Premier’s Council 2014 Award Winners - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Premier’s Council 2014 Award Winners

Larry Pempeit (Edmonton) – Gary McPherson Leadership Award

Larry Pempeit has unselfishly improved the lives of people with disabilities in Alberta since the 1970’s.

Larry sustained a spinal cord injury in Edson which left him a quadriplegic. After going through rehabilitation, Larry began his long and distinguished career as editor for The Spokesman, a monthly publication for people with disabilities.

In 1981 Larry started with the Canadian Paralympic Association. He made his impact working with newly-injured people, beginning right at their hospital beds. Larry ensured people with spinal cord injuries had input in their rehabilitation and care — a practice still used today. Larry retired from CPA in the fall of 2014.

Larry also made substantial breakthroughs in housing for people with disabilities. He established personal care programs in three Edmonton buildings — Sir Douglas Bader Towers, Abbey Road Co-op and Creekside.

Larry’s vision of self-directed care has empowered hundreds of people with disabilities to live independently. In 2013, Larry led a movement to preserve support services in three buildings when their future was in jeopardy.

In the spring of 2014, he was honored at Edmonton’s 63rd annual Salute to Excellence Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Never one to sit still, Larry has recently established a consulting business on various disabilities issues.

Larry has made a significant difference in the lives of persons with disabilities and is a proven leader in his community.

Jack Smart (Calgary) - Marlin Styner Achievement Award

Jack Smart is a strong leader and advocate for people with disabilities in Calgary. Jack exemplifies many qualities that Marlin Styner exhibited, such as the importance of relationships in the community, mentoring others and a positive attitude.

Jack has been a tireless volunteer in Calgary, working to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. He has been involved as a member of The City of Calgary Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA) for the past nine years and the designated member to the Taxi & Limousine Advisory Committee (TLAC), spearheading an increase of accessible taxis and service provisions for people with disabilities. As part of a team of people with a variety of disabilities, he reviews plans and makes recommendations on City of Calgary projects. Those projects can include buildings, barrier-free walkways, pathways, parks or other properties. He has been a trusted advisor to City Council regarding access concerns, specifically pertaining to people with mobility issues.

Jack’s interest and commitment has led to recommendations to have the Calgary Transit, Light Rail Transit (LRT) system accessible to people who have mobility issues. His input into designing four new barrier-free Recreation Facilities and three new Affordable Housing projects in Calgary are only a couple examples of Jack’s desire for a more inclusive city.

Jack has provided consulting services to other businesses and organizations in Calgary, including Telus, Bell and the Calgary Stampede to improve workplace and public area accessibility ..

With his strong leadership and commitment to people with disabilities, Jack has made Calgary a better place to live and strives for the greatest level of accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Nabeel Ramji (Calgary) – Award of Excellence in Public Awareness

Nabeel Ramji has demonstrated passion, vision and commitment to making lasting positive change in the area of accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Nabeel has been described as extremely positive with a “can do” attitude. He lives with Cerebral Palsy and one of his first major accomplishments was being awarded Honours with Distinction with his Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from the University of Calgary – while typing with one finger!

Nabeel saw a need to improve accessibility because of his own unique experience. He is currently working with the Strategic Group and has been across Alberta creating awareness through his extensive research regarding “accessibility”, “aging in place” and “transportation”.  Throughout this initiative, he has built a large network of government, private and public sector leaders. Nabeel has called his initiative, “Accessibility for all Albertans”. 

Nabeel hopes that his efforts will affect how renovations and new buildings are meeting and exceeding code. The City of Calgary has asked Nabeel to join them for their Seniors/Aging in Place Strategy.  He has brought together his network to support him with partners in the areas of engineering, architecture and contractors.

Gord’s no frills (Wetaskiwin) - Award of Excellence in Employment

Gord Lodge, the Franchise owner of Gord’s no frills in Wetaskiwin, has been an active participant in his community for many years. He is well known for supporting fundraisers and other activities in the community. Gord is known to regularly donate food, provide special prices for local interest groups and offer his time to lend a helping hand. 

Gord employs many different types of individuals, including people with disabilities. He is described as someone who is understanding, patient, and respectful toward all of his staff members. This has resulted in many loyal, long-term employees.

Gord’s no frills received a 2012 Business Award from the Wetaskiwin & District Chamber of Commerce. This year his business was been nominated by members of the community for Business of the Year and also, Employer of Choice.

Gord takes great pride in his community and all the people in it.

Sorento Custom Homes (Red Deer) - Award of Excellence in Community

Sorento Custom Homes is being recognized for their interest and participation in creating a better community to include people that have disabilities.

Sorento Custom Homes has provided significant support to the Learning About Food Together (LAFT) group and their Ronald McDonald Home for Dinner participation.

The LAFT initiative began when a group of people who had disabilities wanted to learn about healthy eating and food preparation. They started by hosting sessions for their peers and soon identified that they wanted to share their food learning and further develop their culinary skills by volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in their Home for Dinner Program. The group received some sponsorship; however when Sorento Custom Homes was approached the company went above and beyond expectations. 

Sorento Custom Homes approached other local businesses to support this great cause. All of the businesses matched the donation from Sorento Custom Homes, allowing the group to prepare many meals for families at the Ronald McDonald House.

Sorento Custom Homes also sponsored a program initiated by the MS Society. The recreationally based program was designed to connect young people with MS and build a strong natural support group.

Sorento Custom Homes supports the individuals that live in the community, creating a more inclusive community for all.

Modified: 2014-12-03
PID: 17696