Community Leaders


John Barlow, MP for Foothills, recently presented Foothills 150 medals to these community volunteers from Claresholm and Stavely, in recognition of their service and to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary. In back from left are Doug Leeds; Len Burchill; Art Scott; and Brian Nelson; while in front from left are Carmelle Steel; Noreen Bishop; and Shirley Michie. Photo by Rob Vogt
Local volunteers honoured with Foothills 150 medals
By Rob Vogt
Local Press Writer 


A total of 10 volunteers from Claresholm and Stavely recently were honoured for their commitment and dedication to their communities with Foothills 150 medals.
John Barlow, MP for Foothills, presented the medals to 150 members of his constituency at a ceremony in High River on June 28.
According to a news release, in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, Barlow wanted to recognize 150 community builders in his riding.
Often, these people’s efforts are integral to the fabric of their community but largely unrecognized. Barlow saw an opportunity to celebrate these people as everyone celebrates Canada 150.
“We all benefit from the terrific individuals who strive to make our communities better,” said Barlow.
The local recipients are:
Noreen Bishop
Noreen Bishop has donated time and money to ensuring that Claresholm’s history is recorded and saved. She has been volunteering at the Claresholm and District Museum since 1998 and has created many books pertaining to the history of local individuals, businesses, and servicemen. Noreen has a keen appreciation for the importance of local history and the heritage of its inhabitants.  She also volunteers her time at the Porcupine Hills Lodge visiting and playing cards with the residents.  
Leonard A. Burchill
Leonard is the type of guy who will stop visitors in Claresholm and offer to give them a tour to show them what a great place it is to live. As an active member of the Claresholm Lions Club, Burchill has been recognized three separate times for his numerous hours of service to his community. Leonard has had a profound impact on people’s lives in the Claresholm area by coming up with the idea of offering donated scooters, canes, and walkers to local residents who couldn’t afford to purchase the equipment. In the first few years of this project, approximately 300 people were helped. On top of his local efforts, Leonard worked out a deal to take equipment that was deemed not fit for use under Alberta Health policies to developing countries where that equipment could change lives. Burchill is the man to see if you need help with anything and he treats each project as if it was his own challenge.
Douglas Leeds
Douglas Leeds is determined to save the past for future generations, whether that be through collecting rocks, artifacts, old advertisements, or writing down history in a book, Douglas does it all. Douglas is also passionate about promoting agriculture through family farm activities and sharing his insight with anyone interested in the matter. Even though Leeds doesn’t technically live in the Town of Claresholm, he has been extremely involved in adding to the community throughout the years. This includes being one of the first people to put forward the initial idea of Pine Coulee Reservoir and getting the Canadian Pacific caboose for the Claresholm museum grounds. Whether, he is helping with Claresholm Fair Days, sitting on committees for the Municipal District of Willow Creek, or volunteering at the museum, he is passionate about making his community better for future generations.
Shirley Michie
When you speak to those who know Shirley Michie, they will tell you she is the kindest lady they know. She spends every Thursday evening baking goodies so she can deliver them to those who are experiencing a death or dealing with the ugliness of dementia or sickness. She devotes time to teaching her husband skills lost due to brain damage. Shirley has also built and painted birdhouses for the Claresholm Auxiliary and donated a new projector when she learned the old projector had broken, limiting residents’ ability to sing in church. She also has a large garden in which most of the harvest is donated or given to those in need. Shirley will go without so that she can give to others.
Carmelle Steel
When Carmelle Steel is involved in volunteer efforts, she willingly works at getting all of the pieces done. Whether it is chairing organizational committees, fundraising, creating props for theatre, or cleaning up at the end of an event, she’ll get it done. Carmelle is associated with many organizations within the Claresholm community including, the arts society, school council and fundraising society, sports society, the Willow Creek Composite High School alumni association, the parks society, and the summer games committee.
John Wenlock
In three short years, John Wenlock has created a movement in his community that benefits both the young and the old. John started a group called the Youth of Tomorrow which gets together twice a week to participate in organized activities and regularly volunteers in the community.

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