The annual SaskAbilities Christmas Party shined a spotlight over the weekend on four individuals for their long-term participation. 

For the first time in two years, the organization gathered with community members in the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 56 for the event on Saturday night. 

Jada Watson, the program manager for SaskAbilities, said the party is always a highlight of the year and the countdown for the next one is often started right after the night ends.  

“This year we had over 200 guests attend,” she said. “There are clients of our program, staff and community members. And it's been a great time.” 

The awards recognize members of the SaskAbilities Quality of Life Day Program, starting at 10 years of engagement. 

This year’s recipients were Justine Jonkman for 10 years, Diane Sloan for 30 years, Glenda McMillan for 40 years, and Barry Smid for 55 years. 

A dinner was catered by the Buffalo Brew Pub, and live music buzzed the stage thanks to Bakersfield. 

Chris Martens, community relations coordinator for the organization, expressed the power of the program having multiple long-term members. 

“I think it speaks volumes,” he said. “When you can have an individual that can make it that long in their time with SaskAbilities in whatever variety of ways that they have been involved with it, it obviously shows that SaskAbilities is a versatile organization that can appeal to anybody of any abilities in any variety of ways.” 

Martens added that it felt fantastic to watch the hundreds of people come through the doors to celebrate the four award recipients and SaskAbilities as a whole.  

Juntine_Jonkman"10 Year - Justine Jonkman – Justine embraces every chance to see friends, join activities, classes, events, and volunteer, and she does so with a positive attitude and never-ending energy that makes her an example to others on how to fully enjoy what life has to offer."
Diane_Sloan"30 Year - Diane Sloan – For 30 years, Diane has brightened people’s days at SaskAbilities with her kind and playful nature and her quick wit. She is the first person to greet newcomers and make them feel welcome and loves to be involved and volunteer with her community."
Glenda_McMillan"40 Year - Glenda McMillan – Glenda started off in SaskAbilities’ Sewing and Light Assembly areas. Now she’s busier than ever with going out for coffee, volunteering in the community, enjoying city events, and so much more."
Barry_Smid"55 Year - Barry Smid – Barry joined SaskAbilities two years after they opened in Swift Current. Barry has both seen and shared in the evolution of SaskAbilities over his five decades of affiliation and is most proud of the work he did in the Wood Products area. These days, Barry enjoys coffee groups, armchair adventures, shooting pool, and other activities with long-time friends in the Quality of Life Day Program and with no plans of slowing down in sight!"