The man whose family has led efforts to raise close to $1-million for research for a cure or treatment for a rare genetic disease is Fort Macleod’s Citizen of the Year.
Conrad Van Hierden was honoured Thursday during the Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce’s awards banquet at Holy Cross Hall.
“It’s very much appreciated,” Van Hierden, who is chairman of the A-T Children’s Project, said of the award.
The Chamber also honoured Alan Poytress, Geoff Markey, Don’s Barber Shop, Larson’s Tire Shop and Angie O’Connor and Family and Community Support Services.
Chamber past president Srecko Ponjavic told the 52 people at the banquet, which included a meal catered by Macleod Restaurant, it is important for the community to recognize the contributions of others.
“It’s an opportunity to congratulate each on the good work — on the fine work — done in this community,” Ponjavic said. “We have some winners who were very exemplary.”
Chamber president Terry Daniel agreed.
“Isn’t it nice that we have an evening like this where everything is positive,” Daniel said. “We’re here to celebrate people and businesses who have done some amazing things in this community.”
Van Hierden was recognized for the work he has done organizing the annual Walk for A-T, which has raised nearly $1-million.
The money is used by the A-T Children’s Project, which funds research into a cure and treatment for ataxia-telangiectasia, or A-T.
A-T is described as having cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, immune deficiencies, muscular dystrophy and cancer all rolled into one.
A-T targets children, who gradually lose their motor skills and often do not live past their teens.
The annual A-T Walk attracts more than 300 people every year, who raise money through pledges prior to a walk and after-party.
“It’s teamwork, family and friends,” Van Hierden said in a text message from Phoenix. “I owe my family so much for their help.”
Van Hierden was also recognized for the work he does with the Rotary Club of Fort Macleod, as a member of the Crime Prevention Advisory Committee with through involvement with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Other nominees were Terry Daniels, Don McLean and Angie O’Connor
Employee Service Award
The Employee Service Award went to Geoff Markey of Hansen’s Family Foods.
“This award is presented to a shining star who shows excellent service in a business or an organization and demonstrates integrity and leadership,” Ponjavic said.
Nominees were Hannah Brauer of Young Parkyn McNab LLP, Ken Harris of Fort Pharmacy and Marlene Kells of the Town of Fort Macleod.
Small Business Award
Don’s Barber Shop received the Small Business Award.
“This is to recognize small businesses that show outstanding community spirit, customer service and support,” Ponjavic said
Ponjavic said Don’s Barber Shop and its owner Don MacLean are an outstanding example of a small business in the community.
Other nominees were The Macleod Gazette, Town and Country Liquor Store and Tru Hardware.
Alan Poytress of Fort Macleod Chiropractic received the Community Enhancement Award.
“This award is given to recognize businesses, organizations or individuals who have shown outstanding community spirit and support,” Ponjavic said.
Poytress was nominated as organizer of the annual triathlon, which attracts about 300 competitors, as well as his decision to erect a new building on 25th Street to house his business, other offices, a gym and weight room.
Other nominees were Angie O’Connor, Scougall Motors and Peter Maas.
Customer Service Award
Angie O’Connor of Family and Community Support Services received the Customer Service Award.
The award recognizes people who demonstrated outstanding service and integrity.
The other nominees were China City Restaurant, Fort Macleod Medical Clinic and Fort Pharmacy.
The Outstanding Business Award went to Larson’s Tire Shop.
“This is to recognize local business’s dedication to development and growth,” Ponjavic said.
Other nominees were Bridge City Chrysler, Macleod Restaurant and Lounge and Scougall Motors.
“There are quite a lot of amazing individuals and organizations in our community,” Ponjavic said. “We really appreciate everything you do.”