Don Vander Velde - Division 3 Councillor
I was born at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary, Alberta on May 2, 1945. I attended school in Strathmore for 10 years, then two years in Carseland, and then onto Olds Agricultural College in 1963 and 1964 where I took the General Agriculture course. There I met Florence McBee, who was to become my wife and best friend. Florence and I married in 1965 and have three boys: Shawn, Mike, and Scott. Our sons are all three fine gentlemen with off-the-wall senses of humor. We were able to rent my grandfather’s farm on a 1/3 to 2/3 basis plus working with my dad and using his machinery. Dad bought me my first tractor, a Case L.A. The tractor pulled 12 feet of cultivator and burned 45 gallons of gas a day, plus 1 gallon of oil. After seven years we were offered the chance to buy the farm. Flo and I farmed the land along with 50 head of cows until 1983. In 1983 we held a farm auction and rented out the crop land keeping the cows and hay land. I took a real estate course, got my licence and sold farm land and residential property – it just wasn’t what I wanted to do. In 1987 I took my auctioneer’s licence and sold cars, trucks, industrial equipment for eight years. I’m still involved in the auctioneering, but would like to do more of it.
One of the highlights of my life was to be involved with the Calgary Police Association, being a ride-along member for six years, also being special police security during the 1988 Winter Olympics at Athlete’s Village in the University of Calgary. One day I was the “special escort” for “Eddie the Eagle,” the most popular athlete of the winter games.
One time I had the privilege of listening to an old rancher from Billings Montana. He was in his early 90s. He had spoken at many graduations at Colleges, Universities, High Schools, and weddings. He said, “Now that you are ready to enter life as an adult, you have visions of retiring with rewards such as money, travel, and good health at the end of your journey. You are wrong. The reward is in the journey!”
Now I’ve entered a new stage of my life, becoming one of the councillors for Wheatland County in October 2007, finding the position very challenging but also very interesting.
In my opinion, there are two groups of people who deserve special attention. It is the young children, for they are our future. It is the old, for they are our past. It is up to us, as governing bodies, to help them make that journey as safe and easy as possible.
Don Vander Velde
Division Three Councillor