Melchert inducted into Prince Albert Women’s Hall of Fame

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne, 2022 Women's Hall of Fame Inductee Delphine Melchert and Prince Albert Council of Women president Chrissy Halliday pose with the portrait of Melchert which will be on display in City Hall during her induction ceremony Tuesday morning.

Tuesday was supposed to be Delphine Melchert’s day in the spotlight, but the 2022 Prince Albert Women’s Hall of Fame inductee couldn’t help but put the focus on someone other than herself.

The Prince Albert Council of Women (PACW) celebrated International Women’s Day on Tuesday by officially inducting Melchert during a ceremony at City Hall.

Melchert said the ceremony made her think of women in Prince Albert and around the world who face difficult challenges every day.

“We know that there is oppression and inequality everywhere, and I was thinking of those women and girls today,” Melchert said.

PACW president Chrissy Halliday inducted Melchert during Tuesday’s morning’s ceremony. The theme of International Women’s Day was Women Inspiring Women, and Halliday said that Melchert has inspired her many times.

Melchert credited her family, and the Prince Albert women who have gone before her for creating a path others could follow.

“I am inspired by so many leaders in our community,” she said. “I am inspired by my mom, my sister who recently passed away and all of my sister -in-laws, all of the women in my family. Of course, our families always inspire us to do better and to move forward and try to make the world a better place.”

For many years, Melchert was a community school coordinator. She was also the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Education. She campaigned for solutions to reduce family violence through education and intervention, and helped build community support systems for people at risk of violence.

Another notable contribution Melchert has made is to the Community Networking Coalition, of which she has been the coordinator for over twenty years. She worked on the City’s Social Master Plan, contributed to early childhood education and security studies, as well as adult and family literacy and community development. Melchert said she got involved because the need was there.

“I think it comes from growing up in a small community,” she explained. “You just grow up just doing what needs to be done and always just trying to do the right thing.

“I think that we are connected as a community. When you step forward and do one thing it just leads to another, nothing is done in isolation,” she added.

A number of Prince Albert residents nominated Melchert for the Hall of Fame. Dr. Chad Nilson with the Living Skies Centre for Social Inquiry spoke on behalf of all of them, and told a story about starting his career in Prince Albert after finishing his Phd.

The first three people he talked to said that he had to meet Melchert, so they met at the Prince Albert Inn restaurant and discussed what could be done in the community.

“To this day that inspiration keeps driving me and I want to thank you for that,” Nilson told Melchert during the ceremony.

They’ve worked together on many projects since then. Nilson said Melchert is a gateway to getting things done in Prince Albert, and always brings excitement, passion, and unwavering optimism to the cause.

“While I have spent some time describing her ability to mobilize, engage and deliver I would be remiss it I did not describe Delphine’s personality and treatment of others,” Nilson said. “Whether someone is the executive director of an elite organization or a high risk vulnerable person that has burnt all of their bridges, Delphine treats both with equal respect. Her compassion for humanity, understanding of where people are at, and non-judgemental ability to get to know someone has won a lot of hearts.”

Melchert was presented the painting called “Onward and Upward” by Larisa Semballuk Cheladyn. Onward and Upward is the National Council of Women’s motto.

In her speech Halliday explained that she first met Melchert when she was a community coordinator at Riverside School.

“She has an exhaustive list of community development accomplishments that she has worked on, and projects that she has worked on,” Halliday said.

“She does all of these projects all of the time and she doesn’t expect recognition—95 per cent of the time we have no idea that she is working on that unless she needs you to help or she needs your opinion or something like that. Then all of a sudden it comes out and it’s like, ‘oh yeah, Delphine did that.’”

Halliday said that Melchert works every day to make Prince Albert a better place

“We need people like Delphine in our community,” Halliday added. “The thing is, not everybody is going to be the one organizing etc. We also need people to stand up and help, whether it be packing food bags, donate books, spend an hour a week with a family.”

In her speech, Melchert thanked the Prince Albert Council of Women for promoting and achieving their goals. Melchert added that she was “so proud to have my picture hang amongst those women.”

Women inspiring Women is the Canadian theme and Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow is the international theme for International Women’s Day.

Overall Melchert was surprised to be nominated.

“I was blown away, I was dumfounded, I had no idea,” Melchert said.

“All of the people who came with you on this journey, they all had something to contribute to who you are today and to your own journey absolutely.

“I just want to thank the Council of Women for bringing these issues forward not only today but all through the year and the importance of the work that they do,” she added.