Minister of Culture and MLA for Lacombe—Ponoka Ron Orr nominated 20 individuals throughout his constituency for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal. Medals were given to 7,000 Albertans throughout 2022 in recognition of their significant contributions to the province.
Here’s a look at some of the Lacombe—Ponoka locals who were given the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal.
Donna Abma is the founder of the Broom Tree Foundation as local café with a mandate to support women facing obstacles. Abma believes that every woman has worth and value. Her foundation makes an effort to provide refuge, restoration, and rebuilding to women and their families.
Karie Ackermann is currently the Executive Director of the Blackfalds Food Bank. She has been instrumental in rebranding the organization into the Beyond Food Community Hub becoming so much more than a food bank.
The organization has a community kitchen, they now offer a Lunch Box Program, and several other programs addressing food insecurity.
Louis Bell is an active volunteer in the Village of Clive. She has a strong passion for the Village of Clive and chaired the historical society for a number of years. She also revived the Village Newsletter, started a local Thrift Store, and continues to help out with a variety of community initiatives.
Steve Christie has filled several roles in his life including a girl’s softball coach, Chair of the Youth Advisory Council, a member of the Lacombe Rotary Club, and as a Lieutenant for the Lacombe Volunteer Fire Department.
He also served on the Lacombe City Council for 13 years and served two terms as Mayor. In these roles he has earned several awards for his work as a vice-president for the Alberta Urban Municipality Association and for his work on the North Red Deer River Waste Water Services Commission.
Ed Cole graduated from RCMP basic training in 1981 and served in the communities of Swan Hills, Spruce Grove, Valleyview, and the City of Red Deer. He now serves as Councillor for Alix and is currently serving in his second term.
Prior to the RCMP, Ed served in the Naval Reserve as a Signalman (Sea) from 1976 to 1980, and later as a CIC Officer (Sea) from 1999 to 2015, serving at Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corp Red Deer, finishing as the Commanding Officer.
Ralph Flewelling has spent 30 years on the board of the Lacombe & District Agricultural Society.
He has also been a fast ball coach in Alberta for 27 years staying involved by coaching, umping, organization tournaments, and provincial championships. He has been strongly committed to the Honey Badgers, a ladies fastball team in Red Deer for the past 10 years.
Terry Jones in a Ponoka resident with a passion for rodeo. He has served on the Ponoka Stampede Board for 42 years. Terry also started the Jones Boys Saddlery and Western Wear in 1975 which has grown to a world class store in Ponoka and Red Deer selling quality western wear and farm and feed supplies.
The Calnash Trucking Ag Event Centre in Ponoka hosts numerous year-round events and auctions and Terry has been a director for the centre over the past 10 years.
Amanda Henderson Kada
Amanda Henderson Kada is a passionate volunteer and services on numerous boards and committees including Leaders of Tomorrow, Opportunity/Halfway House, Housing & Homelessness Committee & MAT Volunteer, Kinettes Club, Ponoka Arts, Recreation and Cultural Society, Vulnerable Outreach Committee and Mental Health Advocate.
She is also the current Executive Director for the Rising Sun Clubhouse in Ponoka who works hard to create a positive atmosphere.
Riley Kay and his wife, Kim are the owners of Cilantro and Chive in Lacombe and more recently, in Red Deer.
In 2017, Riley began donating $2 from his ‘Burger of the Month’ to various charities throughout central Alberta. In 2019, he received the Citizen of the Year Award from the Lacombe Chamber.
Fred Knip has been a pastor at the Ponoka Zion Christian Fellowship for over 20 years where he led several successful Mission Trips around the world.
He has also penned 16 books in addition to a long a history of coaching football in Lacombe. He’s been coaching since 1986 and has led his teams to several league and provincial championships.
Jason Lun has been an active member of the several organizations including the Lacombe Kinsmen, Lacombe Minor Football Association, and the Lacombe Health Trust.
Following a tragic motor vehicle incident in 2011 and a diagnosis of ‘quadriplegic’ he has opened Team Jigger a organizations that provides Physiotherapy and speech-language pathology.
Jerel Peters has a passion for helping youth in central Alberta as Executive Director for Central Alberta Youth Unlimited. He is a mentor, a volunteer, and leads weekly youth events, at local camps and churches. He has also led and organized several trips locally and abroad.
Tabitha Phiri migrated to Canada with her two sons 24 years ago. Now she helps newcomers to Alberta as they face a variety of different challenges. She wants Alberta feel like home for newcomers where they can live in peace and freedom.
Two years ago, Phiri received the Diversity Award.
Pauline Prins has enjoyed an active nursing career for many years at the Lacombe Hospital. Her nursing abilities came in handy when she had to deliver a baby in a mud hut in upcountry Sierra Leone.
She has been on numerous boards and has organized several mission trips to Africa.
Pauline has taught English as a second language and has been involved with refugee resettlement within Central Alberta.
Beth Reitz is the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Ponoka, Rimbey, and Lacombe operating several programs for kids from Kindergarten to Grade 12. She has played an integral role in expanding BGC to Rimbey eight years ago and this year, in Lacombe.
Cliff and Mary Soper
Cliff and Mary Soper have be active volunteers in the community for many decades. Cliff served on Lacombe County Council from 2001 to 2003 and has always been passionate about the environment and creating natural spaces for people to enjoy.
The Mary & Cliff Soper Natural Area was donated by the Sopers in early 2017. The gifted land is approximately 25 acres, and is located east of Blackfalds.
Steve Schultz has been teaching at the Ecole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School since 1996. He mentors soccer referees and is a supporting teacher for the school’s robotics club called United Robotics of Lacombe and their environmental club called EcoVision. Both clubs has received several honours.
Steven was selected as Lacombe’s Citizen of the year in 2018 and has received the Prime Minister’s award for excellence in Teaching.
Jack Surbey is involved with several boards and committees and has also served as a councillor for the Town of Ponoka. He has a huge passion for nature and the environment and has been serving on the Board of the JJ Collett Natural Area since 1985. He is currently building an 340 foot board walk for the public to enjoy.
Dorothy Ungstad has been involved with several organizations over the years and loves to lend a helping hand when she can.
While during her over 40 years of dedicated service to the area of education she has passionately served as a Co-ordinator for Special Education, Assistant Superintendent, Director of Student Services, and in other positions with the Alberta Teacher’s Association and the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund and Alberta Retired Teachers.
Crystal Zens was the executive director for Big Brothers and Big Sisters Lacombe for 13 years where she earned several awards over the years. In 2021, Zens moved on to accept a position as the Executive Director of the Lacombe and District FCSS.
Zens has been awarded the Solicitor General of Public Safety Award for preventative programs, and nominated for the Women of Excellence Award in Human Services through the Red Deer Community Foundation.