EDMONTON — Faye Blakely’s notable contributions to FCSS (Family and Community Support Services) were recognized with a provincial award on Thursday in Edmonton.
The Stettler woman was one of five people in Alberta to receive an award of merit during a ceremony at the annual convention of the Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta.
The inscription on her award reads, “Celebrating your spirit, imagination and dedication of strengthening the social fabric of your community.”
Blakely was active in all levels of FCSS, including Stettler and district, the East Central Alberta regional association, and the provincial association. She was the treasurer during her long tenure with the provincial association.
“I was really honoured to be chosen,” said Blakely, who spent 27 years involved with FCSS at Stettler.
“You’re not an island unto your own,” she said in crediting staff, the FCSS board and her family for their support.
Blakely’s family joined her at the ceremony — husband Chuck, sons Shawn and Tony, and daughter Carmen and her husband Brian Illing.
“Faye was a dedicated and committed employee who believed strongly in keeping services in the rural community and worked hard in order for that to happen,” said FCSSAA president Jeff Carlson.
“Faye was extremely passionate about FCSS and its mandate of prevention. She was not above doing anything, when it came to supporting projects and programs within the community. Faye might be the banker, the burger flipper or just get on her soapbox to ensure that the project was successful.
“Without Faye’s determination and drive to find funding partners, Stettler would have missed out on some very critical provincial and federal services. In doing so, she was able to strengthen the presence of FCSS in Stettler.”
Blakely said that her work at the provincial level gave her “connections that were valuable and important for rural Alberta.
“I learned a lot — it was very rewarding — and never boring.”
Blakely retired earlier this year.
She admitted the work did present its challenges, but credited her financial background as being an asset.
“As attested to by her colleagues, Faye worked every day with boundless energy,” said town councillor Malcolm Fischer.
“This enthusiasm has been a key ingredient in our FCSS’s great history of service.”
Joe Gendre, a county councillor and chairman of the local FCSS board, said Blakely’s business savvy stood out.
“As a daughter of the late chuckwagon driver Orville Strandquist … Faye’s cowboy business sense” emerged, Gendre said.
“She shot from the hip and showed deep passion and commitment to the underdog FCSS. Above all, Faye lived and breathed FCSS. Faye wrangled hard-to-get government contracts that paid for many good programs that gave young and old of our community better lives, and she did it with a no-nonsense budget. I miss her infectious laugh and wit.”
Blakely’s colleagues said her bubbly personality always added to great conversations and her fun-loving ways were good for staff morale.
She was said to have “more energy than most people would ever hope for.”
Blakely is remembered for one of her often-used quotations:
“When you work for FCSS, you’re a lifer.”