Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 19, 2006
Allan Wachowich wins CSS award of excellence
Msgr. Bill Irwin Award for Excellence is given to renowed Court of Queen's Bench justice
Justice Allan Wachowich
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Allan Wachowich has been awarded the Msgr. Bill Irwin Award of Excellence by Catholic Social Services.
Father Mike McCaffery presented the award to Wachowich before 300 people at the agency's 44th annual meeting at Hotel MacDonald June 9.
"Justice Wachowich is being honoured for his integrity and his exceptional service to the cause of justice in our city, province and country," McCaffery said.
"As a chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta since 2000, Allan's outstanding leadership skills have faithfully served both the broader community and his beloved Church."
Named after the agency's founder, the Msgr. Bill Irwin Award is granted to organizations or individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the well being of the community or who have demonstrated the highest standard of excellence in a human service's field.
McCaffery, former senator Thelma Chalifoux, and Judy and Harry Buddle are among past award winners.
"I'm very happy to receive this award named after my good friend Bill Irwin; it really touches my heart," Wachowich said upon receiving the award.
Irwin taught him about the need to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty and clothe the naked.
Over the years, Wachowich has served on the boards of many Church organizations, including the WCR, the Friars, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Catholic Charities and the St. Thomas More Catholic Lawyers' Guild, an organization he started in 1963.
Born the seventh of eight children in Edmonton March 8, 1935, Wachowich attended St. Joseph's High School and served as an altar boy at St. Joseph's Basilica.
He has been a lawyer since 1959, a judge since 1979 and was appointed chief justice of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench in 2000.
Wachowich and his wife Betty have been married for 47 years and have four children, two of whom are lawyers.
"Justice Wachowich is a humble man, is widely acknowledged and respected for his elder statesmanship, his wisdom, his goodness, and his passion for social justice," McCaffery said.
Six volunteers were also recognized with awards for outstanding service.
Colleen Klein, wife of Premier Ralph Klein, who heads the provincial task force battling the scourge of crystal meth, also addressed the CSS meeting.
She said crystal meth is dangerous because it is highly addictive and leaves victims with brain damage and gaps in memory.
The drug is made by mixing cold medication with about a dozen caustic chemicals, including camp fuel, acetone, methanol and drain cleaner.
The crystals are most often inhaled or smoked. "You know it has to be unbelievably addictive for people to put that in their bodies," Klein told the meeting. "It's heartbreaking to hear the stories of those who are addicted."
Colleen Klein speaks out
Klein says the only way to stop the meth monster is to work together to develop strategies for prevention and healing, including having healing centres readily available to victims at no cost.
She said the task force is now accepting submissions from Albertans before presenting recommendations to the premier and the minister of health.
Christopher Leung, chief executive officer for CSS, announced the completion of several new initiatives over the past year.
They include the launching of Genesis II, a program that provides specialized counselling, referral and support services for youth and their families confronted with substance abuse and the completion of McDaniel Manor, an assisted living residence for 10 seniors with physical and developmental disabilities.
He also mentioned the development of a six-week inculturation program for foreign priests in collaboration with Newman Theological College.