Eight exceptional Albertans will be inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2021 with two from southwest Alberta.
Lena Heavy Shields-Russell (Ikkináínihki) of the Blood Reserve is an Elder, author, teacher and trailblazing translator. She created Alberta’s Blackfoot curriculum, safeguarding the language and culture to pass on to future generations.
Cor Van Raay of Lethbridge (posthumously) has strengthened both agriculture and agribusiness in Western Canada through his innovation and entrepreneurship. His generosity and community building have enriched the lives of Albertans.
“Our honourees have abundant strengths that have served our province well. These include great perseverance, a selfless commitment to giving back, and a steadfast focus on sharing their unique gifts and abilities in a way that enriches us all. I offer my heartfelt thanks to each of them for their remarkable contributions," explained Lt.-Gov. Salma Lakhani.
The Alberta Order of Excellence recognizes Albertans who have made an outstanding provincial, national or international impact. It is the highest honour a citizen can receive as an official part of the Canadian Honours System. The new additions will bring the total membership of the Alberta Order of Excellence to 197.
Other Alberta Order of Excellence members being invested in 2021 are:
- Joan Donald of Red Deer has enriched the social and economic health of her community by bringing governance and leadership to boardrooms of organizations that range from business, health and education to social justice, sport and culture.
- Cyril Kay of Edmonton is among the world’s eminent biochemists, unlocking the building blocks of life. His vision to create and lead internationally respected multidisciplinary teams has revolutionized biomedical research.
- Murray McCann of Calgary is an entrepreneur and community leader who reinvests his success into organizations that combat hunger, homelessness, fear and violence. He created programs that honour fallen soldiers and support homeless veterans.
- Barb Olson of Calgary is an internationally recognized researcher, entrepreneur and toxicology expert. Her research with husband Merle in veterinary medicine has led to a better understanding of bacterial infections and treatment in humans and animals.
- Merle Olson of Calgary is an internationally renowned veterinarian and researcher. His entrepreneurism with wife Barb has led to innovative biotech and pharmaceutical companies specializing in veterinary products to address animal welfare issues.
- Greg Powell of Calgary is a pioneering emergency physician, innovator and educator. He has saved countless lives by co-founding and leading the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) and revolutionizing emergency medicine.
Full biographies and official portraits of new members, and information about the program, are available at alberta.ca/AOE.