The 2016 George Meyer Leadership Award was established to recognize a newspaper staff member or a publisher who exemplifies community leadership and volunteerism.  The recipient this year is not a 'newbie' to receiving awards.  In fact, the recipient received a similar award, the Marg Hennigar Award at the National  convention in 2013 and I'll use the words from that presentation made by Lynn Hennigar. And I quote, "We honour an individual who knows that vibrant communities and vibrant community newspapers are not mutually exclusive.  Our recipient has used her professional position to grow her community, her papers and the community newspaper industry in Canada." Unquote. 


I could not have said it better of our 2016 George Meyer Leadership award recipient, my cohort, friend and newspaper colleague, Coleen Campbell.


Coleen, as many of you know, was born in Trail, B.C. but after graduating from SAIT as a journalist, she started work under the guidance of then publisher of the Taber Times, George Meyer, so it is only fitting that George's mentoring was well received by Coleen and it leads us to "this very moment in time".


Coleen often talked about George and Walter Koyanagi's "girls" and how they piled their staff members "their girls"  into their little car, and headed off on many road trips to AWNA seminars, & late nights in hospitality suites.  Coleen picked up on how to out stay the last man standing (or woman, in this case) in the hospitality suites, as, I know, she did not want to miss on any learning opportunities by going to bed early.


She was an excellent protege of George's as it wasn't long before she was publisher of the Taber Times and followed George's footsteps in maintaining the community involvement that George is so well known for in Taber.


Coleen's commitment to the community is so much so, that whenever shoes were needed to be filled, Coleen was there.  A football coach, advisory councils both locally and a journalism advisory positions at the Lethbridge College, boards such as day care, the Taber Health Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures, Taber's millennium committee, or a show of solidarity in organizing and flipping burgers for the beef industry when the BSE hit, just to name a few. 


Her volunteer time and dedication in hosting the Annual Taber Times Golf Tournament that raises monies for various charities, is another long term commitment.  


She strives for perfection in everything she does and she encourages it in others.  


One such George Meyer AWNA golf tournament her and I were in the same foursome.  I was struggling with my game so in frustration asked her what my problem was.  In her kind helpful manner, she told me I was standing too close to the ball….after I'd hit it !  


Coleen was a founding member of the Taber Rotary Club and her idea of youth awards which she spearheaded through the Rotary Club. April of this year was the 15th year and Coleen, as co-chair of the Apex Youth Awards committee announced the four youth who were awarded $1500 out of the 22 excellent nominees. I estimate over 50 youth have realized the bursary benefits of this award and at least 260 youth have been honoured through nominations.


Coleen was one to make personal Christmas gifts for her staff, everything from wine to antipasto.


Many probably don't know how Coleen protected and comforted her community when one of the very first school shootings in Canada occurred in 1999.  As a publisher it was important to cover the story but to her it was more important to protect and comfort her community so she had Taber Times stories focused on who and where to find help for those who experienced first hand the tragedy.


The community of Taber recognized her commitment to them when her name was put forward to carry the torch for the Vancouver Winter Olympics.  What a proud moment that she shared with her community, family and me, as she ran carrying that torch.   Typical of Coleen though, she made us all a part of the run when she bought all of us Olympic mitts. That is 'our Coleen'. Never wanting to take centre stage but if she has to, she figures out a way to include others.


Coleen, you embody the important role newspapers play in communities. You know the importance of leadership roles that community newspapers must play in vibrant communities and the hours of volunteerism required; your quiet confidence, trustworthiness and willingness to jump into projects with both feed and lead by example takes us to this evening.   Tonight YOU get to take centre stage as we are proud to honour You with the 2016 George Meyer Leadership Award.


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