Community foundations across our province interviewed a long-term, local resident or family to share their history with their community, what they think contributes to their community’s greatness, and their hopes for their community in the future.

Click on any story to read more.

Terry Wielgosh - Brokenhead River Community Foundation

The Brokenhead River Community Foundation recently had the opportunity to interview long term community member, Terry Wielgosh.

Terry’s family have been part of the fabric of the community for over 100 years. Her grandparents moved from Cromwell to Beausejour in 1920. She represents the third generation of her family but it goes much further. Terry and her husband Al have two sons and they now both reside in the community with their families, which now represent five generations in the area.

Having graduated in Beausejour, Terry went on to University in Winnipeg to develop a career in education. Her first year as a teacher was spent in the city and she had planned on staying there. However, to assist her family at a time of need, she gave up her job as a teacher and moved back to Beausejour to lend a helping hand with the family business. But it wasn’t long after that there was a call to do some substitute teaching at the local school and soon after she was working full time once again as a teacher – something she continued for another 33 years.

Having been born and raised in the community and then raising their own family here, Terry believes the quality of life offered here is something special. As an example, never once in all the years of living here has she ever felt unsafe. Something as simple as being able to go for a walk – at all hours – and not feel threatened or concerned in doing it is something you may not be able to do in other places. She also likes the fact that we have, and always have had, recreation facilities or opportunities for all ages available in the community.

For the future generations that follow, Terry would like to see the community build on the opportunities for all ages. Whether its expanding, maintaining or developing recreation or active living opportunities or encouraging others to move their families here or more businesses here, she feels the community has so much to offer. She would also encourage our leaders and our future leaders to work together to continue to make our community a great place to live and raise a family.

Having had the opportunity to be involved with the local foundation as a past board member, participating in events that raise funds or awareness for the foundation or by assisting as a member of the community, Terry knows and sees the importance of the foundation in the community. Whether it is the funding of a community group/organization or by providing a scholarship/bursary to a local graduating student, the local foundation plays a significant role in the community. As it grows so does the impact of it so Terry would encourage all community members to learn more about the foundation and all it has to offer.

Cliff and Eleanor Nicholson - Beautiful Plains Community Foundation
Cliff and Eleanor Nicholson

I had the privilege to interview two vital members of the community, Cliff and Eleanor Nicholson. During our interview, it became very clear this couple has a strong sense of community. They both are very humble when we discussed their accomplishments and the impact they have had, and continue to have, on the community.

Where have you lived?

Born and raised in Neepawa, Cliff spent much of his youth working on the family farm, playing hockey and enjoying trips to “town” with siblings. Work often took Cliff away from Neepawa, but Neepawa always remained home.

Eleanor was raised in Reeve, MB. This is a small community south east of McCreary. Eleanor’s parents were instrumental in the establishment of this community, building a country store and operating a post office, bulk oil outlet and a dance hall. In 1959, Eleanor’s family moved to Neepawa, with Eleanor’s father establishing a Studebaker car dealership in Neepawa.

Where did you work?

Cliff’s first job was as a mail order clerk in Winnipeg at Eaton’s. Cliff then trained as a telegrapher, learning Morse code. With this skill, he worked as an assistant agent for CPR, then with Canadian National Telegraph and then MTS. In 1994, Cliff retired from MTS after 34 years of service. Cliff has seen technology change significantly over time, with the transition from open, to buried cable wire, to microwave stations, fibre optics and he can’t imagine what is next.

Eleanor worked at her family store in Reeves, MB. After the family moved to Neepawa, Eleanor worked at Strock Hardware, Macleods and the Neepawa Land Titles Office. In 1999, Eleanor retired from the Neepawa Land Titles Office after 25 years of service. Eleanor talked about regionalization and the impact to the Neepawa Land Titles staff during that period. With the Land Titles office going from a staff of 14 serving the north, to a staff of 7 serving a much smaller region.

Why did you choose Neepawa for your home?

Cliff could not have imagined living anywhere else. They both agreed it is the PEOPLE. Neepawa is safe and has the amenities you need and is close to both Winnipeg and Brandon.

