What makes a small town hero?
According to Erin Steeves’ co-workers at the Rimbey Public Library, a small town hero comes in a small, neat package with shoulder length hair, a winning smile and a gentle, kind and caring way with children.
“The kids come up to us and say, ‘Where’s Erin,’” said library employee Emily Peacock. “They just love her.”
Peacock, Jeanine Went, Shelby Patten and Erica Trenson nominated Steeves in The UFA Small Town Heroes Contest.
The girls cited several good reasons why Steeves should be selected as a small town hero.
“She is very active in the community,” said Went. “She is on the volunteer fire department and she makes the community a safer place by helping to fight fires and help with traffic accidents around the town of Rimbey.”
Steeves also assists 4-H groups by helping with public speaking workshops, at the annual show and sale, at campouts and during rock climbing expeditions.
In the past, the young nominee has also assisted with theatre productions of the Baying Baboons, whose proceeds go to the library, and the Springdale Players, a theatre group that has used their funds to build a new community hall.
Even though Steeves’ volunteerism is far-reaching and diverse, children hold a special place in her heart.
“She’s creative and artistic and the kids just love her. She is very positive and an inspiration to us,” said Went.
Steeves, 22, is the summer reading program co-coordinator at the library and admits that her favorite part of the job is working with children.
“I love working with kids. It’s exciting for me to see them come in and be excited.”
The young nominee said as much as it is true that the library promotes literacy, the programs offered also help the children gain confidence and self-esteem.
Steeves grew up at Hoadley and attended Bluffton and Rimbey schools, and the Hoadley Church. She said it is fun to go back and help out with the youth program at the church she attended as a youngster.
“I’m a youth sponsor there,’ she said. “And it’s cool. Some of the issues they’re having are things I’ve experienced myself not so long ago.”
As well as being active in the community and working at the library, Steeves is taking courses on line through NorQuest College to become a licensed practical nurse.
Wedding bells are in the plans for the young lady, who is engaged to Gabriel Siebold, an electrician who lives in Rimbey. The couple is to be wed in September and they plan to stay in town after they are married.
“Hopefully I can get a job at the hospital and still work at the library, as well,” said Steeves.
It seems Steeves, with her friendly caring, caring attitude and community minded spirit, is one of those people who certainly deserves to be recognized as a small town hero.
Her positive attitude is contagious, and her priorities clear, a decision she has made, despite, or perhaps, because of her busy lifestyle.
“You make time for what’s important,” she said.
Nominees for the UFA Small Town Heroes contest are judged through three rounds. The top 25 are decided based on a preliminary judging panel and the top 10 and grand prize winners are decided by a separate judging panel. The top 10 judging is determined by the impact on community, (70 per cent) originality (20 per cent) and creativity and votes received (10 per cent).
Two winning small town heroes will receive $10,000 for their community along with a concert by Paul Brandt. Eight runners-up will each receive $2,500 for their community.
The winners are to be announced Aug. 3 and grand prize winners and runner up announcement is to be Sept. 10.
To vote on line or for more information about the contest go to www.ufa.com/smalltownheroes.