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President A-TCP Canada Awarded Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for Volunteerism

"...Conrad Van Hierden.... The operator of Hilltop Dairy is also president of the Fort Macleod Crime Prevention Advisory Board and president of the Rural Crime Watch Association for the region.

But he is probably even better known for his fund-raising efforts to find a cure for ataxia-telangiectasia or A-T, a rare and deadly genetic disease that targets young people and robbed he and his wife of their son, Randy, in 2004.

He is president of the Canadian Chapter of the A-T Children's Project. Over the years of their involvement, the Van Hierdens have helped raise more than $1.4-million for A-T research through organized walkathons, golf tournaments, fishing derbies, dinners, silent auctions, bake sales and other events.

Van Hierden was in California earlier this week, volunteering in a fund-raising marathon in support of A-T. Those types of efforts are a way of life for the dairy farmer.

"It's something that's automatic," he said. "Family comes first and then the work and then the volunteering."

"But if you get the first two done quickly, then you've got more time to do other things. I do operate at a very fast pace."

The rewards of his fund-raising efforts, augmented by the immediate and extended family, keep him going.

"We've seen progress in the research and we've also met a lot of great people and seen the faces of the A-T children, when they see and hear that there's actually people working as hard as some of the volunteers work in raising money for research."

Van Hierden said he vowed to continue his volunteer work after Randy died because of his son's attitude.

"He inspired me in so many ways with the energy he had in dealing with the illness."

The inspiration appears to have rubbed off on the Van Hierdens' other children, Katie, Jennifer and David. They also volunteer for A-T events and other causes...."

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