October 2021 Newsletter

Don’t miss the new TICKET ORDER FORM and Message From Sue — after the People of the Park profile

The latest in our series…


Randy & Doreen Risdahl


Dale Dauten


If you’re like me, you’ve always admired those people who knew from an early age just what career they aspired to—it saves a lot of false starts. For Randy Risdahl, he found his life’s work at age 14, living in his hometown of Calgary. That’s when he volunteered for the Saint John’s Ambulance Brigade, a youth first-aid group comparable to the Red Cross Cadets. Once he finished high school, he took a job with an ambulance company and jumped into his career as a paramedic.

Those early days weren’t easy – the work schedule was four days on and four days off, but those four “on” days were 14-hours each, and five days a week he was also attending Southern Alberta Institute of Technology for medical training. The ambulance company was eventually taken over by the city and he spent 32 years in the job. Randy described those years by saying, “Anytime you can help other people, it’s awesome” and asked for highlights, he chuckled and said, “I delivered in excess of 30 babies, including one of my own—that was the best one.”

And he also recalled with relish his years with STARS, an acronym for Shock, Trauma Air Rescue Society, which meant doing his work in helicopters. For patients to merit helicopter service they had to be deemed “critical”; for instance, cases where a premature baby had to be flow to a regional hospital, or where there’d been a serious accidents on the highway. He recalled just two shaky moments of being in the air, or rather, abruptly not being in the air: “We had two crashes — hard landings – one was weather and one a bird strike.” That all sounds intimidating, but Randy insisted, “I loved every minute.”

Then again, maybe there were a few minutes that weren’t so lovable: when Randy passed along the photo below, from his early days on the job, he remarked casually, “About two hours after this photo, I was shot at.” When asked for details, he merely added, “I was shot at twice and thrown down a flight of stairs. Just part of the job. Thankfully, no serious injuries.” Just part of the job.

Later asked about the darker aspects of the job, like lethal injuries, Randy said, “You learn to treat the body as a piece of equipment that needs to be fixed and fast, and if you can’t fix it, then you help every way you can.”

After 32 years with the City, Randy retired from his job but not his career: he incorporated himself and worked as a consultant; for instance, “A camp might have 5000 workers and I’d be brought in to head a medical clinic.” When he turned 65 a few years back, he finally retired-retired and gave up his license.


Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Randy, fate was working at bringing him together with Doreen. She was born in a town with one of the great names, Medicine Hat, but her family soon moved to Calgary, just across the river from where Randy was growing up. Even so, they didn’t meet till much later.

Doreen didn’t have the good fortune of stepping straight into her life’s work. Rather, soon after high school she married a farmer and adopted two children. The farm life didn’t stick and she found herself back in town, and at 30 years old, starting university. She raised two children as a single mom while earning a teaching degree and then settled into a career of art education.

Across town, Randy had married and had two children but that marriage didn’t last. And that brings us to the “MASH Bash.”


The folks of Randy’s helicopter rescue group STARS had an annual event named after the popular TV show “MASH.” You’ll remember that it was about a Korean War Medical Army Surgical Hospital, and the opening included helicopters rushing wounded soldiers for treatment.

And while the “MASH Bash” brought the couple together, it took two tries. Doreen had friends who invited her to a Bash but at that one, she and Randy didn’t connect. However, she liked it enough to return next time and there the two met and hit it off. Even then, as taken as Randy was with Doreen, he asked her out for a make-or-break date: He was a lover of motorcycles and as he told us, “The first date was a test—we went for a motorcycle ride and I had to see if she was OK with it.” She was and soon they were a blended family, each having a son and daughter from a first marriage.

And speaking of loving motorcycles, Randy has ridden across Canada three times and through all fifty states. As he put it,

“I always needed to see what’s around the corner.”

Eventually, what was around the corner was a Mustang convertible – the couple made the switch a few years back and you may spot them around the park with the top down. You’ll spot them, that is, if they can get back to Silveridge. The pandemic forced them to miss last season at the park and I asked how they felt about it. Randy, a smile in his voice, just said, “You know, it snows up here.” Doreen added, “We missed the park and the many, many friends we’ve made down there.”


The Risdahls first came to the desert when they rented a house from friends in Gold Canyon. “You’d pull into the garage,” Randy recalls, “and that was it — you’d never see anybody.” Contrast that to their visits to Randy’s cousins at Silveridge — the couple experienced the “extremely friendly” folks at the park and noted all the activities at Silveridge and they were hooked.

