United Way of Saskatoon and Area and the Saskatoon and District Labour Council (SDLC) held the 15th annual Labour Community Service Award Dinner on Friday, February 8, 2013. The Labour Community Service Award Dinner is an annual event held to recognize and honour a union member who has demonstrated outstanding service and dedication to our community through volunteer work. The event began with greetings from Mayor Don Atchison and United Way of Saskatoon and Area Board Chair, Doug Borrowman. Jai Richards, Executive Director of The Avenue Community Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity was the keynote speaker for the evening.
The recipient of this year’s Labour Community Service Award is Russell Vaagen. Russell is a member of United Steelworkers Local 7552 (Agrium) and his many volunteer efforts are making a positive impact on our community. Often, you can find Russell leading a group of young Scouts on an overnight camping excursion or on a paddling trip across the lake. Whatever the activity, Russell is dedicated to our youth and to the development of our future leaders.
As Captain of his local volunteer Fire Department, Russell knows all too well the importance of trust and working together to come to the aid of those who need it most. Putting others needs ahead of your own when duty calls is the sign of a dedicated volunteer.
Russell began his working career many years ago as a Heavy Duty Mechanic in the coalmines of British Columbia. Today he makes his mark on the workplace as the full-time elected facilitator of USW 7552’s very own Safety Program. His leadership in this area is incomparable. He has shown initiative and desire to change the safety culture and make the workplace better for everyone.
In addition to working and volunteering, Russell is a dedicated husband and father. His 14-year-old son and 12-year-old twin daughters also keep him busy with their own extracurricular activities. Congratulations Russell and thank you for making our community a place that is great for everyone.
The annual Labour Community Service Award Dinner is one example of the Labour Partnership between United Way of Saskatoon and Area and Saskatoon and District Labour Council – a partnership that is working together to create change in our communities.