When Michael Jarmoluk picked up his mail recently, he was in for a big surprise.
Inside an inconspicuous brown envelope was a certificate signed by The Honourable Doug Black.
The certificate, dated July 1, was The Senator’s Contribution Award and was presented to Michael Jarmoluk in recognition of his outstanding dedication to the Town of Rimbey community through volunteerism and civic engagement.
“It was a complete surprise,” said the 93-year-old veteran.
In view of Jarmoluk’s impressive track record of community volunteering, the award should not have come as such a surprise. Over the years, the Rimbey resident has dedicated countless hours to helping to make his community a better place for everyone.
“My wife Helen used to say I was married to the community,” he said with a laugh.
All joking aside, Jarmoluk has, indeed, during the 68 years he has lived in Rimbey, worked long and hard within many organizations.
The Rimbey chapter of Jarmoluk’s life began when he arrived here from London, England where he was living after World War 11.
His previous life chapter saw him enduring two grueling years in a Siberian work camp, before enlisting in the Allied army.
He followed his brother, Leon to Rimbey, ready to make a new life for himself.
Upon arrival he opened a photography studio and a few years later he married Helen Jepson. The couple had three children; Loretta, Patrick and Teresa. Michael and Helen now have six grandchildren.
No stranger to hard work, Jarmoluk spent many hours at his studio, developing, printing and processing the pictures himself in a basement darkroom.
But, even though he spent long hours at his business and was a dedicated family man, he knew he wanted to be give back to the community in which he lived.
In 1957, the year he became a Canadian citizen, Jarmoluk was invited to join the Lions Club.
He is still a member of that organization. He has served as president and has worked on projects including pancake days, Oktoberfest, casinos, playgrounds and a walking trail. A few years ago he received the highest Lions International Award, the Melvin Jones Fellowship.
He also served as president of the Chamber of Commerce and helped to build the Rimbey golf course in 1954.
Among his list of accomplishments is his involvement with the expansion of the arena and serving as chairman of the main street improvement project in 1979.
As a member of the Catholic Church in Rimbey, he is proud that he was a member of the building committee and the finance committee. He also is a life member of the Knights of Columbus.
“I have so many life memberships, I guess I will never die,” Jarmoluk says in his book, ‘Home at last.’
Receiving the award is certainly an honour for Jarmoluk, but his true reward is living among friends in a community that he has made his own.
“I’ve seen Rimbey grow to a wonderful community with all the necessary facilities, for which were all working through the years. Although I didn’t find gold on the streets as I was taught about American in school in the Old Country, I found wonderful people here who accepted me as one of their own,” he says in his book.
Jarmoluk is one of 219 outstanding Albertans who received the Senator’s Contribution Award, which was presented to nominated individuals in each of Alberta’s cities, towns and villages that participated in the nomination process.
“It is important to recognize those who make quiet contributions to our communities and I wanted to use my position as an elected-Senator to work with each of Alberta’s communities to find exceptional individuals,” said The Honourable Doug Black.
Ray Jarl from Rimbey also received the award, but was not available for an interview by press time.