Individuals and businesses were honoured at last week’s annual Hay River Chamber of Commerce Gala, among them some of the leaders of the community.
“It’s important,” said Steve Anderson, board member and co-owner of best-business winner Super A. “We like to see people recognized, and at the gala, it’s fun and it creates excitement.”
Those recognized at the event included Juaning Capulso for the Best Customer Service Award and Louise Schumann for the Alfred Mansell Citizen of the Year award. The latter accolades included a painting from a young artist.
“It was a surprise, really,” said Capulso, who works at the Ptarmigan Inn. “It’s really great to be recognized. It’s a validation of the service I’m giving.”
He said that while he doesn’t generally think of any awards while working, this one will give him a special boost of motivation to keep it up.
“It’s giving me more will to do this, to see that people appreciate the work I do,” he said. “It’s hard work but I believe Hay River people deserve good service.”
Schumann felt similarly about the award not changing anything in her regular behaviour but agreed that it was an honour to be recognized.
“There are so many people who so so much in this community, and sometimes it just takes someone to take the time to recognize them,” she told The Hub. “Hay River is a good community to live in because of the people here.”
Schumann said she wouldn’t be able to do all the volunteer work she does without the support of her husband and that she hopes they are setting a good example for their own children.
“My mum and dad volunteered a lot,” she said. “And I hope we’ve been good role models for our boys and that they see that giving back in the community is just something they should do.”
For Anderson, the gala and its awards ceremony is an important part of creating a community of businesses in Hay River.
“We may be going through difficult times, but Hay Riverites are strong enough to overcome,” he said. “Where there are issues, there’s opportunity.”