February is “Show your Community Love” month for Endow Manitoba.

Community foundations across our province interviewed a local resident or family with an established history with their community. Community foundations are about more than simply receiving gifts and giving out grants to local charitable groups; they are also about our community’s people, and celebrating them for their efforts and contributions.

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Ken Waddell - Beautiful Plains Community Foundation

Beautiful Plains Community Foundation interviewed Ken Waddell, a newspaper publisher who has spent the last 47 years living in the community.

Why did his family choose to live here?

Employment and proximity to family prompted the Waddells’ move to the area. Ken was offered four jobs within the department of Agriculture and narrowed it down to two positions, one of which was in Neepawa. He and his wife Christine chose the Neepawa-area (they initially lived in Arden), because it was approximately halfway between his family’s farm in Holland and her family farm in Virden.

What is their fondest memory of the community?

“It’s hard to single something out,” said Ken, but beyond family accomplishments, two events stand out. “When the Lily Festival was going well, if I had to pick one,” he said. But added that being elected mayor of Neepawa the first time, which occurred when he was 50, is something else that really stands out.

How did they find raising a family in the community?

When Ken and Christine’s children were young, they lived in Arden and attended elementary school in that community. “It’s a good place to raise kids,” said Waddell, adding that there is an excellent school system.

What is their favourite place to visit in the community?

Having lived in the community for close to 50 years, Ken says that his favourite place was evolved over time. “Now, it’s the Yellowhead Centre” he said, explaining, “Nothing else draws so many people, so often and from so many walks of life.” The facility’s story also resonates with Ken— the hall was repurposed from the salt mine, which had been closed two years before the Waddells came to the community. “It’s a lemon that we [the community] turned into lemonade,” he said, adding, “It’s right up my alley, taking something that was destined for the scrap heap… and turning it around.”

Why did they stay in this community?

At various points, Ken and Chris could have left the community, but opportunities kept the family here. “I liked the community, was rooted in and felt a strong connection,” said Ken of their decision to stay. He added that he also felt it was a good place to grow his business. Ultimately, it was the business opportunities and sense of community that have kept he and his wife in the Neepawa area.

How has the Community Foundation benefitted their community?

While never a board member, Ken has had a front row seat to the Foundation’s growth and development. “I was covering a council meeting as a reporter when the concept of the BPCF was first brought forward,” said Ken. While initially skeptical, he and Christine were among the Foundation’s first donors. “I was a supporter from the get-go,” he said.

Through organizations Ken has been involved in, such as the Yellowhead Centre and the Neepawa Natives hockey team, he has seen the impact of grants first hand. One donation in particular helped support the purchase of new jerseys for the Neepawa Natives. “It was a huge value to the team when we were in a low point,” he said.

The Foundation’s support for the community medical clinic is also something that sticks out. “It’s the single most important community effort we have done,” he said of the project, which has helped the town attract and retain physicians.

Barrie & Helen Hole - Boissevain & Morton Foundation

Boissevain & Morton Foundation interviewed Barrie & Helen Hole, a retired couple who have lived here their whole lives, raised a large family in Boissevain, and who are still very active volunteers in our community.

Why did their family choose to live here?

They chose to live here because they are a farming family. They love this region because of the close knit community and all the recreation facilities available. ie. Provincial Park, Peace Garden, Swimming Pool, Bowling Alley, Curling & Skating Rink, golf course; numerous campgrounds and right next door to a 24-hour port.

How did they find raising a family in the community?

Raising a family in Boissevain brings to mind the quote “It takes a village to raise a child” Helen says. “The volunteerism which the children out here are raised with is a big part of their lives.”

From the schools Youth in Philanthropy program to our volunteer theatre and recycling depot to name a few. “One of our favourite times of the year is July 1st “. At this time we celebrate Canada Day with a march of Flags recognizing all countries represented in our community.

What is their favourite place to visit in the community?

A few of the Holes favourite places to visit are the 3 local museums and Chokecherry Junction. The Wildlife Museum has a fantastic collection of animals. The Moncur Gallery has unique artifacts collected in the Turtle Mountain Area. The Beckoning Hills Museum is a wonderfully catalogued assortment of our past achievements and inventions. Chokecherry Junction has award winning model railway collection featuring a variety of engines and cars representing the CN, CP, Hudson Bay and Ontario Northland Railway. View intricately detailed replicas of a pioneer threshing machine, Port of Churchill ship and tug, refinery, and a pulp and paper mill.

How has the Community Foundation benefitted their community?

