By Sandy Laumeyer
Courier Correspondent 

Governor, Canadian Consul Honor Nashua's Shirley Ball


Courtesy of Shirley Ball

Pictured (L-R): Governor Steve Bullock, Shirley Ball, and Canadian Consul Marcy Grossman.

Recently, Montana's Gov. Steve Bullock joined with Canadian Consul General Marcy Grossman in welcoming guests to a retirement reception in honor of Honorary Consul Shirley Ball of Nashua. The reception, held in the governor's reception room at the Montana State Capitol building, was hosted by the Canadian Consulate and attended by about 50 people. Ball retired after serving for 10 years as the Honorary Consul for Canada in Montana.

The Honorary Consul job requires that the person provide insights and Intel to the consulate, and work to create economic opportunities and maintain a high profile for Canada. The consul must also assist in establishing close relationships between Montana and Canadian entities, especially in the areas of agriculture, energy, and political leadership.

Grossman opened the program saying, "I like to think of Shirley as an honourary Canadian. Her grandparents came from Canada, and she was born less than an hour's drive from our shared border. Her dedication to growing the relationship between Canada and the great state of Montana has been instrumental to the numerous successes we've seen over the past several years. Her work has helped to build strong bilateral relationships between Canadian officials and Montana's mayors, governor and U.S. representatives and senators. We are deeply grateful for her service, and wish her all the best in her much-earned retirement." She also remarked on the history that Ball brought to the job, including her work with agricultural organizations and her passion to promote biofuels as a renewable clean energy.

In his remarks, Gov. Bullock commented on the great relationship that Montanans share with their neighbors to the north and how easily we can work together when we meet. A congratulatory letter from U. S. Senator (D) Jon Tester to Shirley stated that "Canada has always been a trusted partner of Montana and your work has made that relationship even stronger". Letters were also received from U. S. Senator (R)Steve Daines and Ambassador Max Baucus.

Ball responded by telling some of the highlights during the 10 years. She explained that when Governor Schweitzer first asked her to submit her name for the position she declined, saying she was busy and did not have time. However, she was persuaded because the subjects of agriculture, energy and politics blended very well with her life.

Ball said the job required that she attend events throughout the state to represent Canada and to speak. There was travel to Canada for training sessions in Ottawa, and twice she toured the oil sand facilities at Fort McMurry, noting the reclamation of the land. She attended Canadian Renewable Energy Workshops and visited Canadian energy businesses that enabled her to meet experts who then came to the annual Ethanol conferences she coordinated to share their technologies.

A highlight was a flight on the state plane to Regina with a group of officials from Helena. The plane stopped in Glasgow to pick her up and bring her back. Receptions and dinners she hosted included a dinner for Oil Executives who were attending an energy mission sponsored by Gov. Schweitzer. Receptions were held for the Canadian Snow Bird Flying team at an air show, and a rodeo group at the Great Falls State Fair as well as a theater group at Alberta Bair Theater in Billings.

In addition to Grossman, attending from the consulate in Denver were Stephen Davis and Jerome Pischella. Other guests were Shirley's daughter, Jackie Dowell, grandson Eric and Sandy Dowell and their children, Katheryn, Christopher and Kimberly. Also, extended family from North Dakota, Kevin and Deb Jordet were in attendance. Other guests came from Lethbridge, Alberta, Great Falls, Kalispell, Fort Peck and Helena.


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