Lynn Gray was the recipient of a coveted Pioneer Women Centennial Award during the celebration of our Town of Ponoka’s 100th birthday in 2004. Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

REFLECTIONS: Saluting the pioneer women of Ponoka town and county

By Mike Rainone for the News

The proud history of Ponoka is a long and exciting one and it is always very important that we strive to recognize and salute those countless men and women and families who over the years have so vigorously and generously contributed in so many ways to encourage the ongoing successes, progress, and amenities of our urban and rural communities.

At the gala celebration of Ponoka’s 100th birthday in 2004 a group of ladies from our town and districts were nominated by their peers to receive a special Centennial Award for their sincere efforts and dedication to countless vital community causes during our colourful and progressive first century. Your weekly Reflections feature in the Ponoka News has been pleased to honour these very special ladies.

Lynn (Robertson) Gray

The daughter of Fran and Robbie Robertson was born in Ponoka in 1958, and along with her brother Larry and sister Lana enjoyed their youthful years, schooling, and many activities in and around the community.

Lynn’s parents always encouraged her keen participation in sports, with swimming being her favourite and also later included becoming a member of a local broomball team which managed to win a bronze medal in the Alberta Winter Games. To support her teenage flair for fashion Lynn went to work at “Poor Gordies,” which for years was Gordon McLeod’s very popular drive through food facility at the corner of 54 St., and then later she would work briefly in the housekeeping department at the Alberta Hospital. Following her graduation from the Ponoka Composite High School in 1976 Lynn Gray would accept the position of recreation director for the Town of Ponoka, which she would faithfully serve for 13 years. Lynn would quickly excel as an enthusiastic employee who was avidly committed to the betterment of our community, and led the vigorous planning and promotion of countless creative programs and events that enjoyed outstanding success throughout the community and districts. She also worked tirelessly at organizing the vital refurbishment of the Ponoka playground programs, was a charter dreamer/planner for the attractive walking trails that we continue to enjoy to this day as well as skillfully assisting local groups such as the Performing Arts Society, Chaps Theatre Groups, and countless other groups to access grants and start up funds for their community programs. As our recreation director, Lynn Gray also maintained an exciting passion and involvement with National Volunteer Week and the importance of people of all ages to join together to support and assist the special needs of citizens of all walks of life in and around our community.

In May of 1990 Lynn Gray assumed the position of Volunteer Co-ordinator at the Alberta Hospital Ponoka, where her strong community awareness would be a vital bonus in global planning as well as blending the urban and rural communities of Ponoka with the hospital in so many positive and exciting ways. Passionate from the very beginning about her new role at the AHP, Mrs. Gray was totally dedicated and determined to promote and introduce unique and exciting programs and planning that would assure the ongoing involvement and enjoyment of the patients each and every day of the year. With her outstanding recruiting skills and keen personality Lynn was able to reach out to the community and establish an excellent volunteer base that still carries on to this day at our Ponoka Hospitals with outstanding successes from a wonderful program that blends the patient and the volunteer together in a very special and caring way. With the guidance of the Volunteer Services staff and a growing list of keen community volunteers the patients at the Alberta Hospital could look forward to such major events as the family Christmas celebration, pet visitations, visiting entertainers, crafts, thrift shops and more.

In the summer of 2003 Lynn Gray would graciously accept two more roles to her extremely busy and successful community volunteer program portfolio. After being appointed as the manager of the new Ponoka Rising Sun Club House this energetic lady would bring her tactful manner and skills of empowering both members and staff to strive together as a team to set their goals and to establish a unique opportunity of enjoying active and enjoyable lives in and around our busy and welcoming community. As a strong and compassionate leader she viewed the club house as an excellent venue for working together, sharing, and improving community spirit through year round support programs that have proudly grown and carried on for the past 25 years. Also in 2003, Mrs. Gray was assigned the responsibility of serving as the volunteer coordinator for the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre, which over the years would also establish an excellent volunteer program for the clients and their families. I had the great pleasure of working with Lynn Gray as a staff member of both the Town of Ponoka recreation department and the Rising Sun Club House. Not only was she an excellent leader, Lynn always loved getting involved in all the action no matter what the project or task at hand may have been, and had a special gift of encouraging and motivating everyone to feel good about themselves, their efforts, and their accomplishments. On all occasions after another busy day or special event she always looked forward to sharing the enthusiasm, the challenges, the successes, and the celebration with those who she so proudly served, as well as with her staff and her community.

Not the least of her countless accomplishments and dedication to her work in Ponoka over the years Lynn Gray would avidly proclaim that her role as a mother was the most important challenge of her very active life! Along the way she proudly raised her two wonderful and active children Carly and Zach, who have now blessed her with the joy and pride of being a grandmother. They are undoubtedly the proof of her sincere character and a genuine quality that has and always will be appreciated by her family, her friends, and everyone that Lynn has rubbed shoulders with over the years. After her longstanding efforts and dedication to her Ponoka community Lynn Gray now lives in Red Deer and passionately continues to share her extreme skills and sincere care for the well-being of countless others by serving as the manager of volunteer resources and spiritual care for the central zone of Alberta Health Services.

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