By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
The 2017 Town of Claresholm Citizen of the Year is someone who has put her stamp on every corner of the community.
Carmelle Steel, was presented the award at the Volunteer Appreciation hosted by Claresholm and District Family and Community Support Services at the community centre on April 18 in front of a full house.
“This means more than you know,” Steel, caught totally by surprise, said upon accepting the award.
She commended her husband Rob and two sons, Evan and Adam, for all their support, as well as her mother and sister who were in attendance.
Mayor Doug MacPherson presented the award.
“This volunteer has been an active participant on both parent councils. For West Meadow School she created and organized the fundraising group that is still active today. At the high school she acted as secretary and chair and for many years she produced the monthly newsletter. Her efforts were focused on helping to improve communications between the school administration and parents and also to increase the participation of parents,” MacPherson read. “At WCCHS (Willow Creek Composite High School) she also organized a welcome barbecue for students starting the school year and handed out care kits to kids coming to write exams. She is the chair of the WCCHS alumni association.
“The Wall of Fame in the high school which features the distinguished alumni award is maintained by this volunteer.”
Steel was also a founding member of the parks society, whose fundraising efforts built the Claresholm Spray Park.
She developed the sponsorship package for the Southern Alberta Summer Games in 2015 and helped raise almost $100,000 to host the games in Claresholm.
As part of the high school sports society, she coordinated casino fundraising and many other fundraisers throughout the school year. With the funds raised, they purchased equipment and uniforms and made upgrades to the football field.
This past year she co-chaired the 2A Boys’ Basketball Provincial Championship tournament, hosting 11 teams from around the province.
Steel started working on this last fall, set up 22 sub-committees and appointed committee heads, then worked with each of these heads to ensure they were completing their responsibilities and offering assistance to do so.
She organized the general meeting and met with each committee head separately throughout the process.
During the tournament itself, she was at the school from morning to night.
“Anyone who has ever worked with her knows the hours she puts in and the attention to detail and high standard she demands of herself,” MacPherson read.
Steel worked as production manager for the Claresholm Arts Society, setting up and supervising the theatre production, arranging for the script and music and building the set and stage. In the past she did all the promotion and publicity for the society.
She also devotes her time working on the community hall board, getting renovations and improvements done to the centre by writing grant applications and fundraising.
Steel donated her time helping at the inaugural Claresholm Winter Festival, and is currently organizing the annual fibre arts show.
While she worked with the chamber of commerce, she coordinated the creation of two wall murals downtown.
For many years she organized the activities in Amundsen park for Canada Day and activities for children during Fair Days, and helped with the bench show.
Steel follows in the footsteps of previous winners Marcus Heck, Duke Ferguson, Jim Pedersen, Blanche Fleming, Hugh Thompson, Harold Seymour, Gladys Sutcliffe, George Bishop, Don Leonard, Mable Both, Shirley Isaacson, Kathy Davies, Noreen Bishop, Doug Leeds, Rosemary Wishart and Arnold McAulay, Syd Gray, and last year’s winner Roy Pachal.
citizen of the year – Carmelle Steel was named the Town of Claresholm’s 2017 citizen of the year at the Volunteer Appreciation hosted by Claresholm and District Family and Community Support Services at the community centre on April 18. Here from left are Roy Pachal, 2016 citizen of the year, Steel, and Doug MacPherson, mayor of Claresholm. Photo by Rob Vogt