December 7, 2020

Each year for the past 13 years, Agnico Eagle has recognized an employee who exemplifies the philosophies of our founder Paul Penna with respect to the call for community involvement. The goal for the prize is to encourage our employees to participate in projects that benefit the local community and do volunteer work with beneficial organizations and events.

In 2019, the winner of the Paul Penna Community Service Award was Pamela Heimpel Wisbrun, from Pinos Altos, Mexico.  In addition to the main prize, we reward regional finalists. For 2019, the prize for the regional finalist for Europe was granted to Niina Tervonen, a laboratory technician at Kittilä’s assay laboratory, in recognition of her work for the Voluntary Rescue Service (Vapepa).

Niina has volunteered with Vapepa since 2011. She participates actively in training and drills held by Vapepa in Kittilä and elsewhere in Northern Finland and has taken part also in the planning and organization of training events held in Kittilä. Since 2016, Niina has acted as the secretary for Vapepa’s operations based in Kittilä, taking care of communications with the region’s volunteers. Her example has encouraged others at the Kittilä mine to take part in the activities.

On several occasions, Niina has participated in search operations when the police required assistance. Last spring, she was involved in efforts to protect buildings from flooding in Kittilä, at the request of the emergency services.

She recently bought a drone, which she is learning to use. She hopes to be able to use it in search operations in the future.

Niina plans to put the Paul Penna prize money of 2,500 Canadian dollars toward the establishment of a Vapepa center in Lapland.  Vapepa centers are control facilities ready to head out whenever the authorities request Vapepa’s assistance.

Vapepa Lapland marked Niina’s prize with coffee and cakes on Friday in Kittilä. We would like to thank Niina and all the others at Vapepa for the important work they perform!

You can read more about Vapepa’s operations at