This year’s Best of Stettler Readers’ Choice Awards provided folks a chance to show their support for the outstanding businesses and organizations that strengthen the community.
For local citizens, it goes even deeper than that.
There is a sense of home here that many have pointed to as well.
Tanja Bessette-Heatherington, an educational assistant at William E. Hay Secondary Campus, explained what makes this community such an outstanding place to call home.
“My husband and I originally moved to Stettler with intentions of living out at Buffalo Lake,” she said. “The plan was to raise our kids out of the big city.”
It proved an exceptional choice in more ways than one.
“What I have realized since making that move 10 odd years ago is that we got much more than our dream of living at the lake. We realized that Stettler was a pretty great place to raise a family,” said Bessette-Heatherington, who is also coach of the archery club at the school.
“Stettler has a great sense of community. Whether your child has an interest in either the arts or sports, there are many activities offered both in and out of schools. It is a small town with numerous businesses and individuals that support local individuals and teams.
“I know many great parents and individuals who give of their time and/or money to make organizations run. All for the kids. It goes without saying that I think Stettler is a friendly community. They live up to their name – ‘The Heart of Alberta’.
Local resident Rose Fenske said that she loves the theatre scene, the opportunities for youth to do cultural things with great arts teachers as well as the sports; and that there is a variety of things to do and places to volunteer from rodeo to opera.
“There are also opportunities to support service groups and be entertained at same time. For example, through the Festival of Lights – there is also never a shortage of opportunities to volunteer and be involved in the community.
“Stettler is also just the right size to have amenities but to still feel connected to a community.”
Town Councillor Malcolm Fischer describes the community as, “Warm, it’s welcoming, and it’s energetic.
“I really like that you can be generally involved in any number of things,” he said. “You can do many things and grow as a person in many ways.
“I’ve heard that from people during my time here. Another thing that comes into it is pride – there is a level of pride here with things that I don’t see in other communities,” he added.
Andrea Lee, community engagement coordinator with FCSS, noted that, “Everybody really gets together and helps one another out in the time of need.”
Lee is also a fan of the amenities offered around the community as well, including West Stettler Park and all that it has to offer local residents.
But ultimately, it really is about the people.
“One of the biggest things I noticed when I moved back here from Calgary is that when you go to the grocery store, you need to include maybe an extra 20 minutes or half an hour because you run into lots of people you know,” added Lee.
“Here, everyone you walk by in the aisle you can say ‘hi’ to, and have a little visit with them!”
Christel Shuckburgh, mentoring coordinator with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters, would agree with that.
“Also my favorite thing about Stettler is that when someone is going through something, like a fire in their home, or an accident, or a sickness, people rally around them and help them out in a big way,” she said.
“This town is a town of givers.”