Lyn Radford isn’t in it for the accolades, but she’s certainly earned them.
The passionate community sport builder has been honoured with the The City of Red Deer Lifetime Sport Achievement Award for 2019.
“I had to reflect back on my life thinking ‘Wow, am I old enough for a lifetime achievement award?’” she joked after receiving the honour at Tuesday’s Red Deer Rebels game at the Westerner Park Centrium.
“We’ve got such a fantastic community. It motivates you and I’ve been motivated for this community for over 30 years.”
Radford has been the leader of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, serving as board chair. But that’s just the latest role on a decorated resume.
She helped bring the 2006 Alberta Summer Games to town, as well as the Olympic Torch Relay in 2010. Radford was part of founding the Alberta Sport Development Centre – Central and spearheaded fundraising for a gymnastics facility and Red Deer Curling Centre expansion.
“Sport has always been a big part of my life, a big part of raising our kids,” she reminisced. “As you go through that journey you recognize there are areas that can just use a bit more enhancement. That’s what’s motivated me all along.”
Pride for her community has been a great motivator for Radford, a pride never greater than on the heels of the 2019 Games.
“If our community can handle what we just handled the last two weeks we can handle anything that is thrown at us.”
Radford says the work she’s done in the sport community has only been possible thanks to great support from her family.
“In particular with this last stint,” she noted. “I have 10 grandchildren, I didn’t have 10 when I started this, and I knew that I wasn’t going to get to all the hockey games and watch them in their own sport journey. But everyone was encouraging and the kids have always been understanding. Mind you, they’re not letting me off the hook now that the Games are done!”
Radford encourages anyone with an interest or stake in the local sport community to help out by giving a piece of their time, no matter how small, toward making it better.
“Probably the big breakthrough (for me) was when we realized gymnastics really needed their own dedicated facility,” she recalled. “The kids were out tumbling through the parking lot, running through the door to hit the track so they could complete their run. They never ever got the chance to complete a full run until they were at a competition.
“Nobody does this alone. It’s the people (who) see the vision along with you. Next, it’s all the partners that you need to bring in. Everyone has to have skin in the game or you don’t appreciate it, I’ve always been a big believer in that. So if you want to build something, find the big partnerships.”
Radford says it’s fairly obvious what should be next for the local sport community.
“We’ve got to talk about a pool, someday. That has got to be our next conversation,” she declared. “Once again, that is going to take partnerships. It’s going to take everybody being all in.”
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