Three Morinville women will be recognized on International Women’s Day

by Morinville News Staff

Three Morinville women will be applauded for their efforts in a special ceremony in St. Albert Mar. 7. For the past 18 years, the St. Albert Bahá’í community has sponsored an annual celebration of United Nations International Women’s Day. Nominations opened in January seeking exceptional women who have made contributions to society through their generosity of spirit, courage, creativity, determination, steadfastness, leadership, enthusiasm, love, and caring.

Morinville residents Louise Horstman, Laura Hennie and Lisa Holmes will join St. Albert’s Suzan Krecsy and Sophia Qaderi in receiving the award Mar. 7.

Louise Horstman will be recognized in the Senior, Youth-Empowerment, Global Humanitarian categories as a long-time volunteer force in Morinville.

Horstman’s recent work has been with the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s ‘Grandmothers to Grandmothers’ Campaign, which addresses the needs of African grandmothers. The organization has raised $13 million for AIDS orphans, monies that are invested in the community at a grass-roots level.

Inspired by a radio interview with Stephen Lewis, Horstman started the first chapter in Alberta. She also serves on the Canadian National Committee for Grandmothers to Grandmothers, representing Alberta nationally.

In addition to her work with Grandmothers to Grandmothers, Horstman has served on several environmental conservation boards.

She has also been a member of Victim Services, the Morinville Minstrels and Fort Saskatchewan’s Pioneer Singers.

Laura Hennie will receive an award in the Adult, Non-Profit, Unsung Heroine categories for her work with the Jessica Martel Foundation.

Hennie has a Masters Degree in Social Work and began volunteering at The Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation in 2012 ad served as vice president until 2014.

“Her passion and drive to help victims of domestic violence made her a huge asset to the foundation,” reads her nomination. “Since she joined, she has volunteered countless hours and is a key member to help build a strong foundation for the organization.”

An avid runner, Hennie now directs the Annual Jessica Martel 5 Kilometre Run, an event that surpassed its first-year goal of 35 runners by an additional 165. In its first year, the event raised $20,000. The second year raised $20,000 as well. Year three will be a 10-km run.

Hennie is proposing an outreach program for those in need and is hoping to provide safe homes and raise awareness about the issue of domestic violence.

Lisa Holmes will be recognized in the Adult, Education, Mentorship categories for her efforts as a woman, wife, mother and community leader.

Holmes credits her upbringing to her sense of community involvement. “They believed you had to be invested in the community in which you live,” she said of what she learned from her parents and grandparents.

Holmes has served as a library trustee, town councilor, mayor and sat on a number of boards in her six years in Morinville. She was recognized by the committee as award worthy for having done all of these things while “raising her two young boys with her very supportive and encouraging husband and working for the Alberta Teachers Association.”

Holmes’ nominator said her education background has allowed her to “bridge many community gaps and implement programs to engage youth in the municipal government.”

She is credited for her strong efforts to make sure all community members are able to attend public municipal meetings by having childcare made available and by offering bussing to seniors.

Holmes is praised for creating the ‘Junior Mayors’ program for Grade 1 students, implementing the town hall art program, and creating a Grade 6 initiative “where she teaches youth about citizenship and service in government.”

“Lisa empowers youth by example. Sharing her time and energy in educating and advocating to both boys and girls in pursuing politics and using their voice to create positive change in communities, all while making the office of Mayor more approachable, to everyone,” reads her nomination submission.

The awards will be presented Mar. 7 at the United Nations International Women’s Day event to be held in St. Albert. Last year’s recipients included three Morinville Women: Rebecca Balanko, Brandi Robinson and Kaileen Chisholm.

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