A pillar of Sundre's medical community was recently presented with the Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan's Award of Distinction.
Dr. Michelle Warren, whose commitment and dedication to her profession has touched the lives of many residents, was honoured during the inaugural Sundre Hospital Futures Legacy Gala.
The event was held Saturday, Nov. 12 at the community centre with more than 200 people attending, not only to support the Sundre Hospital Futures Committee's endeavour to raise funds for physician recruitment and retention as well as a future hospital, but also to celebrate Warren's countless contributions to the community.
The physician expressed a passion for working in a small town whose residents have largely become extensions of her own family.
“My husband (Dr. Rob Warren) was born and raised in Calgary. He came to Sundre and said, ‘OK, we'll give it three years, see how it goes,'” she recalled.
But it only took six months for them to solidify their decision to settle in Sundre. As time progressed, the couple had children, and before long, Warren said she became involved with the Sundre Playschool as well as hockey and dance.
As their children grew up, the Warrens decided to spend time practising in New Zealand to give themselves the freedom to experience more of the world as well as to see what they could do.
“It became apparent to us, that as much fun as it was working in New Zealand, there was something missing. And what was missing was all of you guys — our friends have become family” and patients have become close friends, she said.
“It just went to show that this is what I had yearned for.”
She expressed unwavering gratitude and appreciation “from the bottom of my heart and the heart of my family for allowing us to be a part of you, because you are what makes this possible.”
Warren also praised the medical teams she works with at the hospital as well as at the Moose and Squirrel Medical Clinic, which the doctor operates with her husband.
“You guys know who you are,” she said, adding, “we could never do it alone.”
Throughout her many years in Sundre, Warren said she has experienced a gamut of emotions — ranging from joyful moments such as delivering a newborn baby, to difficult times of hardship, trauma and sadness such as when a loved one dies. All of these and everything in between represent what it means to be a part of the community.
“I look forward to many more years,” she said, following a roar of applause and standing ovation.