Lakeland Credit Union (LCU) honoured Josephat Hamel (1906 – 1978) with a place on their Wall of Distinction June 1.
“Joe” Hamel moved to Bonnyville in 1929, opening a slaughterhouse and meat shop. He was the patriarch of the local Hamel family, with subsequent generations operating separate meat shops in Bonnyville and Cold Lake.
In 1949, he was part of a group that discovered a natural gas field within Bonnyville town limits, launching the town’s energy sector.
Hamel was a founding member of the Bonnyville Gas Company and the LCU Board of Directors, and served on town council for 35 years.
He is the second person to be recognized on the Wall of Distinction. Victor Ringuette was inducted last year.
LCU president Sal Arabi said the history of the credit union is tightly linked to the history of the community.
“As everybody knows about credit unions in general, it’s built by people. That’s how this all started. And as I just mentioned with Joe’s family, he was part of starting this credit union and bringing it to where it is now,” Arabi said.
The Wall of Distinction is meant to reflect that, he said.
“There’s a lot of good people in this town and I’m hoping that we will recognize them as we go.”