Awards will be presented in the following categories at the 2009 High Level & District Chamber of Commerce President's Ball:
Category: Small Business of the Year
Sponsored by Trans Canada Pipeline
Nominee: Day Lighter
You know that little place where you want to go and just sit and have breakfast, a cup of coffee, read the paper and catch up on all the news of the day? Well, that is the Day Lighter. You don’t have to wonder why there are so many people who traditionally go to have breakfast and just a great place to start your day because whether you are a regular or not, Brenda and Justina greet each patron with a “Good morning. Are you going to have your regular?” There is even a reserved table for her most ardent guests. The Day Lighter has a bright and cheerful ambience created not only by the décor but by the staff and customers alike. It is just a fun place to go. The Day Lighter offers a great variety of fresh baked goodies and if you need to pick up lunch for a meeting, they ensure that you have everything you need for that. The quality of the food served is just like “mom used to make” Just a point of interest, Stephanie won the Junior Citizen of the Year Award in 1991. Not surprising they have been nominated this year.
Nominee: ATS Customs
Brian & Pam Munroe are certainly no strangers to High Level. They have lived here for 19 years. They moved to High Level to open the Winks franchise, formerly know as the Red Rooster store and owned that for 2 years. Following that, the opened and operated Northern Tire & Auto for 12 years and sold the business in May of 2004. After taking a bit of time off, the need to get back to repairing got under Brian’s skin and they opened ATS Customs. This diversified business involves general vehicle repair, custom exhaust, scorpion spray and box liners, sled and quad repair and the sale of truck and vehicle accessories. Brian and Pam have 3 children, Ashley 19, Brittany 17 and Scott who is 17. They have been involved with the Watt Mountain Wanderers, Minor Hockey, The Ag Society and Rodeo, the Chamber of Commerce and Pam is a very active member of the Northern Actors Guild at High Level Public. They organize a dinner theatre each year that allows the student the ability to express themselves and entertain those of us who have been privilege to watch them. Their donations to organizations and committees over the years are numerous. Brian is a pleasure to work with and strives to serve his customers to the best of his ability. It is our pleasure to nominate ATS Customs for Small business of the Year.
Nominee: Treasure Chest
Stephanie Grocholski is certainly no stranger to High Level. Stephanie was born in High Level and with the exception of the time she attended University, Steph has lived here for the better part of her life. In 2000, Stephanie married the love of her life Bob. After working in the Forestry Industry for 15 years and wanting to be a business owner that would not only satisfy Stephanie but most importantly, allow her the opportunity to be with her children 4 year old son Austin and Gillian who is two, in 2007 Stephanie and Bob purchased the Treasure Chest. Stephanie has accomplished in one year what would take most years. Stephanie’s creative eye is obvious from the minute you walk in and see how the store is staged. Just have a look at the stunning centerpieces on your tables for example. The welcoming environment, the courteous staff, the spotlessly clean surroundings, the stunning displays and the smiles on all the staff’s faces, make you feel like they are all really happy to see you. You never feel pressured when walking into the store, the staff are beyond friendly and helpful and with the wide variety in the store, there is truly something for everyone. Just a point of interest, Stephanie won the Junior Citizen of the Year Award in 1991. Not surprising they have been nominated this year.
Category: Business of the Year
Sponsored by Chamber of Commerce
Nominee: Flamingo Inn
While co-hosting the NCDC and NADC conferences, the comments made over and over again were “Wow, I can not believe the fresh fruit and presentation of the food at this conference”. That is what Ash does. The Flamingo was built in 1999 and is now owned by Ash & Mary Aboumostafa and Annie Giesbrecht. During the winter months, they have a staff of 55 people and 40 during the summer months. They have recently undergone major upgrades to the hotel so that when customers come in they just have to stop and say WOW!!! The Flamingo has been the host of numerous events in High Level for a number of reasons but the #1 reason would be - the attention to detail. The appearance and cleanliness of the rooms and the attention to the quality & presentation of food. All the hard work in ensuring cleanliness is at the top of the list for Ash, Mary and Annie has certainly paid off. In 2005 and then again in 2007 & 2008, the Flamingo was awarded the distinguished “Housekeeping of the Year Award” from the Alberta Lodging Hotel Association. The Flamingo Inn is very committed to hockey which is evident in their sponsorships each year. They have 2 hockey teams. A Junior team – The Flamingo Flyers who won the Zone 1 Championship in 2006. They also sponsor an Old Bones team which led them to sponsor the annual “Vegas Cup” drawing teams from all over Alberta and allows us the opportunity to showcase our community to the rest of the Province for a weekend. In addition, they also sponsored 3 little league ball teams last year. Then there are the numerous donations made to almost every organization in High Level. Endless. When it comes to putting your best foot forward, you can be sure Ash, Mary and Ann will do everything in their power to help you pull it off. We are very pleased to introduce a finalist in the Business of the Year award - The Flamingo Inn.
