What do an energy tycoon, a bishop, and the coolest mayor in Calgary’s history have in common? Well, that’d probably make for some interesting dinner party discussion, but besides that, they all spoke at the 44th Annual Calgary Leadership Prayer Breakfast, formerly known as the Mayor’s Breakfast, on Wednesday morning at The Westin downtown.
Walking in, I could feel a sense of grandeur in there. There were corporate lawyers, business executives, and various other affluent people and a few of their children. There were just a lot of, let’s say, leaders present; people who are contributing to their communities, including the young mayor of Crossfield, Nathan Anderson. There were also various other universities present, including Mount Royal University and Ambrose University.
The setting was beautiful, which is a credit to The Westin, because even as I arrived from outside I could see the canopy leading to the entrance, with “The Westin” emblazoned in big, clearly visible letters. It was red carpet-worthy, I must say. I felt like a celebrity just walking up to the hotel. I expected at any moment for that guy from Family Guy to pop out from somewhere and just scream out, “Hey everybody, this guy’s a big fat phony!” But he didn’t, and luckily nobody wised up to my true identity as this poor kid from the slums of Peru. Some people may take such things for granted, but it’s always a big deal to me when I get to go to events like that, where you get an occasion to dress up and meet some of the most successful people in Calgary. Of course, there’s always one thing that frightens me to death: mingling. I have no idea how to mingle or make small talk, so I mostly just sat there and observed people, which I find infinitely more entertaining anyways.
As people processed in, a fellow named Demetrio Navarro played worship music to set the mood. He played later on in the event as well, playing a song of his called Cornerstone (there’s your plug, Demetrio).
Ken King, the Calgary Flames’ President and CEO acted as MC at the event, a last-minute replacement for Darrel Janz of CTV News. I actually thought he did really well as MC, he was witty and engaging. He was one of the highlights of the morning for me; eat your heart out, Ryan Seacrest.
After Mr. King welcomed everybody, Tony Rino sang the national anthem. Then, former mayor Al Duerr blessed the meal.
Rick Fraser then gave greetings on behalf of the province of Alberta. Now, there’s a few things you need to know about Rick Fraser. He’s the MLA for Calgary South-East, an EMT by trade, and also a former hockey player for the Mexico Tuerros, a position which earned him $100 a game. I didn’t even know they knew what hockey was in Mexico…so yes, he’s going on the awesome wall.
Following Rick would have been an impossible task for anyone…except the equally awesome Naheed Nenshi, mayor of Calgary. He’s like our Obama, but with a slick, curly hairdo. I also think he’s done a bit more, but that’s another story. And just for the record, I was rocking that do way before Nenshi was, check it out:
I judge an orator by whether I want him to stop talking, or keep talking, and with mayor Nenshi, both times that I’ve heard him speak, I’ve always wanted him to keep talking. He’s got the stuff, but alas, he could only deliver a small speech because he wasn’t the main attraction, though he should’ve been. Trust me, the guy’s good.
He was followed by Bishop Henry, who sobered the event a little, spoke some very wise words, and said a prayer for the nation.
The main attraction of the event was Ken Kunz, Vice-President of TransCanada Energy. He’s a good ol’ boy, with a penchant for sports and his kids. As he made clear in his speech, he’s been on the receiving side of answered prayers all his life. He taught us that Communism is bad and that God answers the prayers of certain sports teams. I couldn’t tell if he was serious or not, but he was pretty funny about it. Afterwards, a man named Ivan Juul-Hansen gave Mr. Kunz a thank-you gift, and the event finished with Tony Rino singing the Lord’s Prayer.
What I took away from the event was a strong motivation to keep trying to make something out of myself, to do something worthwhile, and to make sure I give back to my community. I mean, if I want to be as awesome as Rick Fraser, I’ve got a lot of work to do.
Oh yeah, and James Mooney was there. There you go, James. There you go.