The 2023 Neal Keefe Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award was presented at the last monthly meeting of the Weyburn Agricultural Society to Mike Bell.

T.J. Metherall, President of the Weyburn Agricultural Society, said Mike is a long-standing board member and has helped out with a number of different projects.

"Mike's just a really handy guy, he can fix anything and build anything, in kind of a blink of an eye," he shared.

In fact, in 2023 Mike built a cover for the Ag Society's stage, as well as a side door and an expansion that doubles the stage size.

"So now we have a covered stage and it has an opening platform that opens up to make the stage even bigger, so our entertainment can stay dry and still provide a good venue for showing off whatever entertainment we have."

Metherall said the stage is well-built, it looks great, and it's something they'll be able to use for years into the future.

"There's been multiple projects that Mike's done for us. We had the wind damage back a few years ago. when we had that huge wind storm come through, and Mike stepped up and got our doors back on our barn, and replaced some tin and all that kind of hard work, too. That takes a special skill, and some equipment that he pulled from his work at Souris Valley Industries, and they're a good sponsor and help us out all the time."

He said Bell was also in charge of their Smoker Contest, which hasn't been going in recent years. He also helps out with things like driving the shuttle during Flavours of Fall. 

"[Mike] keeps pretty humble that way, but he gets something in his head and he goes hard, and gets it done and everything he does is top-notch, that's for sure," commented Metherall. 

"His attitude just even toward Weyburn, not just with the Ag Society, but his involvement in Weyburn is another reason that he was chosen. There were a number of other nominated people, but everybody agreed that Mike was well deserving of this award for all the time and effort and everything else he has done. Not just this last year, but over the years.” 

He said Bell has young family as well, “a bunch of kids running around and it it's tough to divide your time and to find the time to volunteer.” 

The award is another way to carry forth the memory of the late Neal Keefe, as he was a constant for their organization. 

“Neal kind of got me started with the Weyburn Ag Society way back when,” he shared. “We just wanted to honour Neal in a special way.”

The award included a take home token as well as a plaque to which the names are added each year, which hangs in the Ag Society office.