The Boissevain & Morton Foundation built a compositing site about three years ago. It includes one bin, which is filled with wood chips for the people of Boissevain & Morton to use. The other two bins are used for grass and leaves and the resulting composite is free to take for our avid gardeners in the area.

One of the recent grant recipients that have impacted our community is a bequest from Jacob D. Dyck to our Health Recruitment fund. This fund allows the board to provide educational funds to the nursing staff of our hospital. This assures continuing care to a degree in our local hospital and two care homes.

Debbie Rea - Carberry & Area Community Foundation

Carberry & Area Community Foundation interviewed Debbie Rea, a nursing professional who has spent the majority of her life here, has multi-generational “roots” in the community, and is a recognized community leader.

Who are you, and why did your family choose to live here/come back?

Hello! My name is Debbie Rea. I am retired from a 26-year nursing career at the Carberry HC and 8 years in Management with PMH Region. Except for 5 years, I have lived and raised a family in the Wellwood & Carberry Area. I am blessed to be living in a community which has always been supportive and caring.
With moving back to Carberry in 2017, we came “HOME” to a community we love!

How has the Community Foundation benefitted your community?

The Carberry & Area Community Foundation encourages many activities for our youth, adults and seniors. With the continued financial support, realistic accomplishments occur, which not only directly affect the recipients, but promotes the development and growth of quality of life in our community.

Thanks goes out to all individuals, families and groups who have donated to the Foundation to ensure the future of our community continues. To the Board of the Foundation who administer the funds, involvement and volunteerism is essential.

Agnes & Les Vanderveen - Carman Area Foundation

Carman Area Foundation interviewed Agnes and Les Vanderveen, a family that has lived in the Carman area for over 40 years.

Who are you (tell us about yourselves)?

My name is Agnes Vanderveen. I am a Homemaker, and have lived in Carman for 41 years. My father moved our family here in 1976 in order to pastor the Canadian Reformed Church in Carman.

Les Vanderveen, a Greenhouse grower and community volunteer, has lived here all his life.

Why did your family choose to live here?

We choose to live here because this is where our roots are (and our children don’t want us to move because Carman is where they want to come home to).

Les loves the Carman community. When I suggested a number of years ago that we had an opportunity to serve overseas he said no, there were many opportunities to serve in our own community. So he volunteers on the Community Health Board, the Personal Care Home project and the Boyne Valley Hostel Corp.

How has the Community Foundation benefitted your community?

The Carman Area Foundation has benefitted the Boyne Regional Library where I am a member of the Expansion/Renovation Committee. The library has always been an important part of our family’s life, opening up the world through reading. They were a major contributor to our daughter’s love of literature and language and she now has her Masters in Linguistics.

The Towers and the Lodge have received money for the Handy Van, and furniture for the halls and common room. These continue to benefit the quality of life for the seniors and their families in our community.

Joanne Thomas - Coldwell Community Foundation

Coldwell Community Foundation interviewed Joanne Thomas, a resident who has lived here for over 30 years, and has multi-generational roots to our community and area.

How long have you lived in the community?

We have lived in Lundar for over 30 years. We first moved (as a Manitoba Hydro family) to Lundar from the north in 1979 and spent 10 years here. My husband’s work took us away for 10 years and when we were deciding on where to retire we decided to move back to Lundar. Our daughter had married and lives here.

Why did your family choose to live here?

We chose to live in Lundar because it had all the amenities we were looking for at the time for us: an arena that offered hockey, figure skating, ringette, curling; grocery stores, school with a large playground, doctor, pharmacy, bank, swimming pool, golf course. This was perfect for us and our 3 children!

What is your fondest memory of the community?

Our fondest memories are the close friendships we have made over the 30 years and the many functions and activities we have enjoyed with this – this is a very close community! Our children had a variety of activities always and in a safe environment – so many great memories! Our favorite place to visit is our local golf course. We all golf and often make it a family affair.

How has the Community Foundation benefitted your community?

The community foundation has benefitted out community by helping keep our swimming pool in good repair – grants have helped paint the interior of the pool, provided a Tot Dock for the very little ones and repair and refurbish the diving board and lifeguard station. Our children all learned to swim at this pool and became lifeguards there. Now our grandchildren are benefitting from it.

Angie Gudnason - Glenboro Community Foundation

Glenboro Community Foundation interviewed Angie Gudnason, a teacher who has lived in the community her entire life. She is married to Robert Gudnason (who works for Canada Border Services), and they have two children together: Sienna and Landon Gudnason.

Why did her family choose to live here?

Angie spoke very fondly of living in Glenboro. She has family roots on both sides of her parent’s family living in the community as well. She finds it a safe place to raise her children. The fact that she has such close family ties to the community is a main reason that she chooses to reside in Glenboro.

