Prince Albert Abbeyfield House co-founder recognized with national volunteer award

Molly Cowie, a longtime board member and co-founder of the Abbeyfield House in Prince Albert, received a national award for her years of volunteer work.

The Robert McMullan Award for Excellence and Outstanding Service is given annually to an individual who has best served those in the Abbeyfield community, something Cowie has done in Prince Albert since 1996.

On Thursday, however, she was quick to point out she wasn’t the first Prince Albert resident to receive the McMullan Award. Local Abbeyfield president Sylvia Gent received the award three years ago, and Cowie said it was an honour to be in such company.

“When this award came about in 2019, she was the first one to receive this award for volunteering, so there’s two of us now here in this same house,” Cowie said. “I’m not only very appreciative of this award (and) very honoured, but I am also very appreciative of what Sylvia has done.”

Cowie’s community involvement was well known before she started with Abbeyfield. She was a graduate of the Holy Family School of Nursing in Prince Albert, and alter taught in the nursing field with Kelsey Community College for 25 years.

In 2004, she was named Prince Albert’s Citizen of the Year, and in 2005, she received a provincial award recognizing people who make major community contributions.

Although she already had a lot on the go, Cowie jumped at the chance to be involved with Abbeyfield years ago, and hasn’t regretted it.

“We certainly knew there was a need in Prince Albert for seniors’ housing,” she said. “I liked the concept, and I went to Sylvia and said ‘I’ll help!’ Well, I’m still helping.

“I can’t help but thank all the volunteers that are so important to us, particularly during the fundraising period,” she added. “The volunteers are very hard workers. I still get calls for Christmas Cakes and Christmas Puddings. That was one of our activities.

“If only the volunteers could be here, I would certainly say part of this award belongs to them as well.”

Warren Jahn, one of the Abbeyfield House residents, said Cowie and the board have done an excellent job making the house a welcoming place, especially over the past two years.

“We’ve gone through a difficult time over the last couple of years, and we have kept Covid-free,” he said. “The cooks are great. We enjoy what we can. When we can do something, we volunteer and help out, and that goes for everyone here. Some made pickles, some picked cherries, and some pit the cherries. It’s a very fine place.”

Cowie said Abbeyfield has been a wonderful addition to Prince Alber.t She’s hopeful that someday another group of dedicated volunteers will come forward to create a second one.

“I hope someday, we’ll see another Abbeyfield in Prince Albert,” she said. “Maybe someone else will come along to help.”