by Jake Cardinal
(ANNews) – In this difficult time of isolation and quarantine, it is uplifting to celebrate the selfless acts of volunteers who are making a difference in the lives of their community members. Ed Alspach and Maria Fontaine, of Mulhurst and Battle Lake, Alberta are two such individuals.
On May 23, 2020, they were the recipients of the Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition Award – a program that celebrates exceptional volunteerism across Alberta.
Ed Alspach and Maria Fontaine are the coordinators of a grass-roots effort to support community members around Pigeon Lake during COVID-19. Organizing through the Pigeon Lake Quarantine Assistance program (PQA), Ed is responsible for coordinating responses to requests for help from community members on the north side of the lake, and Maria is responsible for coordination on the south side.
Since mid-March, Ed and Maria have helped community members seeking assistance by directing them to reliable sources of information and appropriate government resources. Ed and Maria coordinate arrangements for volunteer drivers who pick up and deliver essential items to people who are isolating. They also actively monitor a Facebook page created to support the community effort and they are working hard to make sure that community members know where to find help.
The mission statement of the PQA is to assist residents to remain in their homes during the COVID-19 quarantine period and have essentials picked up and delivered to their houses without physical contact with anyone.
The PQA is a group of citizens from Pigeon Lake, who have organized to accomplish the above objective and keep their community members safe.
If you would like to know more about the program or have any concerns, the link to the Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pigeonlakecovid19/
Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations, Rick Wilson, is the MLA for the electoral district of Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin in the 30th Alberta Legislature, He congratulated Ed and Maria in a recent Facebook post.
“It was wonderful to see the latest winners of the Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition Program were Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin residents Ed Alspach and Maria Fontaine!” stated Minister Wilson.
“These selfless residents have been the coordinators for the grass-roots effort to support community members around Pigeon Lake during COVID-19. They split Pigeon Lake into North and South and got to work helping community members… don’t forget to nominate other outstanding members of the community (or province!). Heartfelt thanks to you both, Ed and Maria! You have made our lives so much better!”
Click here to see other recent recipients of the Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition Award.
Jake Cardinal is a Local Initiatives Reporter for Alberta Native News.