Spring Celebration and Awards Night - 2014 Award Winners - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Spring Celebration and Awards Night - 2014 Award Winners

Person of the Year – 2 Awards

Dean Fritsma – Grande Prairie

The first winner of the Person of the Year award is a gentleman from Grande Prairie. Dean Fritsma is well-known throughout the community for his friendly and welcoming personality, as well as his hard work.  He has overcome many barriers, when it comes to achieving success for himself, as well as leaving a mark on the community.  He has been employed at Alberta Health Services for six years and has contributed to the self-advocacy movement in the Northwest by being a great example for his peers.  Dean was elected as President of the Social Club – a club that is dedicated to promoting self-advocacy for the individuals we support, as well as head of fund raising and social events.  Dean has the gift of encouragement and the ability to make others feel like they can do things they never thought they could.

Photograph of Dean Fritsma accepting the award from Judy Tremaine and Naresh Bhardwaj.
Dean Fritsma accepting the Person of the Year Award.
(Left to right) Judy Tremaine, Regional Director for FSCD/PDD, Dean Fritsma and Naresh Bhardwaj, Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities

Elizabeth Ramsankar – Grande Prairie

The second winner of the Person of the Year award is a caring and passionate, hard-working young woman from Grande Prairie.  Elizabeth Ramsankar has never let her disability get in the way of achieving her goals or dreams. She is a member of the Special Olympics and has recently travelled to Calgary with her swim team and also participated in 5 pin bowling, meeting and cheering on her teammates! Her time is also spent helping out in the community by collecting and selling bottles so she can donate the funds to local charities. This young woman is a member of Toastmasters International and holds the role of Vice-President. She has written many speeches and has even won a provincial award. Elizabeth has been working at Subway for 14 years, enjoying her job and her co-workers. Her supervisor is always happy with her performance and considers her to be a very valuable member of their team. Her friendly and polite demeanor makes her fun to be around.

Photograph of Elizabeth Ramsankar accepting the award from Judy Tremaine and Naresh Bhardwaj.
Elizabeth Ramsankar accepting the Person of the Year Award.
(Left to right) Judy Tremaine, Regional Director for FSCD/PDD, Elizabeth Ramsankar and Naresh Bhardwaj, Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities

Individual Leadership Award – 2 Awards

Gary Jantz – Grande Prairie

The first winner of the Individual leadership Award is an outstanding gentleman with many wonderful attributes. Gary Jantz is courteous and well-spoken combined with his compassion and loyalty. He is always polite and welcoming towards others making them feel at ease in situations when they may not.  He participates in many activities within the community - Special Olympics teams such as floor hockey, bowling and curling. This young man has been employed at Red Rock for many years, along with volunteering at many hockey games. Gary also attends Toastmasters, Northwest Self Advocacy group and People Planning Together.  His journey to accomplish these goals is inspiring – as he has gained the confidence and perseverance to overcome his fear of holding a conversation. He is now a great leader and inspiration to others with his enthusiasm and his love for life. He recognizes people for what they are, always encouraging the best part of them to shine. He has chosen to be a voice for others that cannot speak, and to encourage those who can.

Photograph of Gary Jantz accepting the award from Judy Tremaine and Naresh Bhardwaj.
Gary Jantz accepting the Individual Leadership Award.
(Left to right) Judy Tremaine, Regional Director for FSCD/PDD, Gary Jantz and Naresh Bhardwaj, Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities

Tarah Patterson – Grande Prairie

The second winner of the Individual Leadership Award is  a wonderful young woman from Grande Prairie who cares passionately about the rights of people with developmental disabilities. Tarah Patterson campaigns for people’s rights to access affordable, available and accessible mental health supports within the community. She has been employed at Goodwill for a number or years and is very proud of the work she does.  She works very hard to maintain her independence and promote a positive and inclusive view of all individuals within society. Tarah is Co-Chair of the PDD Northwest Self Advocates and represents the Northwest at the Provincial Self Advocate Advisory meetings, where she advises on PDD direction and provides feedback on PDD policies and decisions. She also represents the Northwest on the AACT (Albertans Advocating for Change Together) Provincial Committee, which helps ensure that self-advocates’ voices are heard on issues that affect them, such as funding, AISH, housing and transportation. Tarah is a passionate and amazing self-advocate and a wonderful friend.

Photograph of Tarah Patterson accepting the award from Judy Tremaine and Naresh Bhardwaj.
Tarah Patterson accepting the Individual Leadership Award.
(Left to right) Judy Tremaine, Regional Director for FSCD/PDD, Tarah Patterson and Naresh Bhardwaj, Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities

Community Citizenship Award – 1 Award

Jonathan Lorentzen

Jonathan Lorentzen is a very caring, faithful and energetic person. He generously volunteers his time each week with organizing and setting up for Joy Chapel in Grande Prairie. Joy Chapel is a volunteer run program that helps the individuals that attend find ways to socialize with each other as well as practice their religious beliefs. Jonathan  also sits on the Joy Chapel Board and helps this event happen as well as organizing meals and picking up pizzas for dinner. If people need a ride to Joy Chapel, he happily picks them up so they can attend.  During the summer, he helps spread the word and organizes movie nights, along with planning the Joy Camps. He spends the two weeks at camp, planning activities for the individuals to make their stay a memorable one. His enthusiasm and his volunteer time spent, help make Joy Chapel an event that many individuals enjoy.

