Greetings from Sage's Board President, Bauni Mackay
Award Recipients, Nominees, Special Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff of Sage, it’s my privilege to welcome all of you to this wonderful occasion as we celebrate the achievements of a remarkable group of seniors. Your presence makes this event one that is truly special.
As the demographics of our youth-oriented society shift over the next decade, the myths about the value of seniors will become even more pronounced than they are now. These myths are based primarily on the perception that seniors take more than they give, use more than they contribute and generally are burdens on the rest of society. The reality, however, is that seniors provide services, create beauty, build connections and support the initiatives of others. They vote in greater numbers than any other age group, advocate for their fellow citizens of all ages and for the environment, and seek social justice at all levels.
Today we celebrate the resiliency, perseverance and capacity of seniors by honoring some amazing people. Both the Sage Award recipients and the nominees challenge the myths by demonstrating on a daily basis the truly extraordinary contribution seniors make to this city, province, nation and in some instances, even the world. And in doing so they inspire the rest of us to live our best lives.
These seniors, individually and collectively, are role models, beacons of light, and catalysts for action. Above all they are myth busters, proving again and again that age does not determine value, that being a senior does not equate with being a burden on society or a drain on the economy.
Today, by shining a spotlight on the altruism, the dedication, and the contribution of the award recipients and the nominees, we declare that the myths are unfounded, the perceptions are false and that the growing numbers of seniors are not a threat to be feared but rather a gift to be nurtured.
Congratulations and thank you to all of the award recipients, the nominees, and to all those who support the work they do.
- Bauni Mackay, Board President of Sage
Acceptance speech by Jean Innes, winner of 2013 Sage Award in the category of Public & Non-Profit
Thank you for this beautiful award. I am truly honoured and humbled. I say this because I know that I stand here on the shoulders of many – volunteers and professionals alike, all of whom spend each and every day working to improve the quality of life of seniors in this city.
We are fortunate to live in a province and a country where we can expect to grow old and glean the benefits that are provided for us as we enter the winter of our existence. As such I have no regrets. In fact when I retired in 1993 from the Faculty of Nursing at the U of A, I made a very deliberate promise to myself that I would embrace the aging process au naturelle! I would welcome the freedom that it brought, treasure the wrinkles that inevitably develop, hope for health and continue to be active and engaged in my community to the best of abilities – in short, play the hand that was dealt me. Retirement allows us to be who we are – provides freedom to make the choices that we want to make, pursue the interests that we have and most of all have time to be with family and friends.
Over the past 18 years I have met and worked with hundreds of volunteers and professionals – people who shared a common goal – to help provide the kind of quality care and support that would allow seniors to enjoy a life they really deserve. To be part of the Glenrose Family, to work with the Senior Sector of the City of Edmonton and to serve on the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council has given me so many reasons to be thankful. Truly I have been blessed. We all know there is no ‘I’ in ‘volunteer’ – there is only ‘we’ – and I have not forgotten and will not forget the tremendous contributions of my peers or their passion and dedication to the well-being of seniors in Edmonton.
My hope for the future is that Edmonton will become the most age-friendly city in Canada and that we will continue together to embrace aging as a natural normal stage of development rather than something to be feared. We will continue to support and encourage aging-in-place and make our city more accessible to all age groups and cultures. We have a good start in this direction and because we know Edmonton has a heart greater than its area, I am confident that we will succeed in making this vision a reality.
I congratulate all of the Sage Award winners today and thank them for their enormous contributions.
In closing, thank you again for this most prized award and thank you to those who nominated me and supported me through my second career. God bless you all.
- Jean Innes, Public & Non-Profit