Volunteering and investing in the community is a large part of Cliff and Eleanor. Eleanor was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Neepawa Lily Festival. She continues to volunteer in a variety of ways, including the Ladies Health Auxiliary, which celebrated its 115th anniversary. Cliff and Eleanor have and continue to be actively involved with the local Junior A Hockey Team, the Neepawa Natives. They have been part owners of the team, opened their home to billet team members, and established and volunteered with the booster club.

Cliff and Eleanor donate to the Beautiful Plains Community Foundation to positively impact the community, along with leaving a legacy. Cliff and Eleanor, along with family members, established two family funds to donate to in lieu of Christmas Gifts. Note: Some members believe they should do both. The Jack and Dorothy Nicholson Family Fund and the Mike and Evelyn Pasosky Family Fund have been established for over 15 years.

“Supporting the foundation helps to grow the community.” – Cliff and Eleanor Nicholson

Earl Baron - Carberry and Area Community Foundation
Earl Baron

The Carberry and Area Community Foundation recently had the opportunity to ask Earl Baron, a long-term community member, to do an interview about our community.

“Hello. My name is Earl Baron. I am a retired farmer from the Carberry area. My family has lived in this area since 1938. I started farming in 1960 at 16 years old. I have two sons currently farming full time here and a grandson who will be also, after finishing his education.

The agriculture industry, in my opinion, is the single most important thing about our community. The local potato processing plant has brought many opportunities, not only to the local farmers, but also to the town of Carberry and surrounding areas by providing employment for many. Our community is special in that there are second, third, and even fourth generations of families all working and living in and around Carberry.

The Carberry and Area Community Foundation plays a vital role in this community. Local financial contributions to the foundation have enabled it to provide and maintain many services and activities for every age bracket. Carberry can also boast that it provides, often by a family owned and run business, all the necessities for day to day living. The town provides amenities such as a hospital, care home, senior’s drop in centre, a recreation complex and both elementary and senior high schools. Local citizens also have the option of many denominations of churches in which to worship.

We are very lucky to live in such a prosperous, growing community. We need to continue to provide opportunities for our younger generations in such fields as agriculture, health care and education. We need to continue to provide options for our older citizens in such areas as recreation, leisure and health care.

The Carberry and Area Community Foundation’s purpose is to provide financial support for all these necessities. So, with continued contributions, the foundation will be a key player in keeping our community the thriving, busy place it is, full of great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and children, for many years to come.”

Irene Bergthorson - Coldwell Lundar Community Foundation
Irene Bergthorson

On Thursday, April 12, 2018, Patty Johnson, Coldwell Lundar Community Foundation (CLCF) Board Member, had the pleasure to meet with Irene Bergthorson.

Patty and Irene discussed the Foundation’s role since its inception in 2004. The CLCF mission to strengthen and improve the quality of life for today and into the future will ensure Coldwell/Lundar’s viability. A review of the Foundation’s support since 2014 demonstrates commitment to the community including financial support to the Lundar Community Swimming Pool, the Lundar Senior Citizen’s Home, Lundar Museum, Pauline Johnson Library, Lundar Catholic Church, and the New Horizons.

Irene continues to be a vibrant and active member of the community. At 92 years of age, she has lived in the same house for 65 years! This is the house she has lived in since she married her husband Mickey and where they raised their family of four children. Today, her children and grandchildren still come to enjoy her company and her homemade meals and treats.

Irene has given to Lundar in many ways. Between various types of employment and volunteering, she remains well known.

She had a barbering service in her home for many years; was an ambulance attendant for the volunteer Lakeshore Ambulance; a daycare worker, and a guitar and music teacher. In all her encounters and conversations with people, her genuine interest in others and use of music and humour helped to make them feel valued and comfortable.
Other activities include cross-country skiing and walking. She states “I must have walked 60,000 miles so far in my lifetime – two miles/day (rain or shine) everyday”.

