A couple in the Foothills is being recognized by the Calgary Stampede for the time and financial support they've given back to the community.

John and May Lockhart live in High River and are one of three finalists nominated for a Stampede Western Legacy Award in the Sustained Contribution by an Individual category along with Bruce Roy and Mackenzi Mitchell.

The Lockharts have been the final bidder on the Longview 4-H Beef Club donation steer a tremendous nine times.

May Lockhart says they then turn around and donate the beef from the steer to the High River District Health Care Foundation.

She says the beef is used in a staff raffle, and the remainder of the meat is distributed to the four senior residences in Foothills County.

The Lockharts were recently honoured with this year's High River District Health Care Foundation Clifford and Louise Lougheed Award for Philanthropy.

May married into the 4-H way of life, as John's roots in the program stem back to his days as a member of the Cayley-High River Beef Club and the East Longview Grain Club which he participated in with his brother.

"We've been sort of involved with 4-H and its activities ever since," John said.

John went on the give back to the youth and community through his service as a 4-H Club Leader for the High River Beef Club.

He was also one of three Leaders of the Okotoks Beef Club in the mid eighties when his boys were members of the club.

(L-R) Club Leader Stephen Hughes, Cathy Couey with the Health Care Foundation, John Lockhart, member Jarett Wideman, May Lockhart and member Rhylen Wideman with the donation steer at the Club's 2019 Show and Sale in May.

However, the couple's generosity doesn't stop there as they also sponsor endowments for students at six universities.

The awards are for students at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, Mount Royal University, University of the Fraser Valley, and the University of British Columbia.

May says her mother was a teacher and always encouraged her children to have an education.

"She was the one who said that if my brother's were going to get an education, so were the girls," she explained. "My father was from an older school of thought, and that education has done wonders for us."

The Lockharts also have an endowment set up with the Alberta Children's Hospital where their teenage son Doug was treated for cancer, but passed away in 1985.

May says it's evolved into a popular one day conference for doctors, nurses, specialists and researchers to gather.

The event called the "Doug Lockhart Memorial Lectureship in Pediatric Oncology" is next scheduled for March of 2020 at the Children's Hospital.

May explains they sold the sheep and cattle off their farm when their son was undergoing cancer treatments and John broke his leg, all while challenging market conditions were taking their toll on the agriculture sector.

May says they then moved to B.C. for a short period of time and the money from the sale of the livestock was put into an investment.

"Over time it does make a big difference and you don't have to be rich to start out with it. We started with next to nothing."

When speaking to the Stampede Award nomination, John says it's very humbling.

"We had no idea that what we were doing anybody was even aware of it, let alone would recognize us for it."

The awards will be given out at the Calgary Stampede grounds on Tuesday, October 28 with the reception starting at 6:00 p.m.


Read more: Blackie Youth Finalist For Stampede Western Legacy Award


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