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Portage's best on display at awards gala

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

A collection of Portage's finest were gathered at the Glesby Centre Friday evening for the Chamber's Best Business Awards Gala.

Fourteen individuals and businesses were recognized at the eighth annual gala – including four additional awards that were added to the 2017 edition by the good people at the Portage chapter of the Interprovincial Association on Native Employment (IANE).

“I think we know that Portage has one of the most vibrant, dynamic business communities that you're going to find anywhere in the province. Tonight gives us a chance to recognize a lot of those business owners,” says Preston Meier, president of the Portage and District Chamber of Commerce. “It is important to recognize people that do an outstanding job. The efforts, the investment they put in and of course what they bring to the city of Portage la Prairie.”

Along with recognizing some of the city's top businesses, a handful of individuals were honoured for the fine work they do within the community to make Portage a better place. Among those recognized were Lynne Parker as the Citizen of the Year for her role with ROK Central. Alexandrea Nadeau was named the Youth Volunteer of the Year for her creation and implementation of Girls Igniting Real Leadership (GIRL). Cathy Holmes was recognized as the Sportsperson of the Year while Daily Graphic/Herald Leader columnist Lee Beaton was named the Arts and Culture Person of the Year.

“I think we're a special community and I think its because of the efforts of the business owners and because of the efforts of the individuals that really make that difference,” adds Meier. “It's important that they are recognized because they go that extra step. They do that extra thing in order to make Portage a little bit better.”

2017 continues to be banner year for ROK Central as the local organization – led by Citizen of the Year Lynne Parker - was recognized as the 2017 outstanding non-profit for its efforts to provide underprivileged youth with stable, organized recreation. In less than two years the organization managed to secure incorporated status and move into its own office building thanks to a partnership with Manitoba Housing.

“I couldn't ask for a better job. I love my job so it's easy to keep pushing forward and working with the kids and hoping to make some differences in their lives,” says Parker. 'I'm surprised. I think there's a lot of people in our community that could have easily won this award that put a lot of time and effort into their organizations and into our community.

It validates that what we are doing is making a difference and our community, I think, agrees with what we're doing.”

Complete list of award winners follows:

Citizen of the Year - Lynne Parker

Outstanding Small Business Award - JL Agronomics Ltd

Outstanding Medium Business - Portage Consumers Co-op

Outstanding Contribution to the Community by a Business - Portage Clinic

Long Term Achievement Award - Southport

Outstanding Contribution to the Community by a Business Executive - Vern May of Portage Regional Economic Development

Art and Culture Person of the Year - Lee Beaton

Sports Person of the Year - Cathy Holmes

Outstanding Not for Profit - ROK Central

Youth Volunteer Award - Alexandrea Nadeau

IANE Portage Chapter Awards:

Spirit of Growth 2017 Award - Arrowhead Development Corporation

Best Business Award - Rene Ouellette

Outstanding Contribution to the Community by an Indigenous Elder - Terry Pashe

Outstanding Contribution to the Community by an Indigenous Youth - Kayla Tanner


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