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The recipient of the 34th annual Premier's Volunteer Service Award goes to the Ste. Agathe Community Development Inc. (CDI).

Committee member Shaun Crew says the group came together in 1994 and he joined in 1997 after the flood of the century where he assisted them with preparing a presentation for the Manitoba Water Commission. Crew adds there is a real community spirit in the Village of Ste. Agathe.

"There's so many can-do type of people that rise to the occasion and really step forward and volunteer a lot of time to help the community with these development projects," notes Crew. "It's not always economic development it's also recreational development. People in the community are just so willing to give of their time and energy to really make a difference in our little community."

He notes over the years they have seen the establishment of Cartier Park and Riel Industrial Park along with other small playgrounds in the community, among other initiatives. Crew says it's a pleasure to work with this committee and see how people work together to accomplish big goals.

Jackie Hunt is the mayor for the Rural Municipality of Ritchot and she says the Ste. Agathe CDI has served as a benchmark for other communities in the province due to their vision, dedication, and effort.

"What's so wonderful about it is that they've kind of carried this on, it's a legacy project," says Hunt. "The original folks, some have moved on and some are still there, they have passed this desire to grow this community onto their kids. Now they'll start to see the children of the original founders of this group now picking up the torch and continuing on. It's one of the most incredible communities I've been privileged to represent over the years."

Hunt says there is a solid group of volunteers and she hopes to see that group grow in the future. She notes the community is also primarily Francophone and some residents will offer free French classes to those who want to learn.

Crew notes the next project the group would like to focus on is the revitalization of Main Street to allow for future businesses and services in the community.

The award presentation ceremony for the Volunteer Manitoba Awards will take place on April 25.

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