Airdrie residents encouraged to nominate outstanding volunteers
Airdronians have the chance to nominate outstanding community members for the Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards, a volunteer recognition initiative organized by the Government of Alberta.
Two awards will be handed out in the youth, adult and senior categories on International Volunteer Day hosted on Dec. 5. The nomination deadline for the award is Sept. 16.
One Airdronian who will be up for the award is Lise Blanchette.
Blanchette works at the Bethany Care Centre in Airdrie, and was nominated by Volunteer Airdrie, a community organization run by Marilyne Aalhus.
“She’s just phenomenal in her work,” Aalhus said. “She sits on a handful of boards within our city and within Calgary. She really is a phenomenal asset.”
Blanchette first started volunteering in 1985 at a hospital in Calgary at 12 years old. Being bilingual, Blanchette would read to patients whose first language was French.
“It was a very rewarding experience,” she said. “They felt very isolated, not being able to speak English.”
Blanchette’s father was in the military, and taught her about serving the community. Her early volunteer experience and community-serving spirit stuck with her as she grew up. Today, Blanchette volunteers 10 to 12 hours a week and will be nominated in the adult category.
“One of the things we always learnt (from her father) was to get involved,” she said. “That’s how you got to know your community, that’s how you support your community.”
Blanchette is on the board for Propellus (previously Volunteer Calgary) and the Airdrie District and Hospice Society. She’s involved with the 2014 Alberta Summer Games and is the coordinator for volunteers at the Bethany Care Centre. She has also been on the Airdrie Food Bank board since 2007.
“I have a passion for all the causes (I’m involved with) and I believe in them, or I wouldn’t be there,” she said. “It’s very rewarding, knowing that you’ve been able to make some change.”
Aalhus said Blanchette is an example of how getting involved can strengthen the community.
“I don’t think a community could really be the same without our volunteers,” she said. “We take huge pride in the fact that Airdrie has such a huge group that enhances our community. Volunteers are the backbone of a great community.”
Since the Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards began in 2000, 83 Alberta volunteers have been recognized. Barb Toker with Alberta Culture Communications said it was important to recognize volunteers in the community to pay tribute to their contributions.
“Volunteers across the province are helping to deliver the kind of (experience) that really enhance the quality of life,” Toker said. “This program really just recognizes those efforts. To nominate someone is a good way to say thank you.”
For more information or to nominate a volunteer, visit