TWU alumna recognized for leading the way during Calgary flood response

In June 2013, Calgary’s Bow River started rising and didn’t stop. Many in the downtown core were stranded in apartments without electricity or clean water. TWU alumna Julie (Grant ’89) Kerr, Senior Operating Officer, Community Rural and Mental Health – Calgary Zone, contacted her family to let them know she wasn’t coming home that weekend, and didn’t know when she would be.

“In many ways, Julie is the personification of the University’s mission to ‘develop godly Christian leaders; serving God and people in the various marketplaces of life,’” said Vice President, Alumni and Community Engagement Scott Campbell.

During the 2013 Calgary flood crisis, Julie’s creative leadership helped the Alberta Health Services community provide medical and mental health to thousands of displaced Albertans. Working with a budget exceeding $1 billion and a staff of 7000, Julie—a former Resident Assistant who led a bible study and served on the student newspaper at Trinity Western— was instrumental in the responding to the needs of her community. She used community centres and college and university student housing facilities to keep hospital ER rooms available for emergent care.

Many of those helped through this strategy were long-term care residents, addiction and mental health clients, homecare patients, and people with chronic conditions. “When disasters like this strike, you can see where the fabric of our society is worn thin,” said Julie. This experience gave me the chance to work with organizations that meet the needs of those who are often invisible.”

Julie—who currently hosts the Calgary TWU parents group and has mentored TWU students—continues to lead the way in enhancing community and mental health care in Calgary. She has a particular passion for preventative care that reduces the need for higher-cost treatment after a disease is discovered. Her work on men’s health has garnered international recognition.

The recipient of the 2014 Alumni Achievement Award at TWU’s second annual Alumni Weekend, Julie and her husband of 25 years, Michael, have four children—two of whom are current TWU students. You can watch her story, as well as the stories of other Alumni awards, at twualumni.org.

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