The event was emceed by Naomi Nicholson, owner of Secluded Wellness Centre and last year’s Women Leadership Award winner, and opened with special greetings and songs from Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations. Hinatinyis (Brittany) Johnson of Huu-ay-aht First Nations also took a moment to teach the crowd a dinner song and dance.
“I know not everyone is a dancer, and not everyone is a drummer or a singer,” she acknowledged. “But I’d like you to just stand where you are at your tables and we’re going to learn two little moves.”
The Citizen of the Year Award went to Sally Anderson, who was ushered to the stage as the crowd waved flags in her honour. Anderson, sometimes also known as “Flag Lady,” has been greeting train passengers in Port Alberni for almost two decades, waving flags from her backyard as the train passes her home.
But Anderson is also known for her volunteer work in the community, particularly with the NeighbourLink Society’s Read and Feed breakfast program, which aims to keep elementary school students in the Alberni Valley healthy and fed.
Anderson thanked the business community after receiving her award on Friday, and also acknowledged the volunteers who help out with the breakfast program.
“Everyone who comes to butter toast and cut the cucumbers for them and hand them out and read them a story and give them smiles…they’re the ones who share this award,” she said. “And I just do what they tell me.”
Full list of award winners:
Community Events Award – Five Acre Shaker
Health and Wellness Award – Healthy Habits
Women Leadership Award – Terry Deakin
Social Media Award – Cloud City
Green Award – Guy Langois, Shelter Farm
Welcoming Workplace Award – Handy Andy’s
Chamber Award – Deb Haggard
Volunteer of the Year Award – Marilyn Gibson
Customer Service Award – Double R Meats
Ambassador of Service Award – Kim White, Bare Bones Fish and Chips
Tourism and Hospitality Award – Arrowvale Campground and Collins Farm
Business Investment Award – Flooring Depot
Special Recognition Award – Steam Punk Café
Youth of the Year – Memphis Dick, Sarah Higginson, Jayson Matthews, Lihn Tran, Emily West
Rising Star Award – Power of Three
Business Excellence Award – Jowsey’s Furniture
Visionary Award – Foster Coulson, Coulson Ice Blast
Citizen of the Year Award – Sally Anderson