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Rocky View Publishing summer student says farewell

By: Andrew Szekeres

  |  Posted: Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 12:23 pm

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I feel like I have a mini fight announcer on my shoulder screaming, “AND IT’S ALL OVER” as I write this. I have spent the past 10,454,400 seconds both looking forward and dreading the 20th of August, my last day before I head back to Mount Royal University.

I started at Rocky View Publishing on the April 21st by telling you how much I just want to bring the news. I’ve gone from writing an article per month, to being expected to write anywhere from three to ten stories per week. It was a sink-or-swim experience, and sometimes I sank, other times I swam as fast as I could write.

I spent the majority of my time here between Airdrie, Irricana, Beiseker, Chestermere, Crossfield and Langdon. If there was one thing I can take away from this experience is that these Alberta communities are so unique in their own way.

In Chestermere, I saw a booming town that doesn’t accept being a bedroom community for Calgary region. Instead I saw a Town building and improving its infrastructure to become one of the fastest growing Alberta municipalities.

The Pete Knight Days in Crossfield brought some of the most interesting characters I’ve seen in Alberta, in an awesome way. I saw girls tougher than steel bang against each other in roller derby…and act like a broken ankle is just a flesh wound. I saw a stay-at-home mom run an entire Farmers’ Market as if it was just a hobby.

Then there’s Langdon, a hamlet going though a substantial growth spurt. I saw Chrissy Craig of the Langdon Community Association never once complain, despite the playground being vandalized, Craig brushed it off and with the help of some volunteers, opened it on time.

Beiseker may not be the biggest place on my list and on the edge of Rocky View County, its certainly not the closest. But it is a functioning, independent Village that is impeccably proud of their history, and rightly so.

Mayor Ray Courtman can tell you just about anything that has happened in Beiseker since the Town took its name from Thomas Beiseker (thank-you Ray) back in the 1900’s.

I met volunteers with the fire department – some of whom drive all the way from Calgary – who just wanted to serve the County in a bigger way. Then there’s councillor Warren Wise, who seemed to be at every municipal event that Beiseker had to offer. Each meeting Wise had an entire list of things he wanted to cover, from wanting to find a permanent solution to that rage inducing swale on Seventh Street and Second Street to finding out what is going on with the Bassano station.

I saw Irricana with a new council, new mayor and a new CAO trying to help grow the Town. But it was Cathy O’Donoghue who stole the show. Never wanting to take the full credit on any project she did, O’Donoghue will certainly be missed when she leaves community services.

In Airdrie, I got to see how devoted the public library was to improving readership and community amongst Airdrie’s youngest citizens. I also saw Nicole Haacke welcome Japanese exchange students to her family as if they were her own and give them the best experience possible.

I saw Mayor Peter Brown attend just about every fundraiser and community event possible. But unlike some other mayors, Brown never separated himself from the public, he tried to interact with the crowd as much as possible.

This job has given me the opportunity to open my eyes and grow as a writer. Whatever is next on my list of jobs, I know that I can never fully appreciate the experience that my colleagues, editors, publishers have given me. I also know that much of this wouldn’t be possible without the people I met along the way. So to you I finish by saying thank you.


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