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Fort Macleod Chamber honours community’s best

Mike Bourassa received the Citizen of the Year award from Chamber director Kayla Weston.

A long-time volunteer, organizer and small business owner is Fort Macleod’s 2019 Citizen of the Year.
Mike Bourassa received the award Oct. 25 at the Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards gala at the community hall.
“Mike Bourassa has been a strong community supporter for years,” Chamber director and award presenter Kayla Weston said. “Mike is keenly interested in improving our community and takes a leadership role to make that happen.”
The chamber sold more than 200 tickets for the awards gala at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.
Other award recipients were Chelsie Harris, Stronghold Brewing Co., Greenery On Main, Caitlyn Leader Dayhome, Darren Housenga, Chinook Dental, Structural Truss and Forma Steel, Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange (SALE), Citizens On patrol and Fort Macleod Glass.
Livingstone-Macleod MLA Roger Reid thanked the small business owners and the other award winners for their sacrifices and contributions to Fort Macleod.
Those efforts are critical to ensuring small communities enjoy growth and prosperity, Reid said.
“I want to thank you for all that you do,” Reid said.
Fort Macleod Mayor Brent Feyter thanked the chamber for organizing the awards program, and for all the other work it does on behalf of citizens and businesses.
The mayor also paid tribute to the individuals, groups and businesses nominated for awards.
“Your work has obviously been recognized and appreciated by the citizens in our community,” Feyter said.
Master of ceremonies Brian Nelson, who is a chamber director, agreed with the mayor that Fort Macleod citizens notice and appreciate what others do on behalf of the town.
Nelson said the number of entries the chamber received for the 2019 awards was overwhelming.
“You’ve already won,” Nelson told the award nominees.

Citizen of the Year
Mike Bourassa was recognized for his longstanding commitment to his home town.
Bourassa has been president of the Fort Macleod Volleyball Club for 18 years, a founding organizer of both the annual STARS volleyball tournament and Hockey through the Ages charity tournament, youth volleyball coach and organizer of the new youth volleyball club.
Bourassa is a former town councillor, past president of the Fort Macleod Historical Association and runs the family business M&A Catering.

Const. Tracey Gates presented the Junior Citizen of the Year Award to Chelsie Harris.

Junior Citizen of the Year
Chelsie Harris was named Junior Citizen of the Year for her volunteerism at school, in the community and with her church.
“Chelsie Harris is a model of community spirit and volunteerism and has been actively involved in the Fort Macleod community for years,” award presenter Const. Tracey Gates said.
Harris served on student council at F.P. Walshe school from Grade 7-12, volunteered with the STARS volleyball tournament, Fort Macleod Triathlon, Willow Creek Wilderness Walk and Run, Back to School Connect, and at Fort Macleod Extendicare.
Chelsie participats in community theatre at the Empress Theatre, volunteering as light and sound technician, as well as hair and make-up artist for several productions as well as performing.
She volunteers with her church’s youth committee and volunteers as a respite worker for special needs children during the weekly church service.
Harris was also F.P. Walshe school’s nominee for the Lloyd Cavers Leadership Award.
“She’s always willing to lend a hand, and is very friendly to those around her.” Gates said.

Rick and Darien Paiha of Fort Macleod Glass received the Outstanding Business Award from Chamber director Linda Henning.

Outstanding Business Award
Fort Macleod Glass, a multi-generational family run business, received the Outstanding Business Award.
Rick Paiha has operated Fort Macleod Glass since 1988 and his children have in recent years become involved in the operations.
“The product and service at Fort Macleod Glass is always top notch,” presenter Linda Henning said. “They provide good quality windows and doors at competitive prices.”
“They possess great customer service skills, often going above and beyond, and that keeps Fort Macleod community members coming back.”
Henning thanked Rick Paiha and family for dedication to the development and growth of the business and for investing in the community.

Ricky Sharma of award sponsor Davis Dodge presented the New Business Award to Ayleigh Henderson of Stronghold Brewing Co.

New Business Award
Stronghold Brewing Co. received the New Business Award.
“In the short time since opening, Stronghold Brewing Co. has become part of the fabric of Fort Macleod,” presenter Ricky Sharma said.
The company is owned and operated by parents Larry and Elaine Henderson and their children, Tom and Ayleigh.
“They have put a lot of time and money into their building to ensure it kept its historical building status, and it is a beautiful, inviting environment,” Sharma said.
Stronghold Brewing Co. receives rave reviews from customers who visit the tap room on Main Street and sample the beer.
“The Hendersons clearly know what they are doing and have developed a strong business plan that helps them succeed,” Sharma said. “The brewery and tap room have added much-needed new life to Fort Macleod’s historic Main Street. They have become the place to be at on main street.”

Jackie Sharp of Greenery On Main received the Small Business Award from Mike Bourassa of sponsor M&A Catering.

