Couple recognized for volunteer work

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Vern and Bev Poffenroth are pictured with Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team member Mark Arendz

By Treena Mielke

A retired Rimbey couple who decided to spend their golden years living out of the RV and making the world a better place by helping others, has been recognized by the provincial government for their volunteer time.

Vern and Bev Poffenroth, who looked after the Rimbey arena for several years, have been awarded the Host Hospitality Award for their work at Peaceful Valley Provincial Recreation Area.

The couple received the award at the annual Alberta Parks Volunteer Conference held on Sept. 24 at Canmore.

Bev Poffenroth said she and her husband were honored to receive the award.

“We get paid back tenfold by what we do,” she said. “We just love it.”

Poffenroth said Peaceful Valley Provincial Recreation Area, about 52 kilometres northeast of Rimbey, is a day lodge for elderly and disabled groups. She said residents of nearby lodges come in the morning accompanied by their caregivers to spend the day. Caregivers look after basic needs of the patients.

“We help them on and off the bus and Vern has a little golf cart and he can take them on the walking paths. They just love it. Many of them were farmers and it’s so nice for them to get out and smell the leaves and enjoy fall.”

Anne Douglas, director of communications for Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation, said the couple has been ardent volunteers at Peaceful Valley Provincial Recreation Area since 2005, providing complete care for the special needs of the seniors visiting Peaceful Valley.

“From maintaining the lodge, to make sure the more than two kilometers of trails are well groomed and safe for both wheelchairs and walkers, to attending repairs and manning the barbecue. Vern and Bev are considered essential to the smooth operation of the facility.”

“I understand that their efforts play a big role in helping the facility stay available to the public at no charge,” she said.

Albertans were honored in five categories at the annual Alberta Parks Volunteer Conference.

Award nominations were submitted by Albertans, parks staff, volunteers and partners.

Each year, more than 2,500 Albertans volunteer more than 100,000 hours of their time to assist with parks programs. Volunteers are involved in customer service and conservation efforts, which include greeting park visitors, assisting in educational programming, and assisting with maintenance, administration and scientific research.

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