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Second-annual Farmer’s Appreciation Night coming

Jan. 20 event will be held at the Westlock & District Community Hall
Brad Ison (pictured) and Curtis Anderson will be the featured speakers at the second-annual Farmer’s Appreciation Night being hosted by the Soul Sisters Memorial Foundation. The free event goes Jan. 20 at the Westlock & District Community Hall.

WESTLOCK - Last year, Soul Sisters Memorial Foundation organized its first-ever Farmer’s Appreciation Night; a free event for farmers and their families.

“Last year we had 340 people show up,” said Soul Sisters president Christine Vachon.

Drawing on the success of that event, they have organized the second-annual Farmer’s Appreciation Night Jan. 20 at the Westlock & District Community Hall.

“Jackie Rae from CFCW is returning as my MC,” she noted. As some may recall, Jackie Rae worked at the radio station back in the day many years ago when it was 1370 CFOK. She was hot on the draw to say ‘Yes’. I sent an e-mail and she responded within 20 minutes.”

This is again a free event, and as Vachon noted is their way of saying thank you for the community’s support over the last six years.

And while it’s billed as a farmer’s appreciation night, the guidelines isn’t overly strict.

“If you have lived on a farm, retired from farming, if you are on an acreage and hobby farm or if you work in an industry where you are in contact with farmers on an ongoing basis, please come,” she said.

This year, Vachon has again arranged for two guest speakers. One is Brad Ison, who will be talking on disaster recovery, “Taken on Strength” where strength is support and support is strength. His involvement with that led to mental stress, and he will talk on how he has overcome that.

The second speaker  is Curtis Anderson from the Ponoka area, a former bull rider who was injured at the Ponoka Stampede in 2002.

“He does a big trail ride in May for brain injury. He will be talking about his recovery on not giving up.”

Vachon noted Anderson has pretty much had to relearn everything after his bull riding accident 17 years ago left him with severe brain injury. He will talk about how he has worked through all that with his talk, ‘Life Goes On.’

In addition to some of the same sponsors as last year, there are some new ones to help keep the event free.  

She said a number of groups have also stepped forward to help out with the evening, included the Westlock Rotary Interact youth group and also a group from Golden Sunset 4-H, and Westlock Cadets.

There will also be door prizes, she said, and plans to end the evening with the Paul Harvey video, So God Made a Farmer.

“I need people to register online at our website, or by calling me at 780-349-1178,” said Vachon, adding they need a good count for the caterer. 

When she talked with T&C last week, she said she already had over 50 registered already.

“What I would like when people register is to e-mail a picture or a quote of what farming means to them.”

Doors open at 5 p.m. with supper at 6 p.m. and the presentations by Ison and Anderson begin at 7 p.m.

A month after this event, Soul Sisters will be hosting their third-annual Guys Night Out Feb. 21, focusing on men’s mental health with guest speaker NHL all-star Stanley Cup winner, Olympic gold medalist and relational trauma expert Theo Fleury, who has written a book, Playing With Fire. This is a mature theme evening, recommended for ages 16 and up.

Rod Kaliel of the Westlock Senior ‘AA’ Warriors hockey team will again MC this event, and the “hot-stove panel” following Fleury’s presentation.  There will be a cash bar, door prizes and complimentary pub food. Tickets are $40 and contact Vachon for more information.