The Alberni Valley business community packed the Italian Hall on Friday, April 20 to celebrate the 2018 Community Excellence Awards.
Dewayne Parfitt was named Citizen of the Year for the years he’s been a strong community supporter and volunteer. He’s been involved with Scouts Canada, was a director and then president of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce—which presents the annual awards—helped develop the Ambassador Program for the chamber, was president of the 2004 BC Winter Games Society, has served as treasurer, board and choir member of the AV United Church, has been president of a Rotary Club, volunteers with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, was treasurer of the PA Home Support Society, is secretary for the McLean Mill Society and more.
“I moved here in 1989 from Prince George and thought I was moving to heaven,” Parfitt said of his love for the Alberni Valley.
Charlene Patterson earned the Spirit of Music Award for Char’s Landing, an intimate performance venue she opened in a renovated church on Argyle Street in 2010. “Char’s Landing is a community,” she said. “It’s not Charlene that was nominated. I’m grateful for my staff and volunteers…and the community that joins us on a regular basis.”
Rick Geddes, deputy chief for the Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department, earned the Special Recognition award. He was also nominated in the Health and Wellness category. “He’s very much a community man,” said Terry Deakin of INEO, which sponsored the award.
“He cares about the health of our community.”
Naomi Nicholson won the Women Leadership award for the work she has done with her Secluded Wellness Centre. She thanked the chamber of commerce for putting on the annual awards.
“These awards are so important because a lot of the work people do, you don’t see tangible results,” she said.
One person who was truly surprised at winning an award was master of ceremonies David Wiwchar, who was kept in the dark about his honour despite announcing the evening’s program. Wiwchar was awarded Volunteer of the Year for all the years he has put into the Port Alberni Toy Run, including the last seven as chairman.
Guest speaker Val Litwin, president of the BC Chamber of Commerce, congratulated the Alberni Valley business community for its strength. “It’s such an incredible signal that this Valley is diversifying,” he said of the nominees, calling the business atmosphere “ambitious.”
“I get a sense your community is really at a tipping point,” he said.
Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce president Brad Minton said the awards represented a group of people fulfilling their dreams and passions. “These people pour out their blood, sweat and tears to make their organizations and their community a better place.”
The list of 2018 winners:
Health and Wellness— Ahimsa Yoga, Jan Norman
Spirit of Music—Char’s Landing
Special Recognition—Rick Geddes, deputy chief, Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Dept.
Women Leadership—Naomi Nicholson, Secluded Wellness Centre
Social Media—Electron Metalworks
Green Award—Alberni Aquarium and Stewardship Centre
Welcoming Workplace—Azalea Flowers and Gifts
Chamber Award—Sonja Drinkwater
Volunteer of the Year—David Wiwchar, Port Alberni Toy Run
Customer Service—Pacific Rim Veterinary Hospital
Ambassador of Service—Shauna Jasken, Gone Fishin’
Tourism/Hospitality—China Creek Campground
Business Investment—EM Salon and Spa
Youth of the Year—Brandi Andreeff, Laurel Davidson, Malaika Stone, Aaron Badovinac
Rising Star—Aaron Colyn, Twin City Brewing
Business Excellence—Naesgaard’s Farm Market
Visionary—100-plus Women Who Care Alberni
Citizen of the Year—Dewayne Parfitt