A packed house at the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce spoke volumes to the participation in this year’s Sparwood Business Awards.
One-hundred-thirty-nine businesses and individuals were nominated for this year’s awards, and eight winners were chosen.
Karen Sheets was the recipient of the Community Spirit Award, an honour given to someone who has community spirit; someone who volunteers their time and puts a smile on the faces of others.
Twenty-four individuals were nominated for this category, the top four individuals being Karen Sheets, Joni Laberge, Jennifer King and Eddie Holland.
Sheets was awarded because of her help with coaching youth, Meals on Wheels for seniors, and her overall enthusiasm in volunteering and assisting the community in a variety of ways.
The Retail Business Award, an award given to a local business which demonstrates good business standards and ethics, provides exemplary retail products and/or service to their cliental. Twenty businesses were nominated, and Buds and Blooms, Western Financial and Save on Foods were named top three.
Western Financial was awarded top spot.
The Industrial Business award, a business who provides products, service or support to local businesses and demonstrates good business standards and ethics. Out of 15 nominations, the top two businesses were Shaw’s Enterprises Ltd., and Teck Coal.
The 2019 Mine Support/Industrial Business was awarded to Shaw’s Enterprise.
Thirteen organizations were nominated for the 2019 Not-for-profit award, which was given to the Sparwood Trails Alliance. Top three businesses in this category were the Elk Valley Thrift Store, Sparwood Trails Alliance and Sparwood Food Bank.
Western Financial was also awarded the Outstanding Customer Service Award. About 30 businesses or individuals were nominated, with the top three businesses being Western Financial, Rocky Mountain Meats and Sarah’s Dog Spa.
The new businesses of the year award was given to Rocky Mountain Meats. Sarah’s Dog Spa, Crumbs Cakery, and Rocky Mountain Meats were finalists in this category. In March of 2019, Jenise Caseley and Chris Gerlach moved from Alberta to take over Rocky Mountain Meats.
The Free Press previously reported in March that the young family had lived in Sparwood for the past year and has since fallen in love with the community. For both, moving to B.C. was a dream come true.
Community Youth Citizen of the Year was awarded to 13-year-old Steven MacCormack for his dedication to the Sparwood Mountain Bike Club and Trails Alliance, his leadership in teaching others in group riders, introducing others to the club.
Comments about his win included MacCormack going ‘above and beyond’ to ensure others feel included, no matter their age.
Sparwood Secondary School Vice-Principal Jaslene Atwal was named Sparwood’s 2019 Citizen of the Year, for her leadership in the school system.
“She works tirelessly day in and day out, evenings and weekends to make an impact on youth,” read a nomination.
“Since she has come back to Sparwood, the high school has been way better; kids are safer, and she is kind and respectful,” read one of her nominations. “Ask any staff member at the school, and they say she is the best leader they have had at Sparwood Secondary School.”
“She is kind but firm, and always takes concerns seriously. She is active in the community and gets kids involved in making connections; she has the biggest impact on our community so far,” read another.
Others credited her for bringing the school together by building a cohesive team, through dedicated and ethical leadership. They also spoke to her commitment to helping others outside of school, and in the community.
Many businesses participated in the Business Scarecrow Competition, for the second year in a row. This year they were displayed in the mall, and 291 votes by the public were cast. The top three scarecrows were made by the Sparwood Lions Club, Save on Foods, and Lilac Terrace. The 2019 business scarecrow was awarded to Lilac Terrace, who used real false teeth in their creation.