2023 Healthcare Heroes Award Recipient

For immediate release
October 10, 2023
- Join us in congratulating the Grimshaw/Berwyn District Community Emergency Team for being selected as the 2023 Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP) Rhapsody Healthcare Heroes Award Recipient. The team was recognized at a special dinner and awards ceremony on October 3, 2023 in Grimshaw.

“This provincial award celebrates rural Alberta health professionals or teams that demonstrate superior commitment to their patients, healthcare team, and community,”  says Tracy Sopkow, RhPAP CAO. The Grimshaw Emergency Team was nominated by the Grimshaw Regional Healthcare Attraction and Retention Committee (GRHARC) and was selected by the RhPAP selection committee from a total of six nominations put forth province-wide.

During the ceremony, Stacey Messner, GRHARC Chairperson praised the Emergency Team for their outstanding dedication, commitment and support to provide patients with high-quality care and their creative efforts to keep the emergency department open.

“You worked with AHS to find creative solutions to keep the Grimshaw emergency department open even on a modified hours schedule during the labour shortage to continually serve the residents of our community and our region,” said Messner. “For all you do, we applaud you and thank you very much for being an integral part of our community’s health.”

A special recognition video was created and shown during the ceremony featuring the Emergency Team as well as patients, residents and colleagues expressing their gratitude. The video includes two powerful stories from local residents regarding the life-saving support they received from the Emergency Team.  View the video HERE

Comments were also shared from community members, patients and healthcare staff that included the following:

  • “When people think small town rural hospitals they sometimes think you’re not going to get the level of care that you would get at a larger hospital.  But that is simply not true in Grimshaw.” 

  • “They bring quiet calmness in times of stress, high anxiety and fear. They are committed members of their community dedicated to going the extra mile.” 

  • “They are the caretakers of our community. They create an atmosphere of welcome and comfort for all.”

  • “They all have a caring manner, ensuring that patients are seen in a timely fashion and that the most appropriate treatment is given.”

  • “I can't say enough about this team. My children and I receive exceptional care every time we’ve had to be seen. They are dedicated to everyone and to giving the best care possible.”

Debbie Popielarz, Registered Nurse and Grimshaw Emergency Team member accepted the award on behalf of the Emergency Team.“I never imagined in my career that I would be honoured to be a part of such an amazing team” said Popielarz. “We care for and support each other, it’s such a caring and respectful environment. And to the two amazing ladies, Nicole and Violet, who stepped up and volunteered to work so we could all attend the festivities - thank you. It is people like them that make working in a small facility so great.”

The Grimshaw Emergency Team was provided with a crystal congratulatory plaque and a $1250 donation to be directed to a local non-profit. The team chose to donate to Peace Country Youth Unlimited.