Stettler Community Builders set to honour key people in town’s history

Project will launch with a closer look at Clark Burlingham, organizers say

A brand new initiative set to honour outstanding folks who greatly contributed to the community of Stettler over the years has been launched.

“It came to my attention that some of our community builders of this great town are being forgotten,” explained Malcolm Fischer, who is helping to spearhead the group and also serves on Town council.

”I had been pondering this Stettler Community Builders notion for some time, and one day my friend and across-the-street neighbour Larry Dawson came over and he brought up the fact that few people seem to be remembering Clark Burlingham and his very significant contributions in building the Stettler we know and love,” explained Fischer, adding that Dawson had also played on provincial champion teams in hockey and in baseball under the tutelage and coaching of Burlingham.

”Thus, I keyed on Clark as a first topic-for-discussion around whom to build the starting blocks for this initiative,” he said.

”The whole point of this is to have these community builders (recognized). I’m worried about the people who did the leg-work to help build this community – not necessarily those of a higher profile. For example, Clark had such an accomplished history – he was here until the late 1960s. He coached provincial champions in baseball and hockey more than once, and he also initiated (the placement) of several ball diamonds.”

Burlingham ran the local recreation centre for a time as well.

“He was a great man. He had such a pervasive effect on this community,” he added. “So I do want some kind of recognition (for these people), but we have yet to determine what that is.

“How do we recognize them? What are the criteria? These are community builders, and we have to define that,” he explained, adding that Dawson, who is also on the Stettler Community Builders board, is drafting up some further ideas for this as well.

“Clark Burlingham was also really a great motivator. He was also one of the first of his kind in Alberta and in Canada (as a recreation director). He was a pioneer in so many ways,” he said.

“His impact in Stettler was again so great that in calling this program the Stettler Community Builders, we know that he certainly was one.”

He’s also an ideal candidate to launch Stettler Community Builders with as he unfortunately isn’t really well-known anymore.

“And yet he was hugely significant in this town.”

Fischer said once more details about the initiative are nailed down, folks will be more than welcome to help with various projects involved with Stettler Community Builders.

“I’m hoping that whatever we end up doing with Clark, people will see that and say, ‘Hey, this lady or this gentleman are worthy of that kind of recognition as well’,” he added.

Currently, Fischer is gathering more information on Burlingham and then the committee will meet again and go from there.

“Again, I want this to focus on true ‘builders’ – not just those who were more visible in the community,” he said. “And we will see where it goes.”

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