Nominee: Corner Gas
Peter & Helen Dyck are not only long time residents in the Town of High Level; they are also long time business owners. They have been involved with High Level Gun Club in fact; Peter donated his D5 Cat to build the range, the Watt Mtn. Wanderers, the Motorcycle Club and That Bloomin Committee. They sponsor a Little League Baseball team and sponsor Minor Hockey. They were foster parents for 14 years; Helen has been involved with Parent Advisory Council. They have been committed to the Chamber in many aspects. Helen was the President for 2 years and the donations to numerous organizations and events over the years are too many to list. In 2004, High Level gained a landmark, Corner Gas. From the minute you walk into the store, you realize why this couple has been nominated. The store is always clean and well maintained; the staff are beyond courteous to EVERY customer that comes in the store. Helen’s philosophy is no matter how little or how much a person spends in the store, they are ALL customers and deserve to be treated the same. With RESPECT!!! She has had the success of imparting this same philosophy to all her staff and wow, do the staff KNOW their customers. One little story told was about a lady who came into buy cigarettes and when Helen asked her what kind she wanted, the lady said “I don’t know, Lynette just always gets them ready for me when she sees me coming into the store”. Helen has been heard to say many times that, anything you want from a Big Box store, just ask and I will bring it in for you. At the end of the day, it is not the dollars that make our bottom line, it’s our customers. For everything they do in our community, it is not a surprise that they won this prize when they owned Chinchaga Carriers and it is no wonder they have been nominated again this year.
Nominee: Community Futures
Community Futures Northwest Alberta is one of 27 Community Futures Development Corporations in the province of Alberta. A non-profit organization working in partnership with Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Corporations services provide community economic development and business services to this region. On Dec 19, 1988 – Mackenzie Economic Development started with 1.2M in investment funds. On June 13, 2008, the name changed to Community Futures Northwest Alberta. Dec 19, 2008 was their 20th Anniversary. Since inception Community Futures has approved over 235 loans, lent over 13.7M and all with only 2 General Managers. Over the past 20 years, in addition to the loans, CFNWA has assisted over 127 organizations and over 180 business clients in numerous ways. Whether by manpower, financial assistance, access to funding or business planning and board development (to name a few). There motto is “helping others to help themselves” and wow, have they accomplished that. Some of the past and present organizations CFNWA have assisted are: 10005 House, Action North, Brighter Futures, Fort Vermilion Board of Trade, High Level Chamber, High Level Forests Public Advisory Committee, High Level Library Board, High Level Golf & Country Club, La Crete Chamber, La Crete Learning Society, Rainbow Lake Chamber. Silver Birch Child & Family Services. They have recently adopted a new tag line. Growing Communities One idea at a time. The welcoming smiles, the friendliness with which you are shown when you walk into the office combined with all that they have done to further our community and region, are the reasons they have been nominated this year. It is my pleasure to introduce Community Futures as a finalist for the Business of the Year Award.
Category: Citizen of the Year
Sponsored by Town of High Level
Nominee: Melanie Dechant
Melanie moved to High Level after graduating from Depot in 1993 as a new recruit. Shortly after, she met the love of her life, Doug. They were married in 1997. They now have 3 children – Logan who is 14, Alyssa who is 8, and Drew who is 5. It did not take Mel long to immerse herself in the community. In 1998, Mel spearheaded a pilot project called Victim Services. Facets of this committee involve – the Dare Program, Citizens on Patrol, Victims Support Unit and the Community Advisory Committee. Having been involved with Victims services for 12 years, she was the President for 10. Melanie was the Chair of Ducks Unlimited for 8 years, is the Fundraising Committee Chair for Spirit of the North Middle School, is on the Parents Fundraising Committee for Florence McDougal and High Level Public, as well as the Fundraising Chair for High Level Figure Skating Club as the Chair of the Carnival Committee. Once you have the privilege of meeting Mel, you will understand why she is such a pro at fundraising. Her commitment first and foremost is to her family and the activities they are involved in and then 100% to our community. It’s pretty close to impossible to say no when she comes asking for your help with such conviction. Melanie is like a Timex watch or the Ever Ready Bunny. No matter what she is going through or has gone through, she just keeps going and going and more importantly, giving and giving. You can always count on a smile and a positive word from Melanie and High Level is very fortunate to have this “lady” in our community.
