Its Official! On October 25th, 2018 Sheila Willis will be presented with an Outstanding Achievement Awards for Heritage Awareness.
Every two years the heritage awards are presented by Alberta Historical Resources Foundation (AHRF). They recognize an individual’s exemplary long-term leadership and contribution to the preservation and presentation of Alberta’s history.
The nomination came from Murray Kerik, the Reeve of the MD of Lesser Slave River, Sheila’s local municipality. Read the MD announcement here
“I was honored just to be nominated.” says Sheila Willis. “It shows not only an appreciation of my efforts but the importance of keeping the history of smaller communities alive.”
Her passion for local history started with the stories shared by Sonny Willis, her father-in-law. The area around Smith was historically important and tied to many other communities. To ensure it was not forgotten, she started to share – and share – and share.
Classroom presentations involved the local kids in the history. A geocaching tour for Smiths Centennial in 2014 has brought over 500 people to her small community. Her latest project, is the History Check mobile app. The history of northern Alberta is being shared using smart phone technology. The information contains continues to grow through Sheila’s research and other partnerships. As it develops, a world wide audience will be able to explore out history where it happened.
“Each community in the north, has a piece of history that directly ties it to another community. Through documentation, and the use of search words on History Check, we will be able to see these connections like never before” she says.
The project is still in the early stages. Placing the information and stories on the map, all with keywords to search, is a big job. The flight path of Wop May’s Mercy flight to Fort Vermilion can be seen. Previous names of communities and their locations can be found on the map based app. In once case, a person found the site of their grandfather’s grave site by searching his name.
History Check is a free download on both the App Store and Google Play. You can also follow this LINK
We look forward to seeing more, and congratulations on a job well done!