When Marlene Conibear received this year’s Atco Electric Cultural, Arts and Heritage Award at the County of Stettler’s 40th Annual Community Service Awards ceremony this past Friday, Feb. 10, it was an endorsement of a well-known fact – her continued dedication to the community in the field of arts, culture and heritage.
As rightfully said by John Pearson, vice-president of the Donalda and District Agricultural Society at the awards ceremony, “Every community has an individual who exhibits a passion for history, an enthusiasm for culture and the dedication to ensuring that our heritage is preserved and honoured. Donalda has many such individuals, and this person is truly a treasure and a force to be reckoned with.”
Conibear is truly one of Donalda’s treasures, whose grit and commitment has helped the community in myriad ways.
But modest to the core, Conibear was taken aback when she was given the news of winning the award.
“I – like many other volunteers in the community – just want to see projects coming together and making a difference to the community,” Conibear explained. “So when John Pearson called to break the news that I had won the Atco Electric award, I was at a loss of words.”
Working with her team of close partners and volunteers, Conibear believes in community spirit and together with the community’s other stalwarts – Darlene Tantrum and Judy Dinsmore – the trio has achieved a lot.
Both Tantrum and Dinsmore have won this award in the previous years, which is a wonderful reflection of how active the Village of Donalda has been in creating a buzz about arts and culture in the community, besides preserving the heritage of a few generations through the record-holding lamp collection.
“Donalda has won the Atco Electric Cultural, Arts and Heritage Award for the last three years and that is something to be very proud of as we compete with the entire County of Stettler for this award,” Conibear said.
Conibear and Tantrum became friends through volunteering since 2010.
“We have a lot of the same interests as we both like to cook, eat and travel,” Conibear added. “I also work closely with Judy on the Donalda Coulee Friendship Club as well as the Donalda Promotions and have been friends with her for many years.”
Recalling some of the projects that stand out, Conibear finds it difficult pick one.
“In the last four years, we have organized and put on Donalda’s Centennial, Donalda’s School Reunion and the popular Klondike Reunion,” Conibear said.
Needless to say, all these events took a lot of organizing and volunteers to make them enjoyable and successful.
“As part of the Donalda Promotions Society we organize Family Day, Drive-In movies in the Coulee, Canada Day Celebration and A Village Christmas each year,” Conibear stated. “Every time we think it may be too much work to continue with all these events, we have someone from another community say to us ‘Boy we love to come to Donalda for July 1st, we have such a good time’ and off we go again organizing the events, even better than before.”
According to Conibear, it is heartening and encouraging when they receive such positive feedback.
“That makes it all worth the while. And without a few of the same volunteers on all the societies, we could never pull this off.”