By Lucie Roy
Morinville – Sturgeon Rural Crime Watch (SRCW) celebrated 30 years of being the County’s eyes and ears Saturday night at the Rendev-Vous Centre.
More than 150 attended the SRCW 30th Anniversary Celebration dinner and silent auction, including Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec, Sturgeon County Councillors Don McGeachy, Tom Flynn and David Kluthe, Morinville Mayor Paul Krauskopf and Deputy Mayor Lisa Holmes, Legal Councillors Carol Tremblay and Ron Sharma, Sturgeon School Division trustee Wendy Miller, Greater St. Albert Catholic School Division Trustee Noreen Radford and Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Communication Coordinator Bonnie Felker.
SCRW President Roger Nykipilo praised the efforts of the organization’s volunteers and pioneers over the years, attributing the group’s longevity to them.
“We would not be here tonight if it were not for a group of very community-minded neighbours, who in 1983 decided to band together and take their community spirit to another level, ” Nykipilo said in his opening remarks. “They became the eyes and ears of our Sturgeon community. These pioneers realized that our RCMP members could not be everywhere and cover the 2300 square km of farmland, towns, villages, hamlets and the countless acreage subdivisions that were rapidly growing.”
The first charter was signed off by Bernie Prefontaine, Mitch Zachcaruk, William Mitchell, Wayne Potter, Roland Tieulie and co-signed by RCMP member Cst. J.M. Michaud. Prefontaine became the first association president, followed by William Mitchell, Ray Kremer, Cal Putnam, Henry Bergstreiser, Pat Pelsma, retired Morinville S/Sgt and Detachment Commander Jim Eddleston, Emile Cloutier, Jerry Belziuk, Shawn Viney, Richard DeChamplain and Margaret Romanowski.
Nykipilo thanked those who pioneered the organization 30 years ago, some of whom attended Saturday’s event.
The event included congratulatory messages and a few words from RCMP Sergeant Mark Mathias and Constable Yelena Avoine.
Memorial award presented
President Roger Nykipilo presented the first Fred Scharmann Award at the organization’s 30th Anniversary dinner and silent auction Saturday night.
The award was awarded to the family of the late Fred Scharmann in recognition of his long-time volunteer service with SRCW. Accepting the award was his wife Sheila, Craig Scharmann and his wife Rachel Dryden, back row Eric Scharmann, Adam Scharmann and his wife Adrianna Scharmann.
Scharmann, a Morinville resident, passed away Dec. 30, 2012 after a battle with cancer. Fred was a coach with the Morinville Minor Soccer Association, Scout Leader for the Morinville Cubs, was with the Morinville Volunteer Ambulance Service, drove the pilot truck for the Roger Champagne MCHS Student Bike Trip and served 10 years as an auxiliary RCMP officer during which time he became involved with SRCW and also drove the RCMP tow truck vehicle during the parades.