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Honorary provincial life memberships presented to local Ag Society members

Two of the four recipients in Saskatchewan received honorary lifetime memberships from the Sask. Assoc. of Agricultural Societies and Exhibitions are from Unity Ag. Society.

UNITY — Glen Duck, secretary of the Saskatchewan Association of Agricultural Societies and Exhibitions made a special trip to Unity May 10 to present longtime Unity Agricultural Society volunteers Elaine Sperle and Irene Lacoursiere with honorary life memberships. Sperle and Lacoursiere were two of only four individuals in the province to receive such an award this year.

The awards were first announced at the SAASE annual convention luncheon held in Moose Jaw March 10, but neither of the two recipients was in attendance. Thus Duck came to Unity in order to personally present each of the two women with their awards during the Unity Ag Society’s annual Agricultural Safety Day for students, held at the Agro-plex and rodeo grounds.

The Unity Agricultural Society had nominated both Sperle and Lacoursiere for the awards, wanting their long and extensive contributions to be recognized by the wider community of agricultural societies. The awards committee obviously agreed the efforts of Sperle and Lacoursiere efforts were worthy of such acknowledgement.

Elaine Sperle

The official SAASE convention program said “Elaine Sperle is very deserving of SAASE’s Honorary Life Membership,” citing her active involvement with the Unity Agricultural Society and her tenure as president from 1991 to 2022. It was noted that, during that time, Sperle “actively raised funds for the AgroPlex community centre, which is used for many community events including 4-H, weddings, other family events, Unity Ag Society and Fall Fair and Safety Days.”

Her other contributions to the community were also acknowledged – a member of the Royal Purple for over 50 years, holding many offices, including being president several times; over 50 years as a board member for the Unity Library, including serving as president for two terms; having been the emergency measures co-ordinator for the Town of Unity for many years; member of the St. Peter’s Parish Catholic Women’s League; serving as president for Unity Minor Ball; and acting as treasurer for Unity figure skating and for Unity Minor Hockey.

Sperle and her late husband Fred were instrumental in fundraising for the building of Parkview Place. Having been on the Parkview board from the very start, Elaine continues to serve on that board to this day. She was recognized as Unity’s Citizen of the Year in 2007.

Born in Macklin, Sperle worked as a teacher in North Battleford, Reward and Unity. She and Fred raised three children, Adele, Audrey and Pat. For many years, Elaine also helped out in the family business, Sperle’s Tire and Batteries, now operated by Pat and his wife Melissa.

The SAASE program’s concluding remarks about Sperle were: “Elaine is giving – giving of her time to all the organizations she has helped. Giving of her knowledge and leadership to see the job always gets done. She is very community minded and has volunteered and given back to the community for over 50 years. She has set a great example and continues to give back. Elaine has a heart full of grace, generous in helping others, respectful, passionate about her many causes and an energetic spirit to keep doing good for others.”

Irene Lacoursiere

The same SAASE program acknowledged Irene Lacoursiere, too, as “a very deserving recipient of the SAASE Honorary Life Membership,” noting she has been treasurer for the Unity Agricultural Society since 1994 and always helps organize and co-ordinate the Unity Fall Fair and Trade Show. Lacoursiere also works on the annual Safety Day events hosted for local school students, as well as any other Ag Society projects that come up during the year.

Other community involvement over the years has included being president of the Unity Music Festival and the Unity School of Dance. After volunteering, coaching and working with the softball side of Unity Minor Ball for many years, she was named Volunteer of the Year by Softball Saskatchewan. She keeps the books in order for the Unity Ag Society and she has done the same for St. Peter’s CWL for 14 years. With the CWL, she has worked as membership co-ordinator and as co-ordinator for the CWL activity groups. She has been a trustee for St. Peter’s Church as well.

Born in Edam, Lacoursiere is married to Denis and the couple raised four children – Kevin (deceased in 2022), Allan, Roxanne and Colette. Besides raising her family and all her volunteer commitments, Irene worked as a teacher – in Delmas for two years and Unity for 10 – and as St. Peter’s secretary for 20 years.

Concluding remarks about Lacoursiere in the SAASE program were: “Irene is very organized, reliable and can always be counted on to get the job done. She is friendly, approachable and a great leader. She is very creative and always looks for ways to improve on how to get things done. Irene is generous and a great friend – she always has time to listen and is always happy to give her time to family, friends and community.”

Lee Bellows

With the 40th anniversary of Unity Western Days rapidly approaching, residents may be interested to know Lee Bellows of Moose Jaw was another one of the recipients of a SAASE Lifetime Honorary Membership. Bellows, who was a rodeo clown and cowboy poet performed in Unity on more than one occasion. He passed away in Moose Jaw March 23.