Richard Gregory comes from a family of volunteers and carries that tradition proudly. Growing up in Biggar, Saskatchewan, his rural roots instilled a passion for community service and helping others. That passion eventually led to his pursuit of a career in social work and recognition of his contributions at a national level.
He recently received a Canadian Association of Social Workers’ (CASW) Distinguished Service Award, which honours the contributions made by the social work profession in support of building stronger families, communities and a more equitable Canada.
With over 8,000 members in the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW), to be the provincial recipient of this award is humbling, says the Medicine Hat College (MHC) department chair of health and human services and long time social work instructor.
“It's very significant for me because I was nominated by my professional organization. It's such an honour to be recognized by your peers.”
The nomination is well-deserved. Gregory has served as a Member at Large, Treasurer, Vice President and President with the ACSW and completed 14 years of volunteer work with the Council of the Alberta College of Social Workers. He continues to advocate for the regulation of the profession, build solid relationships with social work educators and members of legislature, and participates in national and international organizations including the Canadian Council of Social Work Regulators, the Canadian Association of Social Workers and the Association of Social Work Boards.
He acknowledges his employer for being able to serve in this capacity.
“I appreciate working at Medicine Hat College and having the opportunity to be involved with my professional organization. I share this award with MHC.”
In addition to educating future social workers at the college and working with his professional organization, Gregory has given his time and energy to many other groups over the years. He has previously served as the president of the board for the HIV Network in Medicine Hat, chairperson of the Social Development Advisory Board with the City of Medicine Hat, board member for the Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter and secretary for the Canadian Association for the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment in Higher Education. He is also a strong advocate for equality and social justice and lobbied for the inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected right in Alberta.
His commitment to giving back has been recognized before. He received a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award in recognition of his volunteer commitments in 2013. Three years later, he was the recipient of a Hero Award from the Chinook Foundation of Calgary for his work in advancing the quality of life for the LGBTQ community. He was also presented with the Sunny Andrews Award from the Association of Social Work Boards for outstanding regulatory social work board service in November 2016.
And while Gregory continues to give, he also receives a great deal of satisfaction from advancing the profession.
“So much of my identity is about being a social worker and I am honoured that I can contribute to the profession in any way. I think being a social work educator is the best job in the world because it's about formulating social work practice for the future.”
After 30 years in the social work field, Gregory’s passion for service has brought him full circle.
“Helping out your neighbours, that's what we did. By teaching social work, I'm exactly where I’m supposed to be – helping others.”
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