Although the weather was not cooperative this weekend, the largest Lions district, geographically, held its annual convention in Camrose. There were a number of interesting presentations and speakers throughout the two day event, including a very special presentation, The Citizen of Distinction Award. The Citizen of Distinction, awarded to a very special person who has demonstrated a personal commitment to service, is presented with the Lions foundation’s highest honor, the Melvin Jones Fellowship, a recognition of a commitment to humanitarian work honoring the recipient of their commitment to helping others.
Nominated by the Blindman Valley Lions Club, Peggy Makofka was awarded this honor. Makofka has served with the FCSS Rimbey organization for the past 30 years. In her current capacity of Executive Director, she has overseen more than 20 preventative social programs throughout Rimbey and the County of Ponoka.
“I’m really feeling quite overwhelmed, surprised and very pleased to be recognized,” said Makofka, who is currently the executive director of the Rimbey FCSS.
Makofka will be coming up to 32 years of working for them this October.
“It’s been a great career,” she said.
“I have a desire to volunteer and serve people in the community that have some challenges and things.”
Even outside of her work, Makofka likes to volunteer and be involved in things over the years.
One such program is the Opening Minds through Art (OMA), which is an evidence-based art therapy program for people living with dementia. This initiative brought OMA to rural central Alberta and expanded the capacity of those working with dementia clients who live in the community, as well as providing a new volunteer opportunity to the youth of our community. This is important for increasing accessibility to programs for rural residents.
She has served as a school trustee, worked at the Rimbey Hospital, serves on the board of directors for Rimbey’s Evergreen Co-op, volunteers at the Central Alberta Racetrack all summer long and served on the board of the Learning Council. She oversees the 100 + volunteers and staff that provide home care, housekeeping assistance, home visitations, meal delivery programs and the Rimbey Food Bank, among many other amazing programs within this community.
In her own words she will tell you “It’s been an easy job to love. I think I’ve also been blessed with a mind that (sees) the big picture – there are always possibilities.”
“There are so many ways that volunteers can help and be involved. They are the backbone of the organization,” she added.
“It’s such a heartwarming service and organization to belong to.”
All of these programs are successful because they have someone that is able to organize and gather the right team and materials for them. A true leader that has served this community for more than 30 years, a community that is truly so very lucky and grateful to have her.
-Submitted by Trudy Rangen