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Member Biographies

Linda Mywaart (Chair)

Linda Mywaart

Linda Mywaart

Linda Mywaart was born and raised in Lacombe, Alberta, but she is growing up and growing older right here in Fort McMurray. She has called this her home for more than 35 years. What began as four weeks of volunteer work here, has turned into a wonderful life. Linda is married to Martin and together they have been privileged to raise four children, all of whom are now married. An equal joy and privilege is being grandparents to their two granddaughters and five grandsons.

Linda has a heart for the people of our region and values relationships in all she does. Some past community involvements include Neighborhood Watch and Pets and Wellness (PAWs for People). She is a trustee with Fort McMurray Public School District and very involved in both local and provincial education governance. Linda leads music in her local church and occasionally other churches and community groups and choirs. Other thing she enjoys in her free time are traveling, gardening, outdoor activities including long walks on trails in the area, spending time with her family, and volunteering at community events.

Linda says light-heartedly that she serves on the committee because her 80th birthday isn't as far away as it used to be, but she goes on to say that becoming a senior is a blessing we all hope to enjoy, so let's pull together to make this place as age friendly as possible! For Linda, it is a privilege and a pleasure to give back to the community by volunteering on this committee, and to be part of a team working to make "Aging with Dignity in Wood Buffalo" a reality for all ages and all walks of life.

Committee member since 2014.

Henry Hunter (Vice Chair)

Henry Hunter

Henry Hunter

Henry Hunter was born in Greenock, Scotland. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of the West of Scotland, and a Master of Laws in International Commercial Law from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

Henry held a variety of management positions in Scotland before his work in energy and petroleum took him to Qatar in 2002. He moved to Canada in 2005, working in the private and public sectors in Manitoba. He came to Fort McMurray in 2011 as Executive Director of Public Infrastructure and Planning and Development at the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. In 2014, he became Vice President of Capital Projects and Facilities Operations at Keyano College, where his daughter is now a business administration student.

Now the President and Chief Executive Officer of Wood Buffalo Housing, Henry’s role includes oversight for the operation of Rotary House Seniors Lodge and the affordable seniors apartment units in Fort McMurray, Anzac and Fort Chipewyan. He is committed to working with all levels of government and community partners to find the best housing options for seniors who live in the Wood Buffalo community.

Committee member since 2017.

Joan Furber

Joan Furber

Joan Furber

Joan Furber is the current President of the Golden Years Society here in Fort McMurray, and has been for the last four years. Before being on the board, she was involved with it by volunteering with the seniors at Heritage Park. Joan moved to Fort McMurray when she was 13 and has been married to husband Hugh for 44 years. They have three children, two boys and a girl, and four grandsons.

Joan has been vocal and active for the seniors with various issues in town, especially with Willow Square. She also serves on the Seniors Resource Committee. You can often find her volunteering all over the city, and she was one of the people who helped to organize the Seniors’ games back in 2003. Joan has also been very involved with Elections Canada over the years, often helping to train the workers needed during elections. This past year she trained the students at Holy Trinity, the first time in history that students were trained and paid to work an election.

Dave Hodson and Joan were instrumental in going to council and asking for the development of the Advisory Committee on Aging, and she applied and has been on the board since its inception. Joan says that she felt it was important that the seniors be heard, and that they were having proper representation on their issues.

Committee member since 2014.

Verna Murphy

Verna Murphy

Verna Murphy

Verna Murphy is a freelance writer in Fort McMurray, and she has been writing about everything related to Fort McMurray for over 12 years. Verna has been married to husband Tim for 22 years, and they have three children: Mitchell is 20, Nathanial is 18 and Shayleen is 8. Verna hails from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and loves that so many from the East Coast now call Fort McMurray home. For eight years Verna and her family brought in foster children from across our region.

Through her work, and hearing the stories of the people of Fort McMurray, Verna realized that she wanted to be working with seniors to tell their stories, but also to help their voices to be heard. The week after Verna moved to Fort McMurray she had gone to find out about palliative care and ended up writing about the lack of a long term care facility in our community. That was 11 years ago, and she has felt the frustration of seniors over the years as they have fought for Willow Square to be developed. She is hopeful that the Continuing Care facility will be started in the spring of 2018, and that over the next four years an Aging in Place facility will follow. For the last two years Verna has served on Council’s Advisory Committee on Aging.

Verna now sits as the Council representative on the Advisory Committee on Aging since October 16, 2017, and has worked with the Support Through Housing for three years, and served on that board for two years.

In her downtime, Verna enjoys volunteering, reading and listening to or dancing to Matt Minglewood (and she had to fit him into her bio). She looks forward to serving the residents of the entire region, and always loves hearing from anyone about their issues, or just to share their story.

Committee member since 2015.

Pam Burns

Pam Burns

Pam Burns

Pam Burns was born and raised in Regina, Sask., where she attended the University of Regina and obtained a Bachelor of Social Work Degree. She moved to Fort McMurray in 1996 to begin her Social Work career with Child and Family Services doing Child Welfare Investigations and Case Management. For a short time Pam returned to Saskatchewan to work as a Behavior Management Consultant, and then returned to Fort McMurray to work in Children’s Mental Health. After working for approximately 10 years in Foster Care with St. Aidan’s Society, Pam took a break from Social Work and worked as an Events Coordinator, before returning to St. Aidan’s to work in her current role as a Seniors Advocate.

Pam is community minded and volunteers in various capacities, including her membership with HALOS, which is a local third party fundraising group. She volunteers for youth sport organizations and has a passion for healthy and active living for herself and her family. She is excited to learn about all aspects of seniors and is highly motivated to work in community partnerships that will result in improved lifestyles for seniors here in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Committee member since 2016.

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