INNISFAIL – For many years Cindy Messaros has carried on with an enormous and important responsibility in her professional life.
She has helped countless new Canadians find a better way of life in this country, and now the longtime Innisfailian wants to serve the community she loves by sitting on town council.
Messaros, 56, grew up in Innisfail and went through the local school system. She did move away for 25 years, but has been back for the past 15 years, and raised two children. Messaros and her family are passionate about the art of dancing, and contributed many volunteer hours to raise funds to support Joy's School of Dance.
She brings impressive professional expertise for voters to consider. Messaros, who has a post-graduate diploma in Adult Education from the University of Alberta, has been the executive director of the Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society (AWESS) for the past 13 years. AWESS is a non-profit training organization supporting all aspects of a worker's career path. Messaros also has 20 years of experience as a teacher for adult immigrants and refugees.
She taught the first wave of Yugoslavian refugees in 1999 and 2000 following that former country’s ethnic war from 1991 to 2001.
“I had people in my classroom who were on both sides, Serbians and Croatians; figuring out how to work with each of them, and also managing expectations from the administration of the organization I was working with,” said Messaros. “I had to figure out how I could diagnose the problem from my point of view so they could get the best experience from the language classes that they were taking so I could help them figure out how they could best contribute to society.”
These past professional accomplishments could be the right tonic for a council that must find a way to help heal a community that became divided over the past few years.
“I want to say something about the divisiveness I have noticed in Innisfail. That is really kind of what drew me in; figuring out how to move forward in a positive way,” said Messaros. “I am interested in working together with council to figure out the next set of priorities to advance Innisfail, and how to accomplish goals and have fiscal responsibility and make sure what we want is affordable.
“I have heard a lot of people in Innisfail talk about the multiplex, helipad and not wanting their taxes raised,” Messaros said of the issues she’s heard during the campaign.
She’s especially passionate about getting the heliport back up and running at its longstanding hospital location. She does not believe the transition solution now at Big Bend Airport is effective or efficient, nor is the idea to continue on with a ground ambulance service to either Calgary or Edmonton.
“I think the heliport is a priority over the multiplex given we currently have some very good recreational facilities,” she said. “I do think a multiplex would be excellent for the community and this is something we need to start planning for as well.”
While her professional credentials are impeccable, and her commitment to help others undeniable, will she be able to give that same determined focus and time to serve the citizens of Innisfail as a town councillor?
“Yes, it’s like anything you start to do. You have to begin to build the time in to do it, and it becomes a priority,” said Messaros, adding she’s aware of the importance of the civic duty she’s seeking to earn and embrace. “I understand there are some difficult waters to navigate right now, and that council has to be able to support the decisions that they make, and they have to be able to discuss why those decisions have been made.”