Arts, Culture and Heritage
Jessica Moen is a school-based social worker at Sherwood Heights Junior High. Every day, she shows up wholeheartedly for her students, offering a listening ear and thoughtful advice. Jessica has forged strong connections with many of the school’s most vulnerable students and their families, going above and beyond to make sure they know they are not alone. There are countless examples of Jessica’s dedication — from meeting parents for coffee to visiting families at home when mental health challenges keep them from school. She’s also brought in new wellness initiatives and organized educational events for students and staff, increasing capacity on a larger scale. Behind all of Jessica’s work is a sincere love for this community, as she creates a culture where each person is seen, supported and empowered to thrive.
Concrete Blonde Hair & Body has built success with their caring team and luxurious salon services. But they’re known for more than their stylish cuts — over the last five years, Concrete Blonde has raised over $150,000 to support children and youth through CASA Mental Health, an Alberta-based non-profit. The salon sponsors CASA’s annual Minds over Mountains Cycle Tour and hosts their own annual fundraiser — the Tour de Concrete Blonde 24-hour bike-a-thon. Every year, staff hop on spin bikes in the salon, cycling in shifts for 24 hours to raise funds. Concrete Blonde has rallied other companies to participate, building a local business community that is passionate about supporting mental health and making Strathcona County a kinder place to live, work and play.
Heroism and Leadership
Eric Atkinson is a dedicated and well-known volunteer in the local Scouts Canada community. A gifted leader, Eric has spent over a decade mentoring young scouts to develop skills, perseverance and character. Eric is the long-time senior advisor of the Northern Lights Medical Venturers, a program based out of the 193rd Sherwood Park Scout Group. Medical Venturers is designed for youth interested in EMS and First Aid, where Eric and his fellow leaders provide the teens with practical medical training — as well as opportunities to practice leadership, decision-making and collaboration. Under Eric’s guidance, each cohort of venturers leave the program as competent, community-minded individuals. Through his commitment, Eric is building a more resilient Strathcona County — now and into the future.
As a parent, board member and board president, Leta Shannon has helped grow Strathcona County BGC from a small program of 15 kids to one that now serves over 2,200 children and youth every year. Over the last 15 years, Leta has been instrumental in establishing and growing programs that strengthen children, families and the entire community. These programs include advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ and Indigenous communities, writing holiday cards for seniors, and running virtual programming through the pandemic. Outside of the club’s walls, Leta has built relationships with municipal and provincial governments, school trustees and many others, laying a foundation for future funding and growth. An unwavering compass for BGC Strathcona County, Leta has helped empower a generation of young leaders.
For nearly 20 years, Linking Generations has fostered meaningful friendships between local youth and seniors. Launched in 2004, the charitable organization matches students from partnership schools with older adults at local seniors facilities. The junior and senior high students then meet regularly with the seniors throughout the entire school year. These visits improve seniors’ overall well-being as they find renewed purpose and connection to their broader community. And, the youth build confidence, empathy and leadership abilities, all while gleaning incredible life lessons from their elders. Over the last two decades, countless youth and seniors have benefited from one another’s friendship, strengthening the community from within. Thanks to Linking Generations, we are building a Strathcona County where we truly belong to one another.
Strathcona Highland Society
Thanks to the Strathcona Highland Society, our community is the proud host of the annual Sherwood Park Highland Gathering! In 2018, the long-time host of the Highland Games, Fort Edmonton Park, announced they would not continue the event. A group of dedicated volunteers decided they could bring the festival here, and formed the Strathcona Highland Society. Now, every summer, the volunteers run a festival that draws thousands of people to Broadmoor Park to celebrate Celtic culture. Since its inception, the Highland Society has recruited over 400 volunteers to give a combined 5,000 hours to host the event. In all their efforts, the society has rallied individuals, organizations and businesses to work together to showcase Strathcona County’s strength and diversity to people from across the province, country and around the world.
Service to Seniors
A passionate advocate, Doug Flowers has been instrumental in making Strathcona County a place where seniors can get outdoors, connect with others and improve their overall wellness through the sport of pickleball. Doug is a founding member of the Strathcona County Pickleball Association (SPCA), and served on the board of directors for eight years in various roles, including president, tournament director and outdoor director. Regardless of his position, Doug made it his mission to make the sport accessible for seniors and beyond. Doug worked with County staff to develop the Sherwood Heights Regional Park Courts and helped apply for funding to improve the courts at Village on the Lake. Doug’s volunteer efforts make Strathcona County a place that is truly livable for residents of all ages.
A long-time resident and gifted musician, Ruth has volunteered thousands of hours to serve our community’s seniors. For the past 15 years, Ruth has played piano at Sherwood Care, a local live-in facility for seniors with complex medical needs. Daily, Ruth plays a 45-minute worship service, then follows up with classic songs through the seniors’ lunch hour. She genuinely connects with each resident and their families — learning the seniors’ favourite hymns and songs from their youth. Ruth also serves seniors day-to-day, driving them to appointments, planning theme parties for milestone birthdays and organizing musical events. Those who nominated Ruth for this award said it best when they wrote, “regardless of the volunteer activity, Ruth brings her unique brand of joy, compassion, enthusiasm and warmth to all she encounters.”
Terren Algot and Lucas Sawiak
This February, Terren Algot and Lucas Sawiak channelled years of training into the biggest moment of their young careers — the Canadian Under 18 Curling Championships. At the tournament in Timmins, Ontario, the Sherwood Park teens went undefeated, bringing home the gold! With the win, Terren and Lucas also brought national attention to Strathcona County and the Sherwood Park Curling Club. The teens grew up playing at the local club, where they are admired not only for their athletic prowess, but dedication and good sportsmanship. For kids starting curling, Terren and Lucas are first-hand examples of the great heights that can be reached through determination and hard work. Terren and Lucas make our community proud — at home and on the national stage.
A local high school student, Keegan Kirchen uses their voice to make Strathcona County inclusive for people of all ages, abilities and identities. Keegan is an active participant in the Archbishop Jordan Student Council, where they were instrumental in organizing one of the first Pride celebrations in the school district. Keegan also uses their voice to ensure youth and young adult interests are reflected in community programs and policies. Keegan is a dedicated member of the Next Gen Leadership Team and the Youth Advisory Committee, where they work to make change on complex issues, including diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability and mental health. Keegan has a vision for a community that celebrates all people, paired with the passion to make a real difference. They are a role model not only to their peers, but residents of all ages.
A dedicated police officer and tireless advocate, Bryce Clarke’s life is a testament to the power of resilience. Sadly, Bryce passed away last spring, and this award honours his life and legacy. In 2001, at age 29, Bryce suffered a life-threatening injury in an accident outside of work. He survived, but the accident left him a quadriplegic. With ingenuity and grit, Bryce re-learned daily tasks from his wheelchair. Just a few years after the injury, he returned to the Edmonton Police Force, becoming one of only two full-time quadriplegic officers in the country. Over the next two decades, Bryce used his voice to make life easier for people living with disabilities, advocating for spinal cord research, assistive devices and accessible homes and buildings. At every turn, Bryce found new ways to live life to the full, paving the way for others to do the same. By leading with passion, joy and resilience, Bryce made our community and country a better place.