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Community Recognition inductees announced

Riverside Honda, Larry Olexiuk recognized among others

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jun 28, 2014 06:00 am

COMMUNITY BUILDER - Lorraine Gray accepts a Community Recognition award on behalf of her brother, Larry Olexiuk, on Thursday evening.
COMMUNITY BUILDER - Lorraine Gray accepts a Community Recognition award on behalf of her brother, Larry Olexiuk, on Thursday evening.
CANDACE ELLIOT/St. Albert Gazette

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A modest crowd was on hand to witness five names as they became the newest inductees onto the city’s Community Recognition monuments this Thursday.

Mayor Nolan Crouse announced Larry Olexiuk, the late Renee Laird, the St. Albert Drive-In, Club Mocombo and Riverside Honda and Ski-Doo to the program during a sunny evening ceremony.

“We’re really here to celebrate history,” he said in his remarks to the gathering. “We’re able to carve and etch in stone the names of those who built our community over the decades and centuries.”

The Community Recognition Program began during the city’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2011. It aimed to recognize and celebrate individuals, groups and businesses that have been instrumental in making St. Albert a better place to live for all in some way.

A series of monuments were installed at the southwest corner of Perron Street near the intersection with Sir Winston Churchill Avenue. Every year, new names are added based on recommendations from the public as approved through an adjudication process of the community services advisory board.

Olexiuk was inducted in the Citizenship – Community Builder category for his years of work in building St. Albert’s sports community. He coached football and baseball to more than 1,000 high school athletes. He was at the head of a committee to raise money to establish the original St. Albert Storm football team in the mid-1980s, and was the founding director of St. Albert High’s football association.

“If you look at SACHS, Bellerose and Paul Kane, plus the whole minor football association… really, Larry was one of the architects,” Crouse said.

Lorraine Gray accepted the award on behalf of her brother. She said that he was thrilled to even be nominated.

“He was absolutely honoured. He loves those teams. He loves those boys. He treats them like family,” she said.

Laird was noted for her work in the community in the Arts and Culture category. For 30 years, Crouse said, she was the city’s recreation department before she retired as its director. She acted as well, reading plays for the CBC, and was an active volunteer around the city. He noted that she also was former mayor Richard Fowler’s faithful speechwriter.

“Richard, as we all know, was a legacy by himself … but she told him what to say.”

There were two former business establishments that were recognized in the Past Era Business of Distinction category: the St. Albert Drive-In Theatre and Club Mocombo.

Chamber of Commerce head Lynda Moffat announced Riverside Honda and Ski-Doo as the Pillar of Business Award winner.

The awards program

There are several possible award categories for nominees: Arts and Culture, Citizenship, Professional Achievement, Sport Excellence, Past Era Businesses of Distinction and the Pillar of Business.

Nominations are accepted year round but the deadline is February 15 for each year’s considerations. The annual award presentation is held either in June or July.

For more information or to get a nomination form, contact Anna Royer, the division business manager with the community and protective services department, at 780-459-1504 or visit www.stalbert.ca/community-recognition-program.


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