The Plum Coulee Foundation held its Annual General Meeting last night, where two individuals were recognized for their community contribution.

Heather Unger, President of the Plum Coulee Foundation, announced the late William Wiebe as The Community Builder of the Past.

This award recognizes a person that played an integral role in the history of Plum Coulee.

Ron Wiebe, son of William Wiebe

"It's always good to recognize those who came before us and thank them," said Unger. She notes Wiebe was a businessman and long-time volunteer, who was very involved in the community.

Accepting the award on behalf of Wiebe was his son, Ron Wiebe.

"We feel really blessed that the foundation has chosen Dad for the award, it brings back a lot of good memories," said Wiebe.

William Wiebe started his life in the St. Joseph area and later moved to a farm a couple miles south of Plum Coulee. He later purchased a home in town with his wife. Wiebe started a trucking/transfer business with his brother in 1939. In 1946 the brothers started Wiebe Bros. garage, which was known for its excellent customer service.

The Wiebe Bros. garage had one of the first television sets in the area and people would gather there to watch boxing and hockey. Wiebe worked late hours but also found time for hunting and fishing. His community involvement also included serving as a trustee on the Plum Coulee School Board, advocating for the construction of the Maple Manor Housing Project, serving as a board member for the Plum Coulee Credit Union for 30 years, serving as a board member for the Plum Coulee Bergthaler Mennonite Church, as a treasurer for the Board of the Plum Coulee New Horizon Centre, and as councillor and deputy mayor for the Village of Plum Coulee for 15 years.

Wiebe's involvement in the community could also be seen through his wife, Tien, who was part of the Women's Institute, the Marissa Mission Group, 4-H Cooking Class for boys, member of the curling club, and a volunteer at the Plum Coulee New Horizon Centre.

Jill Friesen, Citizen of the YearThe Citizen of the Year for 2017 is  Jill Friesen, who Unger said is always willing to give a helping hand.

"She's been putting on free community meals for the last few years, she helps out a lot at the school and church," said Unger.

Friesen moved to Plum Coulee 9 years ago from the Dominican Republic, where she was teaching with her husband. To get to know the community better, Friesen started a free meal program.

"I was involved in different things like the Mom's Program here in town, and I just noticed there's such a diversity and people weren't necessarily getting to meet each other and get connected," Friesen explained.

"Even being in the kitchen with four or five women was such a fun day, and spending the evening with other people volunteering and doing dishes, it wasn't a hardship to do it at all, it was a highlight," she added.

Friesen is known for being a parent volunteer who coaches baseball, is involved with her church, and helps ESL learners with Bible study.

Community Builder of the Past William Wiebe, pictured with wife Tien Wiebe

During the evening the foundation also handed out $20,000 dollars to the organizations below:

Pembina Valley Humane Society - $500
The Centre on Main - $2,100
Plum Coulee Minor Soccer - $350
Plum Coulee Minor Baseball - $1,500
Plum Coulee House League Hockey - $1,500
Plum Fest - $1,600
South Central Ariels - $1,500
Community Hall - $600
Plum Coulee School Advisory Council - $650
Plum Coulee School - $1,150
Town of Plum Coulee LUD - $1,000
Plum Coulee PrarieView Elevator Museum - $2,900
Plum Coulee PrairieView Elevator Maintenance Fund - $4,728