Photograph of Jonathan Lorentzen  accepting the award from Judy Tremaine and Naresh Bhardwaj.
Jonathan Lorentzen accepting the Community Citizenship Award.
(Left to right) Judy Tremaine, Regional Director for FSCD/PDD, Jonathan Lorentzen and Naresh Bhardwaj, Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities

Community Disability Service Sector Leadership Award – 3 Awards

Northern Lights Ranch - Hythe

This Northwest service provider has recognized the positive effect that person-centred thinking has on the individuals that they support.   They ensure that all staff have the opportunity to engage in all person-centred training opportunities. They have developed a person-centred approach from the group up, supporting their individuals to be involved in their lives, making their own decisions that will increase their well-being and community inclusion. Living in a small rural community, they have recognized the challenges as well as the opportunities this can bring and have looked to gaps in the community to develop inclusive employment and community engagement opportunities. The individuals that Northern Lights Ranch serves participate in everyday local community activities including, hunting, fishing, camping, local arts and culture, farming, cross country skiing, horseback riding, pow-wows, community barbecues, and many others. This best practice has positively influenced the view of people with developmental disabilities within their local rural community. Individuals are actively engaged in local community events and activities, to the extent that they are welcomed as members of the community.

Sarah Christie-Wurz – Grande Prairie

Our second award for the Community Disability Service Sector leadership Award goes to a resident of Grande Prairie who works for Goodwill Industries. Sarah Christie-Wurz goes above and beyond her expected job description as she works to do her best to make the clients she supports feel loved and valued. She even motivates the parents and the community at large to participate in her enthusiastic endeavours. One example was a fundraising “Overnight Karaoke-a-Thon” which she hosted at the Forbes Presbyterian Church. Those who participated had a great time singing, dancing, visiting, doing crafts and snacking to their hearts content. More than $1,650 was raised for CEPS Grande Prairie.  This energetic woman gives freely of her time in hopes of giving others a fun time to remember.

Photograph of Sarah Christie-Wurz accepting the award from Judy Tremaine and Naresh Bhardwaj.
Sarah Christie-Wurz accepting the Community Disability Service Sector Leadership Award.
(Left to right) Judy Tremaine, Regional Director for FSCD/PDD, Sarah Christie-Wurz and Naresh Bhardwaj, Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities

Shannon Websdale – Grimshaw

Throughout the years, Shannon Websdale has been open to trying new programming ideas, based on the needs and wants of the clients. He has taken both his professional and personal experiences and used them to develop amazing skills in listening to clients and their families and taking that information and turning it into programming that meets the needs of those they serve. Creating “Golf World” in Peace River has provided a social outlet for the general population and it provides jobs and community capacity for people with disabilities. Some of the greens are gardens which help support the nutritional needs of some people as well. “Our Place” in Grande Prairie, encompasses an area where persons with disabilities can come and take part in learning and developing their independent living skills, enjoy a good party, take part in Karaoke and other group activities. He also had a vision to design, develop and create a brand new 76 unit Designated Supportive Living Facility in Grimshaw, called Stone Brook. This residence provides supports to individuals in a safe, caring and beautiful new complex. It meets the extraordinary medical needs of people in a home atmosphere. Shannon is a man who likes to create solutions that meet the needs of the citizens who live in the communities that he is part of. He reaches out to create a better world for those who may not have the ability to do so themselves.

Photograph of Shannon Websdale accepting the award from Judy Tremaine and Naresh Bhardwaj.
Shannon Websdale accepting the Community Disability Service Sector Leadership Award.
(Left to right) Judy Tremaine, Regional Director for FSCD/PDD, Shannon Websdale and Naresh Bhardwaj, Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities

Family Leadership Award – 1 Award

Connie and Gary McGovern – County of Grande Prairie

The McGoverns are a kind-hearted, generous and loving family. Gary and Connie McGovern opened their house in order to accommodate other families who have adults with developmental disabilities. They personally helped not only the individual, but also the parents of the individual in relation to family managed support program.  They gave their support without any conditions by allowing their personal resources to be used by the individuals living in their home. The leadership approach of this family is amazing because they always make themselves available for the success of the program. They developed an environment wherein the individuals have an opportunity to exercise their rights, discover and enhance their abilities and so much more. They inspired the lives of other people, especially the staff of the program, to do the same thing by setting themselves as a good example. Everyone in the program and the community at large, earned their respect because of their love, dedication and effort to make this program work. 

Photograph of Gary and Connie McGovern accepting the award from Judy Tremaine and Naresh Bhardwaj. Connie McGovern is holding her granddaughter.
Caption: Gary and Connie McGovern accepting the Family Leadership Award.
(Left to right) Judy Tremaine, Regional Director for FSCD/PDD, Gary and Connie McGovern (holding their granddaughter), and Naresh Bhardwaj, Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities

Created: 2014-07-10
Modified:
PID: 17613