The Strathcona County Awards of Excellence celebrated outstanding community members.

The event took place Monday (Jun. 13) evening at Festival Place in Sherwood Park.

Guests got to enjoy a catered dinner before entering the auditorium. Upon entering, pianist Terry Jordan played as the seats filled up.

Award winners and presenters were led into the auditorium by Bridgette Hardy-Crytes on the bagpipes. 

Shortly after everyone was seated, local musician Samantha Wiltzen performed O’Canada and an original song performed on the ukulele.

Various members of the provincial government were in attendance to hand out the awards and give praise to the recipients. This included Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, Jordan Walker, MLA for Sherwood Park and Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta.

Here are the award winners from the 2022 Strathcona County Awards of Excellence:

Agricultural Leadership

Ardelle McPherson:

Ardelle is the executive director at the Josephburg Agricultural Society. She kept events running safely despite barriers from COVID restrictions and is involved in many community events.

Arts, Culture and Heritage

Giselle Denis: 

She is an artist with a mission to raise $1-million for charity. Her work can be seen throughout Strathcona County. 

Sherwood Park Music Festival:

The festival began in 1976. Throughout all of this time, 3,000 volunteers have participated.

Athletic Achievement 

Lisa DeJong:

DeJong is a para-athlete who has won a silver medal in snowboard cross at the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing. She has also won medals at other world-renowned snowboard-cross competitions for para-athletes.

Kelsey Mitchell:

Mitchell is an Olympic gold medal winner for match sprint, an event in track cycling. Her record of achievement in multiple events is awe-inspiring. She was not available to attend the ceremony due to her practice schedule, but her parents came on her behalf. 

Community Service

Ken Lesniak:

He has worked on multiple boards, foundations and volunteer organizations. Currently, he is working with a hospital foundation and is the chair for St. Sophia Ukrainian Catholic Parish. 

Christine Zurburg:

This was a posthumous award given to her family. After her breast cancer diagnosis in 2011, she devoted her life to volunteering. 

Economic Diversification 

Russell Bird:

He owns three businesses in Sherwood Park; The Promo Addict, You Need a BBQ, and Yoneda's are big supporters of community events. 

Mark Silvius:

Silvis founded two businesses in Sherwood Park — he owns Digital Edge Media and LIGHTVU.

Heroism and Leadership

Jesse Christenson:

He saved a woman in the community when she was running towards his truck while being chased by a man with a gun. Christendom got her to safety even though shots were also being fired at him. 

Gregg Hansen:

Hansen is responsible for saving the life of his neighbour, Mark. Gregg gave CPR to Mark after finding out he was slumped over in cardiac arrest while watching TV. He also shovelled Mark's driveway all winter while he was recovering.

Outstanding Group

Ardrossan Recreation and Agricultural Society/Josephburg Agricultural Society:

These two groups are considered hubs for innovation in agriculture. They provide community events and educational activities. 

Strathcona County Primary Care Network-Sherwood Park:

This PCN team works with family doctors and other healthcare professionals to advance the wellness of the community. 

Service to Seniors

Laurette Phimester:

She is the owner and operator of Driving Miss Daisy. She drives elders and others who are not capable of getting themselves around. 

Youth Award

Alyssa Stoddard:

She is involved in the Integrated Transportation Master Plan and makes sure that youth voices are heard in plans around the county.

Cyber Eagles Robotics:

This team has won many awards and qualified for the FIRST World Championships five times. 

Mayors Award

The Strathcona Food Bank Association:

The Food Bank is celebrating its 39th year of service to the community. In 2021, they assembled 3,086 hampers for those in need.