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Margaret Jerome has been president of Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre for six years, and has returned for another two-year term.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Margaret Jerome has been returned as president of Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre.

Jerome, who has been president for six years, was acclaimed to the position for another two-year term at the organization’s annual general meeting on Sept. 19.

She noted Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre is very important for Hay River and tries to do programming for everybody to come into the centre.

“It’s not specifically for Aboriginal people. It’s for non-Aboriginals included,” she said. “We have a mosaic community, so we try to incorporate as much as we can into our programming. We reach out to everybody. It’s not just one group.”

A new executive and board of directors were also chosen at the annual general meeting.

Beatrice Lepine is vice-president, Monica Maurice is treasurer and Edna Lafferty is secretary.

The five board members are Lila Belanger, Colleen Maurice, Cheryl Melanson, Shelley Maurice and Dororthy Mandeville, who is the elder representative.

“Everybody was acclaimed,” said Shirley Bonnetrouge, the acting executive director at Soaring Eagle.

The centre is also looking for a youth representative to sit on the board.

Bonnetrouge said there were about 20 people at the meeting.

“It could have been more, but on an average that was probably good,” she said of the turnout.

Along with the election, Bonnetrouge said the meeting heard a positive audit of the organization’s finances.

Jerome has been involved with Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre for a decade, beginning as a director at a time when the organization had been closed for almost a year because of financial difficulties.

“So a group of us got together,” she recalled. “We didn’t want to see it closed. So we took over the centre and rebuilt all the finances, paid all the debts and everything, did a lot of fundraising. It took us two years to get out of that mess.”

Jerome said she has found her time with the centre to be very rewarding, noting there have been a number of upgrades to the building and new programs.

As for the future, she said there are a number of goals, including upgrading the kitchen to make it bigger, and creating an area for a washer and dryer and possibly showers for homeless people to use.

“We look forward to serving the community as best we can,” said Jerome.

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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