BARRHEAD - County of Barrhead councillors nominated Marilyn Flock as their pick for the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.
Councillors finalized their selection during their Sept. 6 meeting, choosing Flock from a field of eight potential nominees.
The medal is a new award created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension to the thrones of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries. About 7,000 Albertans that have made a significant contribution to their communities and the province will receive the award.
On Sept. 6, the 96-year-old monarch passed away.
County manager Debbie Oyarzun said the province has tasked the Rural Municipalities Association and Alberta Municipalities (formerly the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association) to help their members nominate deserving residents in their communities.
She added that all nominations must come through one of the province's partners. In addition to the nominees, MLAs, Indigenous leaders, and members of Alberta's Order of Excellence (the highest honour the province can bestow on a citizen) will automatically receive the medal.
"The eligibility criteria are intentionally broad so that it can recognize a wide range of accomplishments in many areas," Oyarzun said.
The only criterion is that medal winners must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and have been alive on Feb. 6, 2022, the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne and have a tangible link to Alberta when they receive the medal.
"What they want you to focus on when looking at potential nominees are citizens that have 'helped build the Alberta of today' through their contributions and achievements that helped them stand out whether it is in their careers or as a volunteer," she said.
Why Marilyn Flock?
Council chose Flock as their nominee after an in-camera session.
After the meeting, reeve Doug Drozd said while the other potential nominees all would have made good selections, he believes Flock just stood out above the rest.
Flock's accomplishments include being the longest serving agricultural fieldman, retiring from the County of Barrhead after 39 years of service. She was one of the founding members of Barrhead's Community Garden; the Farm Women's Day Conference; the West Central Conservation Group; and the Waters Edge Resource Group.
Flock is also a standing supporter of area 4-H Clubs, the Barrhead Agricultural Society and the scouting movement, and in 2015 she was named Barrhead's Volunteer of the Year.
"I think what put Marilyn over the top for me was her work and influence she had during her long career as an agricultural fieldman," Drozd said.
Over her career, he said Flock was responsible for pioneering many of the farm-based conservation programs that still occur in Alberta today, such as Partners in Conservation and City Slickers (an education program that teaches elementary school children about agriculture, specifically where their food comes from) among several others.
"Obviously, she is a local leader that has impacted the community as a volunteer, but the influence she had as an agricultural fieldman and everyone she was able to mentor throughout the years, that is she has had the most impact," he said.
Drozd noted not only did Flock mentor people in the County of Barrhead but the entire province through the Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen.
"(Through the association), she was a mentor to a couple of generations of fieldmen that came up behind her. And for much of this time was when the position was a bit of an 'old boys' club. Think of the title, fieldMAN," he said.