Premier honours Banff senior
By: Lynn Martel
| Posted: Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 06:00 am
Rachel Goulet figures if she can make a person smile, then all her efforts have been worthwhile.
A tireless volunteer with the Banff Seniors’ Society for the past eight years, Goulet has helped give a lot of other seniors reason to smile.
And for her efforts, earlier this month Goulet, who is 90 years young, was honoured by Premier Alison Redford at the 2012 Minister’s Seniors Service Awards. Goulet was one of only five Albertans chosen from 70 nominees to receive the award for making a difference in the lives of seniors in her community.
An executive board member with the BSS, Goulet volunteers with the Monday lunch program, as a tea hostess, with bingo games, the community soup and bread program and with the Catholic Church. She organizes twice-monthly lunch outings at local restaurants and spends countless hours making caring calls to hospital-bound seniors. As well, she hosts teas and coffees at her home and has knitted and given away or donated more than 150 hoodies.
“One of the things I have appreciated most about Rachel is her commitment to being the eyes and ears of the senior population in Banff,” said Sue Smyth, the Town’s senior support coordinator. “Calling me, or coming by my office to express concerns about individuals in need of assistance within the community so that I, in turn, can provide resources and assistance – there are very few seniors who have not been touched by her willingness to assist in any way possible.”
Smythe said she nominated Goulet with letters of support from Mayor Karen Sorenson and BSS board member Jack Boham.
“She’s a real meeter and greeter,” Boham said. “She’s busy every day. She’s a tireless volunteer for the seniors society recruiting new members and ensuring renewals and she’s happy to provide information to people visiting so they can get around. She’s extremely active, most gracious and remarkably agile, and effortless in her contributions to seniors and the whole community.”
In addition to all her volunteer activities, Goulet also finds time and energy to play baseball along with other 80- and 90-year-olds, and she enjoys attending Stage West concerts in Calgary with fellow BSS members.
For her part, Goulet said she was very surprised to learn she’d been chosen.
“I was very surprised. It felt funny. And it’s an honour,” Goulet said. “The Banff seniors are easy to work with, and Sue (Smyth) is too. And there are lots of good volunteers. I like it (volunteering), I like to keep busy. So many seniors are lonely, so I try to be their friend. They like that. If I stayed home, I’d feel all my aches and pains! This way I come home and I’m tired, then I have dinner with my family and go to bed.”
Goulet credits her good fortune of having a great family in the Bow Valley, including her sons Gerry, and his wife, Anne, and Roy, and his wife, Rebecca, as well as another son, Michael, and his wife, Patrice in Canmore. Add to that, she’s got three of her nine grandchildren – Dominique, Jasmine and Stephane - living in Banff, as well as three of her seven great-grandchildren, including one three-year-old she can still pick up.
“She’s so cute; she’s light as a feather,” Goulet said. “I’m lucky; it’s nice to have them around. They’re full of pep!”
All that pep must be contagious, as Goulet is quick to share it with as many others as she can, Smythe said.
“While Rachel fulfills her duties as an executive with the Banff Seniors Society, it becomes evident to anyone watching her that her care and consideration for our seniors is that of a person who wants to give back to the community that she loves so much,” Smythe said. “She truly is an inspiration to all.”