Gabrielle (Gabe) Simpson - 2019 Elsie Yanik Recipient
Past Provincial President, June Fuller (right) presented the Elsie Yanik award to Gabrielle Simpson (left) at the 2019 ABMK Convention.
Gabe exemplifies the CWL Motto "For God and Canada". She has always been involved in the military because her husband is a retired soldier. Her service to the military includes being secretary of the local chapter of the National Association of Federal Retirees and secretary of the Peacekeepers Park Committee, where her role is to be the contact for families of fallen soldiers and to organize seating plans for ceremonies at Peacekeepers and Buffalo Park. Gabe and her husband, Sam, have also dedicated themselves to assisting returning soldiers who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When Gabe moved to Calgary and St. Peter's Parish in 2008, she became a CWL member and immediately took on active roles in assisting the funeral lunch team and helping with the annual Ladies Dinner and Harvest Dinner. In 2009, she accepted the position of member-at-large on the executive and then went on to serve two terms as treasurer and one term as communications chair. When Gabe saw other ladies wanting to serve on the executive, she stepped aside to help coordinate the 2019 National Convention. Most recently she has accepted to serve as secretary-treasurer of the Calgary regional CWL.
Gabe's faith in God is her guiding light. She serves and leads with patience, encouragement, and quiet strength. When St. Peter's Parish hosted the Man of the Shroud Exhibit in 2018, Gabe coordinated the entire event. Through her guidance, many people who had not previously volunteered in the parish came forward and forged new friendships, thereby strengthening the bonds of the parish community. Gabe brings this same gentle leadership to her service as a Eucharistic minister and on the parish collection counter and grocery card teams.
According to her Council president, Gabe does not like to be in the limelight, but she is always part of the background that supports the group through willing hands and a prayerful heart. This is illustrated by the following anecdote: A few years ago, Gabe and Sam had the opportunity to go to France with a group to visit and participate in the ceremonies at the Canadian military sites. As excited as they were about the trip, Gabe's lament was that she would not be able to help with the Ladies Dinner. When it became apparent that Gabe and Sam would be returning to Calgary a little earlier than anticipated, Gabe fired off an email to our council saying, "I will be able to come to the Ladies Dinner! What can I do to help?" It was not a request to get her ticket nor to reserve a spot for her, but a simple and joyful expression of her desire to serve others.