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Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice honoured with posthumous community award

Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice, who died last October in a plane crash, will be honoured with a posthumous award for his dedication to helping at-risk youth. 

The Calgary police commission hosted its annual community policing awards event Thursday evening to celebrate Calgarians who are helping make the city safer.

Prentice and community-advocate Brian Ferguson were integral in founding the Calgary Police Foundation in 2011, a not-for-profit organization focused on youth programs to deter criminal activity and keep children safe through education, prevention and early intervention. They are the winners of the volunteer category, one of six awards presented. 

“They made an amazing team,” said Tara Robinson, foundation executive director and nominator. “Brian knew that this board needed somebody with Jim Prentice’s integrity, reputation, leadership, commitment and passion for the city that they both call home.”

The two secured community and corporate partnerships and raised millions of dollars for programs to help vulnerable children with YouthLink Calgary and the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.

“It has reached the levels of success that it has and created and financed projects that are so unique in Canada, and we couldn’t have done it without them,” said Robinson. “It’s their leadership and vision that has led the entire board and team.”

Ferguson continues to play a key role as the foundation’s voluntary chair. 

Prentice’s wife was to accept the volunteer award on his behalf. “He will always be a part of this and his legacy will always be felt in Calgary,” Robinson said.

Prentice, 60, was among four people who died when the private jet they were in crashed shortly after takeoff from Kelowna on its way to Calgary.  

Another winner is a group of teenagers from the Applewood community who received the youth award. They planned a Christmas party in an effort to build a relationship between newcomers and police. While setting the foundation for a trusting bond, “these girls chose to transform themselves into ambassadors for their community,” said Sgt. Nick Wilsher, who nominated them. 

In the community organization category, the Calgary Humane Society won for its dedication to helping furry friends recover when police investigate animal abuse.

Similarly, veterinarian Margaret Doyle was celebrated for her strong relationship with the police — as an expert witness, the first point of contact for animal cruelty investigations and advocate for animal rights. 

“With her assistance, time commitment and connections, CPS is able to conduct important investigations on behalf of victims that do not have a voice,” said her nominator, Det. Shawna Baldwin. 

Much like Prentice and Ferguson, Const. Mike Yanko was recognized for his leadership in helping at-risk youth. He is winning the CPS sworn member category for a dedicated commitment to young Calgarians for over 13 years. Yanko is a founding member of the In The Lead program, which connects at-risk youth with adults and has trained over 500 residents to become youth justice committee volunteers. 

In the business category, Shaw Communications won for its volunteer efforts and contribution of $1 million to support the Calgary Police Foundation and YouthLink.

alsmith@postmedia.com

Twitter/alanna_smithh

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http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/former-alberta-premier-jim-prentice-honoured-with-posthumous-community-award