Wednesday, 14 December 2011 11:44

Swihart honoured by Exhibition Park

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Southern Alberta Newspapers
Southern Alberta
Ric Swihart wrote literally thousands of stories over his more than 40 years with the Lethbridge Herald and Prairie Post, but rarely was he the story.

That changed at the end of November, as Swihart was inducted into the Exhibition Park Hall of Fame.

The announcement, which was made at a volunteer appreciation dinner, came as a total surprise to Swihart.

“It just blows my mind,” he said at the podium, of the unexpected award. “It’s a total honour to be mentioned among some of the people I’ve written about all these years. I’m among some elite company.”

Swihart, who retired from The Lethbridge Herald and Prairie Post this past spring, was recognized for his reporting and dedication to the southern Alberta agriculture industry and support of Exhibition Park. The 26th Hall of Fame inductee, he joins such company as Senator Joyce Fairbairn, W.T. Hill, Loye Olson, Cleve Hill and Ernie Snowden.

“Ric has been a dedicated supporter of the ag industry and, as a volunteer and shareholder on his own, has always been very supportive of Exhibition Park,” said Rudy Friesen, Exhibition Park general manager. “Ric is very deserving of this award.”

He applauded Swihart for his record of fair and accurate reporting over the years, a fact acknowledged by Evan Berger, the MLA for Livingstone-Macleod who was recently named Alberta’s new agriculture minister.

“He was always promoting agriculture, not looking for some dirty, little secret,” said Berger, who added he was honoured to share the stage with Swihart.

The Hall of Fame recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to Exhibition Park. The award is not necessarily granted annually and more than one recipient can be awarded in a single year.

Those eligible for consideration include all shareholders, volunteers, directors and members of the general public who have made a substantial and significant contribution to Exhibition Park.

Swihart saluted his wife Sharon — who was in attendance — for the “many lonely nights” she endured while he was working late hours reporting.

While differing agricultural issues came and went over the years, he said it was the many people he met and interviewed who stood out over his four decades of reporting.

“The people in agriculture, in my mind, are the most real people in the truest sense. They’re so real and trusting and a joy to work with.”

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