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Fort Macleod Chamber awards nomination deadline approaches

The COVID-19 pandemic has put Fort Macleod through the wringer for the past six months.

All the more reason to celebrate the community’s best and brightest through the annual Chamber of Commerce awards to raise people’s spirits.

Chamber executive director Ashley Nelson said it is more important than ever for Fort Macleod to honour its top citizens and businesses.

“This has been an extremely challenging year for our businesses, and on so many levels,” Nelson said. “Most have experienced mental, emotional, physical and financial stress to varying degrees as they’ve tried to cope with changes they needed to make as directed by Alberta Health Services to ensure the safety of their staff and customers during this ongoing pandemic.”

Businesses have gone through months of uncertainty as some were forced to shut down and send staff home or saw their sales fall off as public health restrictions were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Mike Bourassa was honoured as Citizen of the Year in 2019.

Nelson said the chamber executive has been impressed with the way Fort Macleod weathered the COVID-19 storm, showing creativity, innovation and determination in overwhelming circumstances.

 “We have some exceptional people in our community and they need to be recognized and applauded for their efforts and achievements,” Nelson said. “To receive that pat on the back, a feeling of appreciation or being acknowledged, can be just what they need to motivate them to continue on with their endeavors.”

“Taking that few minutes out of your day to send us a nomination could be an act of kindness they will never forget.”

The chamber will present awards to the Citizen of the Year and Junior Citizen of the Year.

Fort Macleod Glass was named Outstanding Business last year.

Awards will also be presented in the following categories: Outstanding Business, Small Business, Large Business, Agricultural Business, Home-based Business, Community Enhancement, Customer Service, New Business and Employee Service.

So far close to 50 nominations have been submitted on-line, but most will not be accepted because they simply list a name, with no explanation of why the nominee is deserving of the award.

“The judging team will need that information to make an informed decision,” Nelson said. “We encourage nominators to take a few minutes to write even just a sentence or two describing why they have selected that nominee.”

The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Nomination forms are available at: https://fortmacleodchamber.typeform.com/to/zextqyaJ.

Nominations can be e-mailed to fmchamber1888@gmail.com, mailed to P.O. Box 178, Fort Macleod, T0L 0Z0, dropped off in a sealed envelop at the chamber office on Main Street.

The COVID-19 pandemic and public health limitations on the size of gatherings forced the chamber board to postpone the awards banquet.

“With the current gathering restrictions of a maximum 100 people, they just felt they didn’t want to limit the attendance to this celebration,” Nelson said. “Last year we had over 200 people attend.”

If the chamber held the banquet in October it would have to limit attendance to  nominees and their one guest.

“That just isn’t how we picture this celebration, which has really grown over they last couple years,” Nelson said. “We are hopeful that restrictions will ease later on in the fall or early in the new year so we can proceed under more nomal circumstances.”

A date for the banquet has not yet been selected.

Award recipients in 2019 were Mike Bourassa, Citizen of the Year; Chelsie Harris, Junior Citizen; Fort Macleod Glass, Outstanding Business; greenery on main, Small Business; Stronghold Brewing Co., New Business; Structural Truss-Forma Steel, Large Business; Darren Housenga, Employee Service; Chinook Dental, Customer Service; Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange (SALE), Agricultural Business; Kaitlyn Leader Dayhome, Home Business; and Citizens On Patrol, Community Enhancement.

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