Group photo of 2022 Strathcona County's Award of Excellence recipients

Agricultural Leadership

Ardelle McPherson
Ardelle is the Executive Director of the Josephburg Agricultural Society. She is the mastermind behind many JAS projects. Her involvement in events and programs such as Josephburg Riding Club, Christmas in the Heartland, Farm Smarts Safety Camp, the Classic Cattle Show, and her updating of the JAS community cookbook make her a powerhouse in the community. One of Ardelle’s biggest achievements in our community is the Farm Smarts Safety Camp. Ardelle’s drive and dedication were also an inspiration to others during some of the hardest months of the pandemic. Ardelle’s hard work led to an exemption for 4-H projects across the province. Ardelle also appealed to Strathcona County by putting together a video with presenters that showcased Strathcona County in the best way.

Arts, Culture and Heritage

Giselle Denis
Giselle is a local artist with a mission to give back to our community through her beautiful impressionist art. Giselle’s impressive works of art and residency at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald and Raffles Hotel in Dubai are only exceeded by her drive to use her art for philanthropy. Giselle has a goal of raising $1 million for charity. So far, she has raised $740,000 with her live paintings for charity. Giselle’s work can be seen throughout Strathcona County. She has collaborated with JACEK Chocolate Couture in Sherwood Park and has been commissioned by Strathcona Community Hospital Foundation to paint two large murals. Giselle’s art style is embedded in our community and culture and we are proud to embrace it.

Sherwood Park Music Festival
The Sherwood Park Music Festival has been a staple in our community since 1976. The festival was created by a group of local music teachers to provide a platform for young people to showcase their talents. Participants get professional adjudication by independent examiners and teachers can receive insights into their approaches to music and teaching. The process of organizing this music festival is extensive and requires the festival to function as a successful business, every year. Throughout the music festival’s 46 years of operation, it has had over 3,000 volunteers get involved. The festival brings people from all walks of life who are coming together for a common goal and passion. The Sherwood Park Music Festival provides our community with the tools to explore their artistic development.

Athletic Achievement

Lisa DeJong
Lisa is an accomplished para-athlete and has represented Strathcona County and Canada on the world stage in para-snowboarding. Lisa won a silver medal in snowboard-cross at the 2022 Paralympic games in Beijing, making her the first Canadian to medal in snowboarding at the Paralympics. Lisa also took three medals at the 2022 World Para Snow Sports Championships, with a gold medal in the team event, and silver in snowboard-cross and banked slalom. Dedicating three years to her dream of snowboarding at a professional level and at the Paralympics, Lisa has brought positive visibility to disability in sport. She is an active member of our community and a role model to her family, friends and others living with physical disabilities.

Kelsey Mitchell
Kelsey is an Olympic Gold Medal Winner in Tokyo for Match Sprint, an event in track cycling. Her tremendous dedication and sacrifice have led to her success on an international level and to her becoming a role model for our community and country. After playing at an elite level in soccer at university, Kelsey was eager to continue her career as an athlete. She was noticed by Cycling Canada at RBC Training Ground and went on to become a triple medallist at the 2018 Canadian Championships with a national title in sprint. Kelsey is also a World Record Holder, Pan American Games Champion, and World Cup Medalist. She showed focus and resilience when confronted with uncertainty around the pandemic and Olympic games and continues to be a role model in our community, and country.

Community Service

Ken Lesniak
Ken is an individual who has gone above and beyond in his duty to serve our community. He has worked on countless boards and associations and is currently chair of the Strathcona Community Hospital Foundation Board of Directors and Chair of the St. Sophia Ukrainian Catholic Parish. Among his many past accomplishments in our community, Ken has led the Strathcona Community Hospital Foundation in contributing $300,000 toward healthcare needs. This funding went to specialized equipment such as an ultrasound machine, colposcopy equipment and beds. Ken’s ability to build relationships with provincial government leaders has also helped lay the foundation for future funding and growth for our community.

Christine Zurburg
Community Service
Christine was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. After her diagnosis, she decided to devote herself full-time to volunteering so that she could help those experiencing hardships. She volunteered at numerous organizations, giving back to our community in countless ways. Christine was a passionate volunteer and advocate for those battling cancer. She served on many patient and family advocacy committees for Alberta Health Services and the Cross Cancer Institute, where she enhanced programs for better patient experience. Christine also co-chaired the only peer support program for breast cancer patients and survivors. Christine was a special kind of person to our community, her lived experience made her a guiding light for those going through extremely tough times..

Economic Diversification

Russell Bird
Russell is the owner of three businesses in Sherwood Park, The Promo Addict, You Need a BBQ and Yonedas. These businesses are staunch supporters of our local economy and community. Russell has won many awards and has been featured in prominent industry magazines. His incorporation of the community into his businesses turns his successes into community successes. He is an integral part of Salto gymnastics and regularly mentors staff at his three businesses and works with local business leaders through the Entrepreneurs' Organization. Russell’s knowledge and passion for business and BBQing are well known and make him an expert in our community.

Mark Silvius
Mark founded and leads two businesses, Digital Edge Media and LIGHTVU, in Sherwood Park. Both companies feature unique offerings and demonstrate a versatility within our economic community that makes Strathcona County a hub for innovation. Digital Edge Media is responsible for many modernization projects in our community. LIGHTVU is the only LED video wall manufacturer in Canada, bringing unique economic diversification to Strathcona County, and the entirety of Canada. Mark enhances our community with his economic diversification and is a role model for how he runs his businesses.