What is her fondest memory of the community?

Some of Angie’s fondest memories of living in Glenboro include her time as a child spent at the skating rink and being teased by the local skating rink custodian. She felt that he really loved children and shared a genuine interest in all kids that came to the rink. Angie also has fond memories of her time as a child at the local ball diamonds, watching her parents play ball. Always after the local games there would be a team bar-b-que hosted at one of the member’s homes. It was always a great time for community fellowship. Finally, Angie also enjoyed her time in high school at the local Glenboro School. She played on all the local teams at school, worked as a scorekeeper at games, enjoyed the school spirit activities, and really felt part of a school “family”.

How does she enjoy raising a family in the community?

Raising a family in Glenboro is important to Angie. She would like her children to have the same opportunities that she had while growing up in the local community. She feels that there are always people in the community looking out for her children and appreciates how safe it is for them to reside in Glenboro. Angie speaks highly of the bond that her children have made with local teammates and classmates at school. She also likes the fact that when her family is out in the community, people spend time talking to and visiting with her children. A strong community feeling!

What is their favourite place to visit in the community?

Angie’s favourite places to visit in the community are the ball diamonds and golf course. She feels that her entire family has history in both locations and it makes her feel good to be part of that continuation/opportunity.

How has the Community Foundation benefitted their community?

The local Community Foundation has benefitted Angie’s family in a variety of ways. Angie and her husband have spent many hours upgrading the local ball diamond facilities over the past few years. Angie and Robert have been pivotal in the development/refurbishing of the entire grounds. The Foundation has donated over 11,000 dollars to these upgrades and the overall facility now has become a wonderful venue with multiple age-class diamonds. With local volunteer community labour/coaching and Foundation funding, many children in our area now get a chance to take part in a very good quality of baseball and fastpitch. At the same time Angie speaks highly of the grants given out to the golf course (nearly 15,000 dollars), Health care facility (almost 90,000 dollars), Glenboro Rink (over 13,000 dollars) and local funding to the Glenboro Gaiety Theatre. These valuable donations help make Glenboro a better place for everyone while residing in the area.

Anita Gebler - Morden Area Foundation

Morden Area Foundation interviewed Anita Gebler, an Employment and Assistance Counsellor who also runs her own Family Counselling private practice in town.

Who are you? (Tell us a bit about yourself and your family)

My name is Anita Gebler. I am an Employment and Income Assistance Counsellor for the Department of Families, and I also have my own Family Counselling private practice that I operate out of GG Financial. Working along side my husband Ross and enjoying the downtown vibe that is so active; one of our favourites is to grab our supper at Lucky’s restaurant and then see a client or two before heading home.

How long have you/your family lived in the community?

I was born at the Morden Hospital in 1970 and grew up in Morden. I left Morden when I graduated in 1988 and then moved back 20 years later. Full circle. My father started in the insurance business in Morden in 1968 and eventually opened an office downtown in 1974 as Gebler Agencies.

Why did you choose to live here?

My husband, Ross Ariss, took over the family business when my father passed away in 2005, and manages the financial advisory services at GG Financial Inc. It was during this time that we initiated our return home to Morden. We have 3 children, two of whom moved here with us 10 years ago when Ross and I came back to Morden in 2008.

What is your fondest memory of the community?

Childhood fond memories are plenty: Morden Beach all summer long; Alliance Church Picnics at Stanley Park; Gramma Buhler’s story telling in the neighborhood; Dairy Queen Patio; Playing baseball in Morden Park; the outdoor arena and suffering the cold to go public skating; and tobogganing at the old #2 hole at the golf course. As an adult, I love to visit the Morden Art Gallery and the Art Tour, the stone circles out at the former Debreuil property, and walking the Beach Trail.

How did you find raising a family in the community?

Although we returned home to Morden for work and business opportunity (and fantastic property values), Morden offered our family a life style with city conveniences, but with tranquil country beauty. I also enjoy working as a counsellor in Morden because of the supportive community run resources that ensure that people who need help get it.

How has the Community Foundation benefited your community?

The Morden Area Foundation supports many community run programs like the Friendship Centre (which offers meals on wheels and services for seniors), Pembina Counselling, Healthy Minds, South Central Cancer Resource Centre, and Caring and Sharing. These organizations ensure to assist people who are seeking support for their well-being and their quality of life.

What was a significant project the MAF undertook?

Specifically, my children’s educational experience was enriched by the outdoor classroom at the Ecole Morden Middle School that provided the opportunity for my kids to experience lessons and experiential learning opportunities. This project was funded by the MAF in the amount of $14,000.

