Our Community

We're a community with many traditions. But one tradition that ties us together is a tradition of giving...giving back to the community and giving to those who need our help.

The St. Albert Community Foundation reflects that tradition of giving.

Tornado-tossed volunteers

John and Terri Farlinger honoured for philanthropy - By Kevin Ma (c/o St. Albert Gazette)

It was a tornado that set John and Terri Farlinger down the road towards philanthropy together.

The former co-owners of Farlie Travel said their friends had been bugging them to go on a date for quite a while before they agreed to meet on Aug. 2, 1987. Just two days before their date, a devastating tornado ripped through Edmonton, killing 27, including a close friend of John’s brother. John said he heard on the radio that the city needed volunteers to help sort donated clothes in an airplane hangar on Kingsway Avenue. When he got there, he saw there were just 20 people wading through a hangar’s-worth of clothing. “I phoned Terri and I said, 'I don’t think I’ll be able to make it,' " John said – he didn’t want to abandon these folks for a date. Terri, though, decided to come down and help. “Our very first meeting was at the hangar sorting clothes,” Terri said.

That first meeting was the start of a lifelong relationship for the Farlingers and their first joint venture into volunteerism.

The City of St. Albert announced Friday that John and Terri Farlinger were the winners of the 2018 St. Albert Philanthropy Award.

The award recognizes those who make significant contributions in time, money and energy to their community and serve as an example to others, said Kent Davidson, president of the St. Albert Community Foundation (which hosts the award ceremony). “They come as a package, those two,” he said, and they both have a long history of helping other people. “We really need people like that in our community. We really need people who think of others first.”

Just giving back, they say

John began Farlie Travel in St. Albert in 1978. The couple continued with the business until 2013, during which they and their staff ran donation programs for Santas Anonymous, food banks, women’s shelters, schools and many other groups, Davidson said.

They also funded graduate of the year awards at St. Albert Catholic High and Richard S. Fowler Catholic Junior High for about 25 years. The two of them regularly serve meals to downtown Edmonton seniors through Operation Friendship Seniors Society, and decorate the garden and gazebo in Estate Park.

John is a former president and current honorary lifetime member of the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce, and has for many years been the volunteer MC of choice for fundraisers and political debates in St. Albert, Davidson said. He is a founding member of St. Albert Victim’s Services and T8N100Men.

Terri has spearheaded an effort that so far has raised some $300,000 to renovate the roof of Holy Family Parish and was an active member of the Richard S. Fowler and École Marie Poburan parent councils. She was also a manager and volunteer with St. Albert Ringette and the Knights of Columbus Basketball Association. While he did some charity work back when he played for the Edmonton Eskimos decades ago, John said he and Terri didn’t really get into volunteerism until after their kids started school. That got them involved in schools and sports and the Chamber, which exposed them to all the various needs in the community. Customers started approaching Farlie Travel for help, and by that time the Farlingers had the resources to spare.

“It’s all the people in this city that made you successful. It just makes sense you help out in return,” John said. John said he and Terri volunteer because it’s fun, especially when you do it with friends as they do.

“You go through life once. You give back where you can,” John said.

The Farlingers are scheduled to receive their award, a plaque, from St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron in a ceremony at the Sturgeon Valley Golf and Country Club on Dec. 9, Davidson said.

Tickets are available for the event and can be reserved by calling Dave Reidie at 780-459-4189 or 780-446-1241.

The St. Albert Community Foundation is an organization created and managed by a group of St. Albert residents who believe in charity, philanthropy, and the importance of community. Visit our Blog to learn about upcoming events and news from the foundation.

St. Albert residents know full well the gift of community which St. Albert has bestowed upon them. Over the last 150 years, the City has enriched the professional and personal lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens. The St. Albert Community Foundation provides a flexible vehicle through which grateful citizens may repay the community and its future generations.

We hope that you will join us in this great philanthropic enterprise by starting your own family endowment fund or considering us as part of your long term planning for charitable giving. With your help, we can continue to assist local charities in ensuring a healthy community "for generations to come."

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  • The St. Albert Community Foundation is a registered Canadian charity.
    Charitable number: 86875 5646 RR0001
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