Her volunteer service includes:

  • Along with her husband Mickey, Irene was a grassroots founder and developer of the Lundar Co-op Golf & Country Club. She was the President for 16 years. She supported her two sisters (also Lundarites) Rose Burdett and Vicki Einarson to sell Nevada tickets as a fundraiser for the golf course at local bingos. In their time, they raised $48,000 that along with many volunteers built the new clubhouse that remains in use today.
  • While teaching guitar and music, Irene hosted a community recital in the community hall each year so that students could showcase their talents to their families and the community at large. A nominal admission charge was gathered each year and donated to an important cause for that year (eg. Lundar Lutheran Church, and another year to a family with a child undergoing treatments for a life-threatening condition).
  • Up to the age of 90 years, Irene was a regular participant in the Home Section Exhibits at Lundar Agricultural Fair. She entered in a variety of sections including cooking, canning, baking, needlepoint, and oil paintings.
    At the Lundar Lutheran Church, Irene was on the church board and ensured altar duties and church cleaning was completed. Irene also organized the church choir for about 20 years.
  • She has been a member of the Lundar New Horizons Club attending cards and activities for over 20 years. As well, she has supported the group by being part of the Executive and supporting fundraising activities.

Patty asked Irene, “What is the single most important thing about Lundar? What makes it special?”

Irene was very thoughtful about this question before answering. She felt that it is the people who provide the services and the people who volunteer in so many ways that makes Lundar the welcoming and supportive community that it is.

Irene expressed concern over the loss of some of our businesses but noted that over the years, Lundar has been able to adapt and grow. “The people have put forward tremendous effort in volunteer ways in the past and this continuing effort by the people will help sustain the town in the future”.

Ellen Rawlings - Glenboro Community Foundation
Ellen Johnson

The Glenboro Community Foundation recently had the opportunity to interview Ellen Rawlings, a long-term community member, on the subject of what makes our community great.

Ellen Sophia Johnson was born May 9, 1921. After completing high school Ellen trained as a nurse, graduating in 1943. That fall she married Reg Rawlings who was serving in the Air Force. They moved back to Glenboro in 1946. When their children were in school, Ellen returned to nursing, and after retirement volunteered at the Personal Care Home for 17 years. She has been an active member of the Health Auxiliary for over 70 years. As a lifelong volunteer Ellen knows the value of keeping community strong through working together. She received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her services.

Some of the things that make our community special to Ellen are affordable housing, young families, a good school, and the hospital and personal care home. The hockey and skating rinks, the revitalized ball diamonds and children’s playground, as well as the nearby golf course ensure that people of all ages have recreation opportunities. She also enjoys the social life of a small town.

Ellen sees a bright future for Glenboro with the energetic younger generation fully ready to take over and keep the community moving ahead.

Linda Fehr - Morden Area Foundation
Linda Fehr

The Morden Area Foundation (MAF) recently had the opportunity to ask Linda Fehr, a long-term community member, to do an interview about what makes our community great.

“Morden’s single most important attribute is the ability to attract and maintain residents with the amenities of urban centers.

Morden is special and unique because it is a cultural melting pot of cultures that work and live together to make a vibrant community. Morden is filled with play structures, skate park and other recreational items/locations due in part by MAF grants and local organizations.

Morden is a location of choice offering services such as education, medical, entertainment, accommodation, leisure/tourism, comparable to any major centre. It is a ‘safe’ community for families to grow and thrive. The MAF has assisted the Fire and Rescue Department to remain current with equipment.

Morden’s location, near US border and middle province of Canada, provides easy marketing access for products and services. We are in the midst of the great outdoors for skiing, fishing, golfing, parks, camping and recreation. We have it all!

We keep our community growing strong by continuing to encourage and support new and different interests. Supporting all generations, Morden continues to provide the needs required from day care to college to assisted living. My volunteer work with Palliative Care at BTHC allows me to see the impact the MAF has made to medical departments and organizations.

It is important to keep our young people interested in the community. Thriving communities tend to entice people to take up residence or to return following an absence.

For future generations I would like to see a transportation/bus/shuttle system between Morden and Winkler to accommodate residents, workers and hospital staff/patients as well as businesses. The ‘carbon footprint’ would not be as big a concern.”

