The Grande Prairie Regional Association of Volunteer Organizations launched the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2009. The award honours an extraordinary individual living in the Grande Prairie region for their volunteer contributions in the most recent twelve-month period for their considerable impact within the community.
In 2013 we added the Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award to recognize a company or business that, through its staff and policies supporting volunteerism, created an impact on a not-for-profit organization(s) in the last twelve months.
Along with the Volunteer of the Year Awards, the Association presents the Outstanding Citizens of the Year Awards. These awards pay tribute to individuals, groups and businesses who have improved the quality of life in the community through volunteer work. Nominations for the Awards open late August early September.
The Volunteer of the Year Awards are presented at our annual International Volunteer Day Celebration Breakfast in December.
The Individual Volunteer of the Year Award is sponsored by Servus Credit Union and the Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award is sponsored by the Prairie Mall.
The 2023 Volunteer of the Year Awards Recipients are:
2023 Volunteer of the Year - Leonard Auger
Leonard Auger is the deserving recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award. Len’s passion for helping others shows in his volunteer work. He has been instrumental in ensuring that the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre is well known in the community it serves. Len goes above and beyond to communicate the center’s mission, making sure everyone is aware of the vital work they do. A true leader, Len extends his hand with love and humility, embracing everyone, regardless of who they are.
Len’s dedication to Indigenous history is admirable. He actively contributes to the realization of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, turning words into meaningful actions. Len has become a powerful advocate, using his platform to speak about the importance of acknowledging and addressing historical injustices.
Len’s commitment to environmental sustainability is reflected in his recent appointment to the National Green Initiatives Committee. His knowledge of the land and dedication to keeping Mother Earth healthy highlight the relationship between Indigenous wisdom and environmental stewardship.
Len’s influence extends across various committees. He serves as the chair for the Community Advisory Board committee with the City of Grande Prairie, the Chair on the GPRH Indigenous Committee, and a member on the Indigenization committee at NW Polytechnic. His involvement also extends to the Alberta Health Quality Council Patient and Family Advisory Board and the Alberta Native Friendship Centre Green Initiative Committee. In addition to his committee leadership roles, Len is actively involved in mentoring students in the district High Schools.
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Leonard Auger for being the Volunteer of the Year, a title truly earned through his tireless dedication and meaningful contributions to the betterment of our community.
2023 Corporate Volunteer of the Year – MNP LLP
The Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award is a prestigious recognition of a business that has notably improved community life through exceptional volunteer work. This year, we are proud to honor MNP LLP Grande Prairie as the recipient of this award. Their dedication to social responsibility and community engagement has set a high standard in the Grande Prairie area.
MNP LLP Grande Prairie, under the leadership of Kory Brazel, has shown remarkable commitment not just through financial contributions but through active, hands-on involvement. Their work with various organizations, including Bandaged Paws, highlights their direct impact, from caring for animals to assisting in maintenance tasks.
Their partnership with Big Country for initiatives like “Spread the Community Support” has brought tangible benefits to organizations such as PARDS and the Centre for Young Parents – Project Thrift Shop. Whether painting hurdle posts or supporting thrift shops, their efforts have significantly aided local non-profits.
Moreover, MNP LLP’s collaboration with the United Way Alberta Northwest Tools for School Program in August exemplifies their commitment to addressing critical social issues. By preparing backpacks for underprivileged children, they have ensured a more equitable start to the school year for many.
MNP LLP Grande Prairie’s approach to corporate volunteering—embracing hands-on participation and fostering strong relationships with the community—has not only addressed vital needs but has also strengthened the social fabric of Grande Prairie. Their model of corporate citizenship is an inspiration, demonstrating the profound impact businesses can have through dedicated volunteerism.
2023 Outstanding Citizen of the Year Awards
Cindy Huber is an exceptional individual who connects with people in a group, building trust with those who are hesitant to open up. Her unwavering commitment to the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre and the One Window Resource program has touched the lives of homeless individuals, bringing hope and warmth to those often met with indifference. Her dedication has challenged and reshaped community perceptions, earning her a 2023 Outstanding Citizen Award
Rob is a dedicated and inspiring figure in the community, known for his contributions to the Grande Prairie Curling Centre. He has coached, mentored, and promoted curling for people of all ages and skill levels. Rob’s leadership skills were on full display when he led the Myker junior team to a silver medal at the U15 Provincial Championships. For his outstanding contributions, we are proud to present Rob with the Outstanding Citizen Award. Congratulations, Rob, on this well-deserved recognition.
Pat Cooke is a dedicated and selfless community leader with a service record spanning four decades. She has provided leadership on various boards, highlighting her dedication to the broader welfare of the province. Her two-decade-long devotion to seniors’ outreach reflects her compassionate nature, making her a beloved figure among the senior community. Pat is a staunch advocate for restorative justice and has been pivotal in transforming the lives of many youths in the Peace Region. Her lasting impact on the community is rooted in her personal qualities; her selfless actions and firm belief in the greater good inspire countless others. Pat Cooke stands out as an exemplary recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Citizen Award, reflecting the essence of true community spirit.
Shelly Sheen is an exemplary leader who has helped usher the South Peace Centennial Museum Society into the contemporary era. As President, she has built a robust foundation for risk management procedures and demonstrated balanced judgment, inspiring those around her. Shelly Sheen’s contribution is a service to the museum & a gift of enduring value to the community. Shelly’s ethical and pragmatic leadership deserves the 2023 Outstanding Citizen Award.
Kleskun Hill Museum Society Volunteers
Five participants are sharing an award for their unique commitment to their community. Jim and Maxine Robertson are the President and Director of the Kleskun Hill Museum Society, Gary is the Treasurer, and Marlaine and Lynne are also involved. Gary is also the President of The Golden Years Club of Bezanson, and Jim, Marlaine, and Maxine serve on the board. These passionate volunteers also lend their support to the local Legion.
When asked about their reasons for volunteering, one recipient mentioned watching the previous generation of volunteers and how they were aging out with infirmities and requirements for assisted living. He felt it was time for the younger generation to step up and take their place. Another recipient has volunteered since high school, organizing fundraisers, helping with blood donor clinics, and volunteering as a sports coach. He said that volunteering gives him a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, knowing he is helping his community.
The dedication of our non-profit groups is unsurpassed, especially when recognizing their assistance in preserving our cultural assets and heritage sites and ensuring that our rural communities are vibrant, sustainable, and have a terrific quality of life.
Grande Prairie Senior’s Outreach
The Grande Prairie Seniors Outreach, led by Executive Director Sherry Dennis, has won the 2023 Outstanding Citizen Award for its exceptional community service. The agency excels in volunteer engagement and management, providing essential services like senior-centered planning, senior abuse prevention, and Meals on Wheels. Volunteers help with tasks like snow shovelling for seniors’ homes, reflecting the organization’s commitment to understanding and addressing the needs of the elderly. Sherry’s leadership is notable for her commitment and organizational skills, efficiently managing multiple projects while showing deep appreciation for the volunteers’ efforts.