Mayor Tara Veer's Community Story
October 13, 2015
I am a born and raised Red Deerian.
Wait… let me rephrase; I am a proud born and raised Red Deerian. One of my commitments as Mayor is to message the “real” Red Deer, the authentic Red Deer that Red Deerians know and love, to the people of our province and our Country. Our community has deeply influenced who I have become, and ultimately, has now entrusted me with the opportunity to influence, in partnership with my 100,806 fellow Red Deerians, who Red Deer will become.
My Red Deer story starts when I was born in Red Deer Regional Hospital and my mom shared a room with another new mom and baby girl who I would later become friends with in elementary school. I learned to skate in the Red Deer Arena and Bower Ponds. I made my first speech and stood up to my first bully at Aspen Heights Elementary. I tobogganed down Michener Hill. My dad and sisters and I rode our family horses through fields that are now developed as Timberlands (I have many stitches to prove it). My love of Shakespeare was inspired by a play at Red Deer College when I was six.
My love of running was inspired by a defining moment in the depths of McKenzie Trails when I didn’t think I could make it and, as it turns out, I actually could. My dad started our family business the year I was born and taught me to work hard, work hard, and work some more. I’ve driven a backhoe through the streets of Deer Park and Rosedale. My first job was at Deer Park Dairy Queen, where I made Dilly Bars and cleaned trays in the back because my ice cream cones were "too generous".
I volunteered at seniors lodges with my church as a kid, and wrote Remembrance Day poems for our local Legion. I used to sign out books at the Dawe Library and buy Nancy Drew’s at Cole’s in Parkland Mall. I remember when Gail Surkan became Mayor and I thought she was amazing. The kids of Neville Close used to walk to the store at Mustang Acres to buy slurpee’s. I petitioned the County school board office alone one day (there is some embarrassing RDTV footage somewhere). When the Oilers won the Stanley Cup, we would go put orange and blue streamers and balloons on the houses of family and friends in Red Deer who were Flames fans (my mom led the "Oilers initiative" and we cancelled a family holiday when Gretzky was traded because my mom cried for days).
I picked a lot of rocks on my family’s land. My dad said it was good for me. I resented it at the time, but now I understand what he meant. I learned to drive a standard on Ross Street hill. It was awful… for me and everyone on the road that day. My love of community was inspired by my time at the County school in the heart of the city, River Glen. I nearly suffocated as a child at the downtown Recreation Centre, but Red Deer Emergency Services saved my life.
I toured City Hall when I was 10, and decided I wanted to become Mayor one day.
I began my post-secondary at Red Deer College and after two lonely years of moving to Ontario for University, and upon being presented with political opportunities in Ottawa, I chose to move back to Red Deer, because it was…home.
All of us have our “Red Deer Stories”, some of them are shared, some of triumph, some of tragedy, and some are uniquely personal, but all of us are a part of Red Deer’s story. My Red Deer story is one example of the authentic Red Deer. My Red Deer experience is true to our community identity: Our connection to the adventure of the outdoors, the possibilities borne out of entrepreneurship, education, and strong work ethic, and about a strong commitment to community life, and leaving this place, and the lives of others, better than we found them. Our beautiful city, our great community has influenced all of our stories. And we are, in turn, influencing Hers.