Audrey and Larry McCrady - Morris Area Foundation
Audrey and Larry McCrady

The Morris Area Foundation recently had the opportunity to ask Audrey and Larry McCrady, long-term community members, to do an interview about their history with our community and what makes it great.

“We were both involved in public school education. Larry was Superintendent of Schools for the Morris MacDonald School Division and Audrey was a school librarian.

We have lived in the area for 32 years. We believe that the most unique aspect of our community is the diversity in the backgrounds of the residents. It is not unusual to hear people speaking French, English, and Low German at the same venue. This diversity can cause some misunderstandings.

This community is a great place to live because most services are available to us and those that are not are within a short commuting distance. We have been able to form friendships and participate in a variety of activities. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer and provide additional services for people.

In order to keep our community growing a larger economic base is needed.

We would like to see the volunteer base in the community expand so that organizations such as The Morris Area Foundation, Morris & Area Centennial Museum, Valley Regional Library, children’s programs, and local sports activities can continue and improve the quality of life in the community.

Larry, on behalf of the Morris & District Centennial Museum, with the assistance of a small grant to the Museum from the Morris Area Foundation and Canada 150, has completed a project on Alexander Morris. The town of Morris is named after Alexander Morris who played a significant role in the development of Morris and the entire country. Alexander Morris’ work in negotiating Treaties 3, 4, 5 and 6 as well as redoing Treaties 1 and 2 with Indigenous people of the area has greatly influenced our development as a province and a country. Larry has spoken at local gatherings on the role Alexander Morris has played in our history.”

Lorne and Agnes Swanson - Pinawa Community Foundation
Lorne and Agnes Swanson

The Pinawa Community Foundation recently had the opportunity to ask Lorne and Agnes Swanson, long-term community members, to do an interview about their history with our community and what makes it great.

Lorne and Agnes Swanson moved to Pinawa in 1965 with their three sons. Their daughter Lisa was born shortly after their arrival. Lorne started work with AECL as a metallurgical technologist and Agnes was a full-time homemaker. Lorne really enjoyed his early years at the plant they were challenging, exciting and rewarding. Lorne served two terms on council in the late 1980s and a term as mayor in the mid 1990s. It was a very involved experience in community.

“We both felt very at home from our first day in Pinawa. There were rocks, trees and the Winnipeg River. It is the perfect setting to raise a family. A walk along the Winnipeg River is a memorable experience. It is accessible to everyone and that is one of the many special things about our community. Our schools are great and the teachers get credit for the success our children enjoy today.

We support our Lutheran Church community and the Pinawa Club. They are important to us for our connection to the community. We hope that they will be there for generations to come.

We think the Pinawa Foundation is wonderful because it is open to everyone for support of so many things. Scholarships, library, Pinawa Hospital, the schools and all community groups.”

Mayre Beam - Tiger Hills Community Foundation
Mayre Beam

“The Tiger Hills Community Foundation recently had the opportunity to interview Mayre Beam, a long-term community member, about her family’s history with our community and what makes it great.

In 1957, Mayre Beam and her husband relocated to Treherne from Winnipeg. Her husband’s family had a farm where they could have pursued a farming adventure but Mayre’s allergies were not compatible with such a livelihood. However, there was a promising opportunity for a new hospital was being built and as a registered nurse she could definitely qualify for a position. In May 1958, she was one of the first staff to work at the hospital and maintained her position for 35 years. She worked with many different people in many capacities – patients, nurses, doctors, health care providers and a wide variety of staff employed throughout the facility. This facility is still operating today and is a primary employer for many individuals that are local residents or commute from neighboring towns.

Over the course of her career, Mayre raised four children with her two sons continuing to live in the community. In fact, she has many generations of family, even great grandchildren, who call Treherne home; her two daughters also find occasions to frequent the community to reconnect with family and friends. These connections are something that Mayre considers a valuable aspect of Treherne. She describes the populous as, “… generally people who get along, and are not here to compete with one another.” Thankfully there have always been people with vision who’s intentions were not self-fulling prophecies. She believes the community has benefited from its many leaders over the years. In her description of a leader, she refers to someone who is able to guide the ones that are willing to buy into an idea and help it become a reality. Leaders are not people who have to know everything but rather have to be able to listen to people. She is grateful of the efforts so many leaders and followers put forth to enable Treherne to become and remain strong.