Heroism and Leadership

Jesse Christenson
Jesse saved a woman in our community through his quick actions and calm response to an incredibly stressful situation. In the early hours of Friday, May 7, 2021, on his morning commute, he spotted Satvir Kaur Brar sprinting towards his truck while being chased by a man with a gun. Jesse jumped into action and got Satvir to safety, all while shots were being fired. Jesse called 911 on the way to the Sherwood Park Hospital and notified the police. Jesse learned that the man with the gun was Sativir’s husband and that the woman’s nephew, Harmanjot, sadly was not able to make it out of the vehicle and to safety. Jesse made sure that he stayed with the woman until the police arrived to take over. Jesse is a shining example of a good samaritan and a hero. To help a stranger in need without hesitation and to put one’s self in danger to save another is the pinnacle of heroism and leadership.

Gregg Hansen
Gregg jumped into action and saved his neighbour, Mark Ramsankar. Mark was in recovery from a heart attack only a week earlier. While watching TV, Mark slumped over in his chair, going into full cardiac arrest. Mark’s, daughter J’lyn quickly dialled 911, as she stepped outside to get away from the panic and hear the operator, she saw Gregg Hansen in his front yard preparing his Christmas decorations and called to him for help. Gregg ran inside Mark’s house and laid Mark on the ground and immediately started administering CPR until the first responders could arrive, which wouldn’t be for ten minutes. What Gregg had done had saved Mark’s life. Gregg continued to shovel Mark’s driveway all winter, knowing that Mark would be unable to. Gregg did not hesitate in taking action when it was needed most. He is a prime example of Heroism and Leadership in our community.

Outstanding Group

Ardrossan Recreation and Agricultural Society and Josephburg Agriculture Society
These two societies have profoundly impacted our community. They are hubs for innovation and are keystone organizations in our community, providing countless events and programs ranging from educational programming to athletic events and activities. The pandemic proved to be a push for innovation from all organizations. Ardrossan pivoted quickly, shifting their Parade and Picnic to a unique guided road tour and added farmer’s markets as events. The Josephburg Agricultural Society complimented the Ardrossan by providing leadership in negotiating protocols with AHS, allowing for a modified Country Classic to be held and standardizing protocols across Alberta. These Societies used ingenuity and a can-do attitude to modify their regular programs and events so that our community could still get out and enjoy them safely. They are pillars within our community and enrich us all both socially and culturally.

Sherwood Park - Strathcona County Primary Care Network
The PCN works as a team with family doctors and other healthcare professionals to advance the health and wellness of our community. The PCN has 128 family physician members and serves over 138,000 patients. Partnership with the PCN has been critical for the many community-based initiatives launched through the Social Framework. This includes the PCN’s development of the Strathcona County Community Drug Strategy and the award-winning Opioids Don’t Discriminate exhibit. The PCNs in our communities know firsthand the stress that came along with the pandemic. They ordered significant PPE from AHS and distributed it to family doctors while making sure they continued to see patients. The PCN’s contributions have been integral in supporting our community’s health and well-being during these trying years.

Service to Seniors

Laurette Phimester
Laurette Phimester is the owner and operator of Driving Miss Daisy. Laurette provides a valuable service within our community driving elders and others not capable of transporting themselves around the community. For more than 20 years, Driving Miss Daisy has dedicated itself to the promotion of independence, connecting clients to the community and enhancing their enjoyment of life. Driving Miss Daisy is more than just a transportation service. Laurette transports her clients from door to door, ensuring they get where they need to go, safely. Her service improves the quality of life for seniors and those with disabilities while giving caregivers some respite. Laurette and her team are a shining example of the care and compassion of this community.


Alyssa Stoddard
Alyssa is a community leader and a passionate advocate for ensuring youth and young adults’ interests are reflected in Strathcona County’s programs, policies and initiatives. Alyssa’s involvement in the Integrated Transportation Master Plan has been integral to tapping into the youth community within Strathcona County. With Alyssa’s help, the County has been able to gain valuable feedback for our community’s future. Alyssa’s engagement spans the world around her and is very important to her. She has been engaged in the war in Ukraine, organizing performances, fundraisers and rallying the residents of Strathcona County. Alyssa’s involvement and passion to make our community the best it can be make her an exceptional role model for the youth in Strathcona County.

Cyber Eagles Robotics
The Cyber Eagles Robotics Team is a strong technical robotics club that aims to have a positive impact on our community. The Cyber Eagles are a leader within the robotics community, receiving many awards and qualifying to compete at the FIRST World Championships five times. This year they made the journey to Houston, Texas, and represented Strathcona County at the World Championships once again. The Cyber Eagles give back to our community in many ways, such as their clean-up efforts on Highway 21. The team 3D printed 15,000 ear savers during the pandemic, and recently, they spent 700 hours printing and assembling 100 beeping eggs for an Easter Egg Hunt for individuals with visual impairments. The team provides an opportunity for our youth to realize their potential all while having a positive community impact.

Mayor’s Award

Strathcona Food Bank Association
The Food Bank is celebrating its 39th year of service to our community. The food bank’s growth has been impressive, they have gone from building 219 hampers in 1983 to 3,086 hampers in 2021. Collaborating is a large part of the work that the food bank does. They partner with Second Harvest Food Rescue, a program that rescues food and has led to more than 50,000 kgs of food being saved. The food bank supports its clients with food allergies, specific diets, and provides access to infant products, toiletries, and feminine products. They even give a cake and gifts to children under the age of 12. The amazing group of volunteers at the food bank are passionate, have shown up and pivoted quickly during the pandemic, allowing them to continue providing their valuable service.

Last updated: Monday, March 11, 2024
Page ID: 51239