Who was a grant recipient that impacted you/your family?

The Morden Collegiate Institute received a grant from the MAF for stage lighting in the amount of $3,950. My kids were involved in MCI theatre class, as well as in Fashion Show Fundraisers for the Youth in Philanthropy events both of which benefited from stage lightening provided by the Foundation to the Morden. The theatrical realities created on stage cannot be achieved without lighting…lighting is essential in creating a theatrical ambiance.

My family takes great pride in the achievements of the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre and acknowledges the grants made to CFDC. My children have attended educational summer camps, digs, and enjoy visiting it frequently. My daughter Emerald believes the CFDC is more important than the Morden Beach, she says it puts Morden on the Global Map. Regardless, I thank the Morden Foundation for supporting the CFDC for the impact on my family’s lives.

Byron & Laurie Edel - Morris Area Foundation

Morris Area Foundation interviewed Byron and Laurie Edel, a local couple who have spent most of their lives in our community; farming and helping to educate our children.

How long have you both lived in Morris, Manitoba?

Byron has lived in the Morris area for his entire life. He grew up on his family’s farm 3 1/2 miles south of Morris and attended Morris School. He graduated in 1983. Byron continues to farm in the Morris area. Laurie moved to Morris at the end of grade 5.

“I loved growing up in a small town”, says Laurie. I had opportunities to participate in school sports and be a member of the student council throughout high school. I married my high school sweetheart, Byron, in 1987 and we settled in the Morris area.

What involvement do you have with your community?

Byron is actively involved in our local church and is a board member of Love Morris. Being an active member of our community is very important. Byron is frequently working in the background supporting many local events such as the Annual Winter Carnival, Community Love Morris Day and Christmas Cheer. He loves helping people.

After completing her education degree, Laurie taught in various places until an opportunity became available locally. “I have been a teacher at the Morris School for the past 15 years. I love being involved in community. As a young person I was actively involved in our local church and a regular volunteer at the local swimming pool. I continued to be employed at the swimming pool and later became a long standing pool board member. Some of my fondest memories are of teaching the local children how to swim. Some of these “kids” are now my colleagues. Over the years I have spent time volunteering to coach many of our school teams. I find working with young people to be very rewarding”, says Laurie.

Why do you love Morris?

“Byron and I have appreciated having our home in the Morris area and raising our three daughters. They have had many opportunities to be part of school, church and community. They have been part of almost every children’s program from CanSkate to hockey and gymnastics to swimming. Currently two of our daughters even work at the local swimming pool! Morris is a wonderful place to live and we feel fortunate to be part of such a vibrant community.”

How has the Community Foundation benefitted your community?

Recently Laurie has worked with students and staff in the formation of the first local Youth in Philanthropy group, which is affiliated with the Morris Area Foundation and the Thomas Sill Foundation. Morris and Rosenort Schools have joined to form one large Youth In Philanthropy group. “This leadership development opportunity will give students a deeper understanding of “community”, volunteerism and public service and make our community even better”, says Laurie.

Alanna & Brian Wilcox - Pinawa Community Foundation

Pinawa Community Foundation interviewed Alanna and Brian Wilcox, an HR Consultant and Director of Project Delivery for the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. Alanna grew up here and returned as an adult while Brian has lived here for almost 30 years.

Why did you choose to live here?

“Pinawa is a beautiful community with the river and green space. It is welcoming to newcomers, a safe place to raise children, and has an abundance of recreational activities to take us from children through to retirement.”

What is your fondest memory of the community?

“They tie into how the community comes together, as a child it was the production of Annie Get Your Gun where my mom Joan Lidfors (choir), sister Shannon (Ballet) and I (Rhythmic Gymnastics) were all part of the production, and as an adult the production of Cinderella where my daughters Kaeli and Chloe, my mom Joan Lidfors and I were all in the cast.”

How did you find raising a family in the community?

“Welcoming (it was easy to make friends as families and for the girls), fun and developmental (lots of activities, parks and great schools), and safe (it was great knowing that your children could run or bike over to their friend’s and you didn’t have to worry about them).”

What is your favourite place to visit in the community?

“The river and the river trail.”

If you have lived elsewhere, why did you come to this community?

“We both came for our jobs with AECL (now CNL) but have grown to love and appreciate our community.”

How has the Community Foundation benefitted your community?

“Pinawa Hospital – Purchase equipment for PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) to allow local Cancer patients to receive treatments in Pinawa.”

Who was a grant recipient that impacted you/your family?

“Many of the grants will have impacted us in subtle ways, however the most direct is that Kaeli’s best friend benefitted from the High School scholarships.”