Many of the activities that Mayre partakes in to this day are a result of a community’s effort to come together to make dreams come true. Treherne is very fortunate to have facilities such as a hockey arena, curling rink, swimming pool, campground, golf course, walking paths, a bowling alley and pool hall to name a few of the places that accommodate and entertain a variety of ages. Thankfully, the assistance of grants through the Tiger Hills Community Foundation have been able to assist such local entities in maintaining and sustaining their viability in a rural setting. Volunteers also need to be recognized for their many contributions to the community, along with local businesses and services, continue to attract people to the dot on the map along Number 2 Highway in Southern Manitoba.

Mayre strongly believes that maintaining a health care facility in the community is essential. In her words, “The hospital, clinic with doctors and the ambulance service are all intertwined.” Over the course of many years the facility has undergone many changes, however, the expectations from those who reside in the area, remain the same. The hospital is where you go when in need of help! She shared at one time the ambulance relied solely on volunteer drivers and nursing staff would send out patients and only on occasion would go along with the transfer. However, the standards of care today require many different types of training and technology changes the face of what is now possible.

These changes, along with societal trends, have led to the disbanding of local hospital guilds. Traditionally local groups compromised of rural women would gather on a monthly basis to volunteer their services to help the local hospital. These women volunteered many hours sewing pajamas, gowns and other items that the hospital staff identified as necessary to help meet patients’ needs. These groups also generated funds through teas, raffles, fun fairs and similar events to aid with the purchasing of larger items that could support patients. Over the years, these groups and their memberships have become obsolete and thus a decision was necessary regarding the funds that remained. The visionaries of the groups have recently agreed that the best investment would be to invest in the Tiger Hills Community Foundation. Realizing that the hospital guilds previous commitments are no longer required, the intentions are the monies will be something never spent but rather invested in something that will never leave the community!

Larry and Helen Kristjanson - Westshore Community Foundation

The Westshore Community Foundation recently had the opportunity to write an article on Larry and Helen Kristjanson, long-term community members, about their history with our community, what makes it great, and how they contribute to that greatness.

The decision to set up a bursary for students who have had a harder time in life goes way back to both of their families. Larry’s family was very, very into education. The eight siblings were all university educated, with five completing their PhDs. Their success stemmed from working hard, helping each and always looking out for each other, because the family certainly didn’t have boundless money for university studies.

Helen’s mother died of cancer when she was quite young and her father set up a memorial scholarship through The Winnipeg Foundation. This scholarship is awarded to students from Riverton, the family’s hometown. For decades Helen has been involved in selecting the scholarship recipient as well as handing out the award. In her words, “It’s been a very beautiful experience”.

Upon retiring from the Canadian Wheat Board, Larry and Helen chose Gimli as their home. They had a long-standing and positive friendship with Olli Narfason and knew that Olli was a founding member of the Westshore Community Foundation. Larry and Helen knew that partnering with Westshore would be a good decision and they are “delighted with the way it’s working”. The slightly tricky part about choosing to set up a bursary with Westshore and not leave everything to their five children, was a short-lived conundrum. The five children are so supportive of the philosophy behind the choice to give: they embrace their parents’ desire to help those who are truly in need of an opportunity. Another easy choice was setting up the bursary now, rather than in their will. This way they get to enjoy the success stories of their chosen recipients! Thanks to feedback from Connie Magnusson-Schimnowski, another Westshore Board Member, Larry and Helen get to hear how their fund is helping students in their studies. This bursary makes an enormous difference to youth, and that makes it the partnership with Westshore so worthwhile.

While Larry and Helen let the teachers at the Gimli High School select a variety of students who are eligible for the bursary, they are always impressed by the top four recommendations and truly enjoy picking their annual recipient. Knowing that they helped a student follow a dream that might otherwise be impossible is rewarding beyond all explanation.