therapy Dog volunteers.  Looking for a way to give back to her community and believing her dog Molly would be perfect for Therapy Dog, she contacted St. John Ambulance.  After a handler only orientation and then evaluation of herself and Molly, they qualified to be part of the program and the duo started volunteering. The program varies across Canada, based on community need and the availability of volunteers. Therapy Dogs and their handlers with St. John Ambulance in our area normally offer comfort and companionship to the sick, lonely and those in need of a friendly visit at senior residences and care home facilities.

Read more: Caught in the Act - Meg A. & Molly


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