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 34 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 granddaughter and three 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 jokes 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.
For the past three and a half years Paul McWilliams has been the Community Branch Manager at Servus Credit Union. Paul and his family moved to Fort McMurray In 2005.
Paul has been in the Financial Services Industry for 22 years, first as Account Executive and Branch Manager with HSBC (formerly Household Finance) then as a Branch Manager / Community Manager for CIBC. Paul Joined the Servus Credit Union family in June of 2012.
He enjoys running and spending time with his family, and is the Past President of Fort McMurray Minor Baseball. He currently serves on several boards, including the Chair of the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, Wood Buffalo Health Advisory Council, Vice Chair Advisory council on Aging and Multicultural Association.
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.
Verna Murphy is a freelance writer in Fort McMurray, and she has been writing about everything related to Fort McMurray for 11 years. Verna has been married to husband Tim for 20 years, and they currently have three children, Mitchell is 18, Nathanial is 16 and Shayleen is 6. She would say, “currently has” because Verna and Tim were foster parents for many years, and still have children who join the supper table many nights. Verna hails from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, but has many family members now living here as well.
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 city. That was 10 years ago, and she has felt the frustration of seniors over the years as they have fought for Willow Square to be developed.
After hearing about the Advisory Committee on Aging, Verna felt that it would be a way to become more involved with the seniors of the entire region, and she looks forward to helping the committee to work towards making our region an Age Friendly community. There are many wonderful programs in place for our seniors, but there are many gaps that need to be worked on as well.
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.
Scott Garner is an employee with Syncrude Canada Ltd.(26 years) specializing in the area of strategic project business control.
Scott has been very active in the non-profit sector. Most recently he was the Chairman of Finance and Audit with the Foothills Foundation in High River/ Okotoks/ Black Diamond/ Turner Valley and was instrumental in helping many citizens recover from the flooding that devastated hundreds of homes and businesses in Southern Alberta. He was elected as the Vice President of the Alberta Seniors Communities and Housing Association (ASCHA) an organization that supports its 30,000 members in creating and maintaining vibrant housing throughout Alberta.
His former board experience in the RMWB includes:
- Vice Chairman – Wood Buffalo Housing Development Corporation (WHBDC)
- Chairman – Northern Lights Regional Health Authority
- Board Member – Northern Lights Hospital Foundation
- Board Member – Keyano College Foundation
Scott hopes to increase support for affordable housing options for citizens and seniors in the Wood Buffalo region by providing quality housing, and giving them stronger a voice and the promise of a quality of life that ensures independence and dignity.
Serving Wood Buffalo runs in Lance Bussieres' blood. Not only has his father worked for the then Town of Fort McMurray, and now Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, for over 34 years, but his grandfather served for many terms on Council in the 1950s and 1960s. Lance himself has deep roots in the community, having been born here and having called it home for the past 50 years.
Lance has a BA from the University of Calgary and has been a professional Realtor in Fort McMurray since 1991. He also has served on numerous boards including Fort McMurray Minor Hockey, Fort McMurray Oilsands Curling Club, the MacDonald Island board, and was the President of the Fort McMurray Real Estate board a few years ago. Currently he serves on the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame board as well as on the Fort McMurray Oil Barons board. Lance also loves to volunteer and is involved with fundraising efforts by the SPCA, Heritage Park, the Northern Lights Health Foundation and the Stollery Children Hospital Foundation.
Work with seniors towards the creation of a downtown Long-Term Care Facility is one of Lance's goals on Council. “I watched my Grandma Mitchell die in the hospital and felt strongly that something needed to be done about local senior care issues," he says. "She was the one who first taught me to give service to 'the neighbours'."
Lance’s family has lived in Fort McMurray since 1943. He and his wife Kelly have three boys (Mitchell, Jacob and Blake) and are very involved with all their activities in the community. To get away from it all, he loves jet boating, curling, hockey, golf and softball.