Small Business Award
Greenery On Main received the Small Business Award.
“Greenery On Main supplies Fort Macleod as well as surrounding communities with product and service that the customers are wanting,” presenter Mike Bourassa said. “The quality and variety of product is greatly appreciated in a small town.”
Bourassa said customer service is a high priority at Greenery On Main under the direction of owner Jackie Sharp.
“Jackie has grown this business in the last year because of the customers that are treated well and keep going back,” Bourassa said. “This business is a great asset to Fort Macleod.”


Kaitlyn Leader accepted the Home Based Business Award from Derek O’Connor of sponsor Westco Construction.

Home Based Business
The Chamber’s Home Based Business Award went to Caitlyn Leader Dayhome.
“Caitlyn is totally dedicated to her dayhome and she does a fantastic job taking care of the children in her care,” presenter Derek O’Connor said. “She provides a service this community needs for several working families who require childcare.
When the dayhome kids see Leader in the community, they run to give her hugs.
O’Connor said the friendly and welcoming tone of her dayhome is comforting, and people know they are leaving their children in good hands.
“It takes a village to raise a child, and we are blessed to have you in our village.”


Tammy Paiha and Willena Arnoldussen from sponsor Chinook Financial presented the Employee Service Award to Darren Housenga.

Employee Service Award
Darren Housenga received the Employee Service Award.
“Darren is a wonderful, friendly employee at Economy Cashway Lumber and he is a great help in a lot of other aspects of the community,” presenter Tammy Paiha said.
Housenga has been employed by Economy Cashway Lumber for over 25 years.
“He is extremely knowledgeable in all areas of his job, and often willing to go that extra mile,” Paiha said. “Darren is always willing to take the time, no matter how small your order is. He is helpful and has such a kind nature, you can’t help but feel like you are valued when he is helping you.”

Troy Bond of Chinook Dental accepted the Customer Service Award from Ryan Anderson of award sponsor Huckvale Law Office.

Customer Service Award
Chinook Dental was the recipient of the Customer Service Award.
“It is tough to create an environment where people want to come to the dentist — but they pull it off,” presenter Ryan Anderson said. “Visiting Chinook Dental is always a positive experience from the moment you walk through the door. All of their staff are super friendly, knowledgeable and conscientious, and the dentists are outstanding professionals.”
Anderson said the front desk staff are happy and engaging and deal with difficult situations with understanding and professionalism.
“We have heard many stories of Dr. Troy Bond giving up personal time and activities to come in after hours to handle emergencies of our community members,” Anderson said. “Fort Macleod is fortunate to have such dedicated, competent professionals serving our town.”

Coun. Marco Van Huigenbos on behalf of award sponsor the Town of Fort Macleod presented the Large Business Award to Brent Feyter of Forma Steel and Structural Truss.

Large Business Award
Structural Truss and Forma Steel received the Large Business Award.
“Since both Structural Truss and Forma Steel are owned by the Feyter family and these companies go hand-in-hand with each other, this award is being presented to the two of them together,” presenter Marco Van Huigenbos said.
Structural Truss and Forma Steel employ a large number of the people in the community and continue to expand and add more employees.
Van Huigenbos said the companies have provided monetary support and volunteer labour for events, projects, and organizations in the town.
That includes a substantial donation to the W.A. Day school gym expansion, and the spray park picnic shelter.
The companies organize a food drive during the Christmas season and are doing a winter coat drive.
“They continually give back to Fort Macleod, proving their outstanding community spirit and support,” Van Huigenbos said.

Reese St. Goddard of award sponsor MNP CPA presented the Agricultural Business Award to Alyss Doyle of Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange (SALE).

Agricultural Business Award
Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange (SALE) was the recipient of the Agricultural Business Award.
“SALE has long been a leader in the agriculture industry in our area,” presenter Reese St. Goddard said. “They promote new and positive change with things such as the adoption of video sales to its traditional live auctions. Recently the company added sheep and goat sales to its offerings.”
St. Goddard said SALE handles the largest cattle sale in which thousands of cattle are sold, which is a testament the company’s place in the industry.
“Professional auctioneers and support staff keep customers and buyers coming back year after year,” St. Goddard said. “Justin (Keeley) and his crew are known all over Alberta. They are the best cattle auction in the country, and people have tried others over the years but there’s just no place like SALE.”
St. Goddard said SALE provides honesty and knowledge and has the ability to deal with people, handle livestock with expertise, and make it a pleasurable experience.
“Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange is a forward thinking market that always puts its customers first,” St. Goddard said.
The business gives back to the community with support of agricultural events and clubs and community events.

Cassandra VanEe of award sponsor Avail CPA presented the Community Enhancement Award to Cheryl Gatzky and Const. Tracey Gates of Citizens On Patrol.

Community Enhancement Award
Fort Macleod Citizens On Patrol received the Community Enhancement Award.
Known as COP, the volunteer organization patrols the community to report suspicious and criminal activity to the RCMP.
“With the increase of crime, this group has been a great asset to the community,” presenter Cassandra VanEe said. “The amount of hours served by their volunteers is amazing. This great association is committed to helping protect our community members and businesses.”
VanEe said COP provides a welcome deterrent to criminal activity in Fort Macleod.