Former water operator from Carry the Kettle, Sask., receives National First Nations Water Leadership Award
September 19, 2019 By Ground Water Canada
Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory – A First Nations military veteran and former water operator in Carry the Kettle in Saskatchewan has been awarded the National First Nations Water Leadership Award by Indigenous Services Canada
This year’s winner, Deon Hassler, is a First Nations military veteran and former water operator in his home community of Carry the Kettle in Saskatchewan, Indigenous Services Canada said in a news release. Hassler has shared his knowledge and expertise with other First Nations communities through the Circuit Rider Training Program at File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council for the past five years.
Circuit riders are a team of qualified experts who travel to First Nations communities, training the people responsible for operating, monitoring and maintaining drinking water and wastewater systems. As a circuit rider, Hassler also assists other First Nations operators in obtaining and maintaining their certification, and provides advice to chiefs and councils.
His latest work has been to advocate for the creation of a Saskatchewan Operators Association for First Nations water and wastewater operators.
“Ensuring the health and safety of a community’s water supply is a role I take very seriously, both as a Circuit Rider Trainer and a former water treatment plant operator,” Hassler said. “I am fortunate to be in a position where I can now share my years of experience and knowledge, to help train, mentor, guide, and assist new and future operators and leaders in the ongoing care, maintenance, and operation of this critical piece of community infrastructure.”
In making the announcement, Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan recognized the work done by First Nations:
“Water operators are essential to ensuring First Nations communities have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water. Water operators work long hours, often with little recognition, to watch over their community’s water supply. It is the hard work and dedication of people like Deon that is vital in helping us achieve our goal of lifting all long term drinking water advisories by 2021. Their work has been integral in the 87 successful lifts to date and is a key factor in the progress on the remaining 56 LTDWAs. Thank you Deon, and congratulations for winning the National First Nations Water Leadership Award.”
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