The Lacombe Business Awards Gala was a great success, bringing in approximately 200 citizens to celebrate entrepreneurialism within Lacombe as well as valued members of the community.
In light of the recent attacks on Paris, several tributes were made during speeches and a moment of silence was observed for the nation.
Business owners and representatives mingled with City officials, council members and members of the community through the celebration. Seven awards were presented through the evening, preceded by a dinner prepared by Central Alberta’s Cilantro and Chive restaurant.
“This is a really unique event because of the nominations and voting and deliberation it takes to determine who the winners are. We start planning way in advance. I think April was the first time our committee sat down and had a meeting,” said Executive Director of the Lacombe Chamber of Commerce Monica Bartman.
“We do calls for nominations, we start looking at who we want for entertainment, what we want the menu to look like – there are so many little details that go into something like this.”
The first award of the evening was the Large Business recognition award, presented to Lacombe Dental. Dr. Mike Lowry and Dr. Paul West came forward to accept their prize, and thanked their customers, families and the City for the award.
The Small Business Award followed, with Elite Bridal Boutique taking home the title. Traci Pluister, Jill Jeglum and Sara Graves approached the stage to give thanks for their recognition. Elite Bridal Boutique was recognized for their involvement with local non-profit organizations as well as community events.
The Central Alberta Buccaneers, also known as the Bucs, were awarded the Not-For-Profit of the Year Award for their off-field contributions to the community. The group was also awarded the Alberta Football League’s Organization of the Year Award earlier this year.
With agricultural practices heavily rooted in Lacombe, a Farm Family of the Year Award was also given out. Peter and Emma Den Oudsten were given this honour, and were joined by their children and children’s spouses on stage to accept the honor.
The Den Oudsten farm was recognized for its dedication to locally grown and produced food as well as the family’s engagement in school and church community events.
During the awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Cliff Carson. He was humbled by the award and gratefully accepted it with a thoughtful speech.
“I want to thank my family and the people of Lacombe for their support over the years. You are wonderful people. I thank you very much for that. I look back now and feel we have better facilities and we have better playing fields for our families and community. We have put Lacombe on the map many times over the years, and I’m proud to say I was part of that and I was involved. I believe Lacombe is a better place because of it,” Carson said.
Carson was awarded for his outstanding contributions to the Lacombe community. He was an active member of many sports and service groups, including the Kinsmen Club – where he served as president in 1967 and was named Kin of the Year in 1970.
He also served on the Lacombe & District Chamber of Commerce and acted as chairman of the Lacombe Hospital Golf Tournament for 10 years.
Carson also was recognized in 1985 as the Independent Grocer of the Year by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers. As well, he was awarded a Governor General’s Award in 1988 for community support in recreation and sports.
“I enjoyed my years of volunteer work – building playgrounds, ball diamonds, swimming pools, golf course, the curling club and others. It was all part of the day back then. For this prestigious award, I thank you,” he said.
Sue Sage was awarded the Citizen of the Year Award, which she humbly accepted. She said that it was thanks in large part to her family, coworkers and fellow members of the community as they supported her efforts to make the City the best place it could be. Sage was also nominated for the People’s Choice Award for Customer Service, which was ultimately awarded to Charlene Reimer of A&W.
Reimer was unable to accept the award in person, but her daughter accepted the award on her behalf. Reimer is currently in the Foothills Hospital in Calgary with an injury from a motor vehicle accident but is expected to make a strong recovery in time.
The People’s Choice Award for Customer Service was a new award this year and was voted on through a live feed on the Chamber of Commerce web site. The award will continue to be a part of future Business Awards galas.