ATHABASCA – The Town of Athabasca tipped its hat to the many volunteers and town staff who work behind the scenes every day to make sure the community functions, as the annual volunteer recognition dinner returned after a two-year hiatus.
The Athabasca Regional Multiplex hosted the event Sept. 15 for about 120 people, giving town officials an opportunity to praise volunteers and show their appreciation with a steak dinner, some drinks and a few laughs.
“I take this very seriously when it comes to volunteers,” said mayor Rob Balay, fresh off his shift on the grill. “Let me begin by saying that your generousity and volunteering has a lasting impact on our community and your willingness to share both your time and your talent by volunteering to serve on public boards and committees or on the fire department says a lot about each of you as human beings.”
The mayor pointed out each community group and committee by name, them for their contributions before moving into the long service recognition portion of the evening, where firefighters and town staff were praised.
Balay and CAO Rachel Ramey brought up utilities supervisor Terry Kosinski and public works operator Gerry Richards, who were each lauded for their 15 years with the municipality. Ramey has also been with the town for 15 years, holding various positions until becoming CAO in 2021. Matin Silkie and Kurtis Katona were also recognized for 10 and five years respectively.
Fire chief Travis Shalapay also joined Balay to present firefighter Cody Shalapay with his 10-year recognition. Others who were not in attendance but have been with the department for five years include John Martel, Silvio Kohlschmidt and Kyle McDonald.
“Please know that your volunteerism is recognized, appreciated, valued and cherished. We thank you and look forward to continuing to work with you in the future. So please give yourselves a hand,” Balay said.