BY KALISHA MENDONSA
The community came together this past weekend at the 2016 Lacombe Business and Awards Gala, where various members of the City and Lacombe County were recognized for their contributions in business and community development.
“This is a great event, not only for our business community, but for the community at large as well,” said Monica Bartman, executive director of the Lacombe Chamber of Commerce.
“It gives us a chance to shine a spotlight on small businesses that are doing really great things but also on individuals with the Citizen of the Year Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award and the People’s Choice for Customer Service Award.”
This year, the Small Business of the Year recognition was given to Blindman Brewing, which opened last year. They have seen success in their pilot year and the Blindman brews are already being served in over 200 locations across the province.
Large Business of the Year went to Dancer’s Edge Studio, which has made significant contributions in terms of volunteerism and community participation, including supporting non-profits with fundraising efforts and spaces.
This year’s Citizen of the Year is Corey Gish.
Gish was nominated and chosen for her heavy involvement in and support of local community groups that include LMC fundraising projects, the Kinsmen Club, the Legion, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Lacombe Athletic Park Association and other various sports groups and the Lacombe Music Festival.
Gish’s love of her community can also be seen in her dedication as an executive with the Chamber of Commerce from 1997 to 2002, her contributions as board member for the Lacombe Health Trust and her drop-in notary services provided to community groups that Gish performs free-of-charge, with a recommended donation to the Lacombe Food Bank instead.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mildred ‘Millie’ Snow for her years of dedication with the Lacombe Food Bank and her caring, giving nature towards other soup kitchen programs. Snow remains general manager of the Food Bank and is the director of the thrift store housed in the same building.
Although the Gala takes place during Small Business Week, Bartman said the Chamber recognizes the need to address various groups and individuals around the City that contribute in their own way, either economically or socially.
“The Farm Family and Not-for-Profit of the Year awards help us showcase people across different sectors of the community that are excelling and are setting an example for other people in our community,” Bartman said.
Ken and Linda Landmark of Landmark Feeders have been named the 2016 Farm Family of the Year for their decades of innovative farming practices.
Both Ken and Linda were recognized individually for their various community contributions to groups such as the Clive Lions Club, Turville Community Association and Red Deer Feeders Association for Ken and a dedication of nine years with the Lacombe Hospital Board for Linda.
Linda was also recognized for her connection and dedication to Lacombe County in various roles.
Not-For-Profit of the Year went to Mother Goose Playschool for their outstanding practices in early child-minding and education.
The preschool uses the SPICE philosophy – social, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional development strategy, and was praised for innovative practices such as this.
A nomination period takes place, usually beginning in the summer, where individuals in the community or businesses can nominate people to be chosen for the various awards presented at the annual Gala.
“Those nominations are coming from businesses and individuals in the community that recognize those who are doing things differently or making an impact, and want to see them celebrated,” Bartman said.
For the People’s Choice in Customer Service Award, nominations are made and a public voting period takes place online. This year, past Citizen of the Year recipient Sue Sage was awarded the honours of the Customer Service Award.
Sage remains a dedicated member of local business with Lacombe Storage.