Congratulations to Heather Taylor for being this years recipient of the Citizen of the Year Award!
A self-less leader who has taken of many roles and is always willing to help and provide insight – Heather Taylor has an incredible track record of helping Innisfail. Her impact is wide-ranging and she has helped further this community in many ways.
Originally from Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Heather came to Innisfail in the late 1970’s from British Columbia. She worked in banking for almost 3 decades and took on a role in real estate for 13 years.
Heather demonstrated the importance of volunteering in her community immediately after coming to Innisfail. Soon after arriving Heather joined the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #104. Believing in it’s mandate to connect the community and never forget those who have served for their country. Heather served on the Innisfail Legion’s Executive for 10 years with roles ranging from 2nd vice president, 1st vice president, president, and past president.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Heather was a important player in major projects for the Innisfail Legion. She was instrumental in the fundraising for the Community Bus. Seeking sponsors, community partners, municipalities, and other groups from around the region to raise $450,000 to fund the Community Bus in the 2000s. It is impressive to see more than a dozen organizations come together to make this project happen and you need only look at the Motorcoach itself to see how many groups came together to make this project happen; the organizations are featured on the bus. As many know, this vehicle serves as an important link between our community and others – helping sports teams and other organizations represent Innisfail. The Innisfail Eagles, the Town of Innisfail, local schools and other groups in Central Alberta still see major benefit to this day.
Her talent for fundraising and leadership was also instrumental in the acquisition of the CF104 Starfighter, the jet that is featured prominently in front of Branch 104. It has become a landmark for Innisfail and is a daily reminder of the many roles that service in the armed forces can take. Heather helped this project by fundraising and securing in-kind donations – encouraging community partners to join into the effort. The jet was sourced from Germany after it was decommissioned from Canadian Armed Forces use. No small task to bring a jet across multiple continents and an ocean to become a feature in Innisfail.
Heather is part of the literary and poster contest that is held annually by the Legion to connect younger generations to the significance of Remembrance Day. Essays, poems and posters are collected each year and Heather has been part of this effort for 15+ years. This is an important reflection for youth that can connect youth with the efforts/sacrifices that our veterans have made. Other highlights of her work with the legion include attending the Dominion Convention in Halifax and each Remembrance Day, the most important day of the year for the Royal Canadian Legion.
Heather was awarded a life-time Legion membership for all that she has done.
Someone who values the importance of sports within a community, Heather volunteered for the Innisfail Curling Club Board of Directors, has presided over the Innisfail Ladies Golf Club multiple times (among other roles) and was the Director of the Innisfail Golf Club for 3 years. A highlight from her history as an avid golfer was representing Alberta in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
From 2010 to 2017 (two terms), Heather served as a Town Councillor for the Town of Innisfail. She attended dozens of meetings, met with many citizens, and heard the concerns of the Town for years. During that time, she served on every committee that Councillors sit on. Highlights during that time included the Downtown revitalization project, significant renovations to Town Office, the opening of the Library Learning Centre and she notes the introduction of the PACE Bus program as a special highlight.
Heather changed gears since that time but has not slowed down. Her focus has shifted towards helping seniors and working to address issues of food security in Innisfail. She has served on the Town’s Transportation Committee and the Age Friendly Committee – helping to establish the Van which will accompany the PACE Bus in the near future.
She also took on the important role of Community Coordinator with the Innisfail Food Bank – helping them through a period of change and growth. She continues to work with the Innisfail Food Bank to this day. She has been described by one distinguished colleague as someone who is a hard worker, has a talent for fundraising, who takes action and was great to work with.
Another described her as someone who would listen to all sides, consider what the other side was saying and was flexible enough to change their viewpoint, if it was the right decision. Someone who is an incredibly easy person to work with and a person who you could trust to do the job right and complete it.
She is valued for her knowledge, wisdom, leadership, concern for the community and point-of-view.