By Karlene Skretting
Westwind Weekly News
After 27 years of dedicated and diligent service on the Raymond Irrigation District (RID) board, Alan Heggie is saying his goodbyes and stepping down for health reasons.
Heggie began his service on the RID board in March of 1988.
“Over the years, he has been very diligent in his service as a member of the board, representing the Raymond area of the district,” said RID manager Gordon ZoBell.
Between 1988 and 1996 Heggie served as director, then as chairman of the RID board between 1996 and 2012, continuing on as the Raymond director until his last RID board meeting on Feb. 25.
“Even in his senior years, Alan is still a sharp individual who contributed much in meetings that he attended.”
Heggie was born and raised in Raymond. The 86-year-old spent much of his life devoted to bettering his community for both current and future generations.
“I don’t know if he has ever really left,” said RID chairman Byron Wilde with a chuckle, about Heggie’s choice to call Raymond home since birth.
One of his strongest assets was that he knows the area very well and everybody in it.
“He knew everybody and had been part of the community for a long time … and could see the big picture from multiple angles.”
As part of his affiliation with the RID, Alan served on the Irrican Power board for 16 years. He was instrumental in seeing the Raymond 4, 5 and 6 Hydro Plant built. It is located three kilometers west of Raymond on the St. Mary River Irrigation District (SMRID) main canal.
“He was very involved with all of the decisions made during that time and showed a lot of foresight to make sure that things were done to benefit the farmers of the future.”
Heggie also served on the SMRID Advisory Committee for 16 years. During that time he helped develop sound policy that assisted the partner districts (RID, TID and SMRID) get through the driest and wettest years of the century.
Over the years, Heggie made several trips to Edmonton to meet with politicians and lead bureaucrats to lobby for irrigation funding and good legislation.
“Heggie has always placed the producer and their needs first, but is not afraid to stand up for good policy and fairness all around. Alan has the ability to see an issue from both sides and has always been a very leveling influence in meetings he attends,” shared ZoBell. Adding that he will be missed.
“The RID water users and staff thank Alan for his years of service and wish him the very best in his retirement.”
Craig Palmer will officially take over Heggie’s duties as RID director on March 18. Palmer won his three-year term position by acclamation, as he was the only nomination.
Alan has received many awards over the years for his volunteer service:
1982 – Canada 125 award for outstanding contribution to the community
1993 – Inducted into the Raymond Sports Hall of Fame
1996 – Selected as Raymond Honorary Cowboy
2000 – Named Cowboy of the Century by the Raymond Town Council
2003 – Queens Golden Jubilee award
2004 – Received Honor for a lifetime of volunteering from Raymond Chamber of Commerce
2005 – Received the Alberta Centennial award
2006 – Received the AAAS Honor Roll Plaque from Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies
2014 – Alberta Irrigation Projects Association (AIPA) Gold award