Citizen Heroes

Winter 2018

2018 Awards of Community Excellence 

With illustrations by Lia Golemba we salute Airdrians who go above and beyond and make us proud!  


Leader of Tomorrow Award 

Jaya Bansal 

Volunteer Awards Event for the City of Airdrie. Photo Credit: Sergei Belski

Jaya was encouraged by her parents to begin volunteering at Airdrie Public Library after the family moved to the city from India in 2014. Starting out by serving salad at the library’s Canada Day Barbecue, her involvement soon grew to volunteering with different programs and events, and eventually to becoming a member of the Teen Advisory Council. As a part of the TAC, she has helped create events such as trivia nights to help engage teens at the library. A current Grade 12 student at Bert Church High School, Bansal is passionate about getting other teens involved in volunteering because she says it gives them a reason to look away from their phones, improves their social skills and helps them gain valuable friendships. 


Volunteer Advocate Award 

Airdrie Parades and Fireworks Committee

Volunteer Awards Event for the City of Airdrie. Photo Credit: Sergei Belski


Multiple times every year, the Airdrie Parades and Fireworks Committee gathers Airdrians together to watch fireworks light up the night sky and parade floats roll down the streets. But none of this could happen without a group of up to 50 volunteers. For each event, volunteers work to keep parade routes safe, help out at Chinook Winds Park for their Canada Day celebrations and keep spectators away from the fireworks. Pictured here from the committee are Kim Greenizan and Jocelyn Cromwell, the volunteer coordinators. 



Soul of Airdrie Award 

Sharon Uhrich

Volunteer Awards Event for the City of Airdrie. Photo Credit: Sergei Belski


From following her parents around to all their volunteering commitments as a kid, Sharon Uhrich grew up believing that helping the community was just a way of life. This is why, when her daughters got involved with Girl Guides, the Airdrie Figure Skating Club and 4-H Alberta, she was quick to lend a hand. This led to more than 30 years as a volunteer 4-H leader and dedicating her time to many other organizations such as Airdrie Lioness Club and Airdrie Public Library. Uhrich also began volunteering with Community Links and their senior visitation program because she recognized the value a similar program would have had for her own mother. She says she has always enjoyed the social aspect of volunteering and loves the feeling of giving back. 


Elite Athlete 

Danica MacDonald – Swimming 

Volunteer Awards Event for the City of Airdrie. Photo Credit: Sergei Belski

When she was six, Danica’s family moved from Nova Scotia to Trinidad and Tobago where she first learned to swim. Her parents signed her up for lessons not knowing it was competitive swimming and accidentally sparking her passion for the sport. After moving to Airdrie when she was nine, Danica has gone on to compete at many provincial and national competitions. In 2015, she helped break the 15-17 Alberta provincial record in the 4×100 medley relay, which still stands today. Specializing in the 100- and 200-metre breaststroke, she was a member of the University of Calgary Dinos Swim Team in 2016-17 while completing a degree in development studies.  



Elite Athlete 

Piper Fitzgerald – Dance

Volunteer Awards Event for the City of Airdrie. Photo Credit: Sergei Belski


When Piper was three years old, she was always moving around, skipping, jumping and tapping her feet, so her mother signed her up for dance lessons at Star Bound Dance Company. It didn’t take long for the sport to become her passion, and while performing on stage was frightening at first, now it’s Piper’s favourite place to be. In 2016, she began ballet at YYC Dance Project and immediately saw success, placing first in her first competition for her classical variation. In the spring, she competed in her first international competition, placing in the top 12 for her contemporary solo at the Youth American Grand Prix in Las Vegas. Piper says she is falling more in love with ballet each practice and feels blessed every time she gets a chance to go up on stage.