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Stettler Community Builders monuments unveiled

Updated: Nov 2, 2021 September 28, 2021 @ 10:40am

On Friday, September 24th, at Pioneer Park, the Stettler Community Builders program was unveiled with monuments dedicated to Clark Burlingham and Fred Colley.

Councillor Malcolm Fischer took a few minutes to explain how the project started as something that had been on his mind for several years and how he felt many of Stettler’s founders were being forgotten. One day his neighbour, Larry Dawson, voiced his frustration that Clark Burlingham and his many achievements were also being overlooked.

That chat with Larry made Malcolm realize that it wasn’t just him who was concerned. Hence, he took an idea to the following town strategic planning meeting where all administrative staff and councillors are encouraged to dream about initiatives for Stettler.

The Community Builders Committee was formed consisting of the Town Director of Planning and Development Leann Graham, staff from the Board of Trade, and myself. This committee met many times as the ideas to honour our founders were many.

Malcolm chatted with Dave McCourt and assistant Sandy Roenspies, and Wayne Tebbe. Dave and Wayne had collaborated on projects before, and these three people came up with the design of the actual monuments. The black granite is laser engraved by Dave and Sandy, and the heart-shaped steel mounts came from the creative mind of Wayne, who donated one of them to get the project off the ground.

As word got out that Stettler Community Builders was underway, many deserving names quickly surfaced. Noted history expert Alf Erichsen dropped in for a visit with several suggestions, including Fred Colley. Fred was running a lumber yard in North Dakota and learned that a new railroad branch would run from Lacombe to Stettler. He moved to the area, and the first train that arrived here had four carloads of BC lumber on it, and Mr. Colley’s Acorn Lumber business was off and running. Talk about a visionary! Many, many, buildings in Stettler and area were his doing, and many still stand.

There are no specific criteria for the honour of being remembered in the Community Builders monuments. They can easily relate to individuals, families, clubs, businesses, anyone, or any entity that could be described as Community Builders.

Citizens are invited to offer suggestions for future Community Builders acknowledgments by submitting a name, as much information as possible, and any photographs you have. A committee will be looking at this material and choosing the next two recognitions. The committee will select two per year, and the “walk of builders” will continue westward.

Carson Ellis, Local Historian


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