Randy says, “I try to do everything: stained glass, sports, the theater, Canada Days, golf, softball, lawn bowling. There’s so much to do; you’re not just sitting around the pool.”

Knowing that Doreen taught art in her teaching career, I asked if she was an artist. She paused till Randy stepped in to answer, “Yes! She won’t say it, but she is.” And then she recounted how she’d started a gourd painting group at Silveridge and reminded me that she was one of the artists we’d featured in a “Silveridge Sun” article a few years back. “I’ve also tried stained glass and ceramics – all the art stuff – but my real love is helping others learn.”


Randy had already told us that he “always wanted to see what was around the corner,” which makes for a good philosophy, but we still asked him about the best advice he’d ever gotten. “There’s no substitute for fun,” he replied. And Doreen added, “he gets that from his mother – she was always going, every day, right up till age 93.”

As for Doreen, she recalled one of her university professors asking each student in the class to write a saying or motto that summarized his or her family. “Mine was ‘Don’t make waves.’ Our family was a calm place and I try to live that way.”

It’s a New Day

October 2021

Hello my dear Silveridge Friends,

I haven’t been a full-time student in decades, yet the fall season excites me. September always reminds me of back to school and new beginnings. I remember when Mom took me shopping for new school clothes in Aberdeen, S.Dak. I thought I looked like one of those models from the Seventeen magazine!

Now that I am older, the fall season is just as thrilling, but in a different way. Every year I figuratively try to outfit myself with clothes of a different kind; clothes of love, kindness, and patience. So let’s begin anew, think of how we can make a fresh start and put on those “new set of clothes.”

Many of you are returning to our beloved Silveridge after a year away. Sharon and I welcome you back! I know how excited you are to be back and I promise you that we will do our very best to make this a fun and fruitful year filled with lots of entertainment, food and fellowship!

This season, I have decided to only publish the Ticket Order List from October through December. January through March will be published in December. Last year we had so many changes dealing with Covid and cancellations from entertainers. I want to make sure that all of the events are holding their dates. Since it is only for the first 3 months, you will know your schedules so it will be easier to plan which events you attend.

Starting in October and through December, you will not want to miss any of these special events.

Our Welcome Back Burger Bash will start us off in October, followed by our Halloween party. (Be thinking of your costume as there will be special prizes!) On Nov 4th you will want to dress Hawaiian because we have a Luau; complete with dancers, music and food! Dinner Dances will be back! I have six dinner dances planned from Nov. – Dec. I have decided to keep our dances at 4:30- 7:30. I even have a Karaoke night, and a veteran’s dinner delight show with patriotic music. Brought back by popular demand, I have added MC 6, a Cappella which will be our Christmas Dinner Show, and “In the Christmas Mood” as our Christmas Concert. Welcome our New Year’s Eve Dance with a new time (6:30- 10:30.) The one and only “Ricky and the Radios” will be our band for this special night. And let’s not forget our freebies; with our special Veterans Day Program with coffee and cookies and our Dickens Carolers.

The Ticket Order list will be published in the October online newsletter as well as copies printed and delivered to everyone’s mailboxes as they arrive. Every single or couple must have a separate sheet filled out. Please note if you want to be seated with your friends. You may send your completed ticket order in by mail to the Silveridge Activity office with a check or bring it in when you arrive and we will gladly help you fill it out. Please make checks to Silveridge Activities.

Bingo will be back starting on Nov. 10th with our famous and funny Armand Gagnier. Thank you to all our club and event leaders who will be helping you learn and enjoy your hobbies.

Please watch for starting times for the clubs as they vary according to when the leaders arrive. Stay tuned to Channel 21 for updates of events and advertisers.

A big shout out to returning Jerry Colling, our kitchen manager and head cook; and Tracy Gagnier, our kitchen volunteer coordinator. Also a special thank you to all our summer volunteers who kept the spirit of friendliness alive and fun with potlucks and Saturday night specials.

There are many new people in our park. Be a part of our welcoming committee and take the time to reach out and get to know them. I encourage our “newbies” to share their talent with others.

Let us all be grateful that we have each morning to wake up to new beginnings.

How about trying one new thing this year? After all, it’s never too late to go back to school!

Sue Arneson, Activity Director

P.S. Thank you to Dale Dauten, my co-editor who made the “ People of the Park” come to life this summer with his interesting and timely interviews!



If you know someone in the park you’d like to learn more about via one of our People of the Park profiles, please let me know.

Or, if you have photos you’ll like to share in upcoming newsletters, please send them.

Dale Dauten, Editor

Email: ddauten@gmail.com

Text: 480-297-6244