The 2020 Order of Cochrane recipient was announced at Monday’s Council meeting.

The Order of Cochrane is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon an individual by the Town of Cochrane. The annual award is presented by Mayor and Council to an individual who, by their commitment, vision and leadership, has created a lasting legacy in the development of our community.

This year’s recipient is Valerie McCracken.

Mayor Jeff Genung was thrilled to present this year’s award.

“Valerie stands for everything we aspire to in Cochrane,” he said. “She is one of this community’s most active volunteers. Her dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to making Cochrane a better place is something we can all be inspired by.”

McCracken’s most visible role in the community is as the manager of the successful Cochrane Farmers’ Market — including the Downtown Street Market and Last Minute Christmas Market — but she has actually been an active community volunteer for over 20 years.

Her activities include chairing or co-chairing Sustainability Partners Uniting Resources (SPUR), West Valley/West Terrace Community Association, the Cochrane Community Awards and Glenbow School Council. She has also been extensively involved with the Cochrane Environmental Action Committee (CEAC), Mitford and Bow Valley School Councils and Cochrane’s recent Tri-Sites advisory group. As well, she is currently a member of the Cochrane Tourism Association.

Nominators consistently mentioned McCracken’s passion and dedication for Cochrane and her singular talent in building collaborative relationships that benefit the community.

The Order of Cochrane was established in 2009 to honour those who exemplify the Town of Cochrane vision:

Innovative, bold and dynamic, Cochrane is a community that creates its destiny by building on our proud heritage. We are people of vision in environmental stewardship and economic vitality which was passed down to us through our strong and rich western Canadian foundation.

At the heart of Cochrane we value our small town atmosphere, distinctive big hills, escarpments, waterways and unique opportunities. We are a community forged by relationships supportive of our common desire to live long, fulfilling lives.

As pioneers of sustainability, we build on the legacy of our pioneering past. We honour our heritage. We celebrate our strong relationships. We respect the land.

Nominations were accepted between November 10 and December 15, 2020.

Past recipients include Jimmy and Christina MacKay Family, former mayor Lydia Graham, former councillors Ross Watson and Susan Flowers, as well as notable Cochranites Jack Tennant and Maureen Wills.