Nominee: Mark Stevens
In the brief time Mark has lived in our community, he has become very involved. He moved from Northern Ontario with his wife Judy, 17 yr. old son Jesse and 15 year old daughter Katelyn. Mark has been in the Forestry Industry in both Northern Ontario and Alberta for 27 years. Since coming to High Level to take over the management of Tolko High Level lumber division, Mark has immersed himself into our community. Mark has an amazing commitment to his kids and while he is involved throughout the community, they definitely come first. Mark is a director with the High Level & District Chamber of Commerce, is a member on the “ACE” Committee and a member of the Integrated Sustainable Plan Committee. He is also a trainer with High Level Midgets. On top of a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, Mark has a calmness and serenity when dealing with sensitive issues that just sort of brings everyone back down to earth and makes you stop and look at the issue in a way that helps everyone understand. Mark is a great asset to High Level and an example to all of us that no matter how short or long you have lived in a community, You can make a difference. It is a pleasure having Mark a resident of High Level.
Category: Farm Family of the Year
Sponsored by Ag Society
Nominee: Jacques & Greta Juneau
Jake was born Feb. 12, 1933 to a family of 6 siblings in Pontex, Saskatchewan. On May 21, 1952, his family moved up north in a 3 tonne Chev truck. They brought with them a tractor, seed drill, braking plow and a lot of heart for farming. They had moved up north to farm a homestead east of the Batt settlement. After arriving, they changed their homestead application to Jake and Greta’s current home. Greta Smith was born on September 27, 1931, in Ft. Vermilion. Jake met Greta in Ft. Vermilion and on October 23, 1956 they married and began their life together. While building a herd of cattle from a few cows bought on shares, they also had and raised 9 children. In the 60’s, the Juneau brothers operated the Davis Lake Cattle Operation but dissolved it when the cattle prices went down about 5 years after opening. Sometime around 1965, the family got power service to their homestead and in 1970 they received telephone service. August 1963 was the 1st annual Rocky Lane rodeo that took place on the Juneau’s family homestead. The annual rodeo was held there for 30 years. Jake is an active leader and member in the local 4H, Garden Club, Horse Club, Beef Club and Ag Society. To this day, he still actively attends all the HL Ag Society meetings, organizes the annual horse pull at the High Level Rodeo, participates in the annual wagon trail ride from South Tall Cree to Fort Vermilion, brings his team in for the annual Rodeo parade, gives wagon and sleigh rides around the area, cattle farms and runs over to the neighbors house when they are in need of some veterinary advice. Without the support of families such as the Juneau’s, a lot of farm oriented activities in the area would suffer. It is our pleasure to introduce this years Farm Family of the Year, Jake and Greta Juneau.
Category: Gordon Reid Pioneer Business of the Year
Sponsored by CIBC
Whenever the question is asked, where is a really nice place to go and get a good steak? A place with a warm and inviting atmosphere that’s clean and comfortable with a good steak? The answer will always be the same. The Stardust. Sid and Celine moved to High Level in 1985 and opened the Stardust in 1987 with a total of 14 rooms. Today they have 61. They have 3 children – Tareq, Mark and Tammy. This truly is a family business as both Tareq and Mark work with Sid and Celine. When you walk in the front door, whether it be Celine, Rozalin or any of the other staff, you are greeted with a genuine “Hello, how are you today, and if you have not been in for a bit? They acknowledge how pleased they are to see you and ask what you have been up to.” The ambience throughout the restaurant, the lounge is very relaxing while the staff pay specific attention to you as an individual patron. Where would you start with what this couple has done in the community? They own the Frontier, Sahara and are just about finished what is sure to be the premier facility in High Level, the Mirage. Realizing the shortage of homes in High Level a number of years ago, they have built hundreds of homes so there would be no reason people would not be able to relocate to our community. They have offered a lot of economic growth to our community, hundreds of jobs and continue to support many local groups and events. The Stardust has been the host facility of organizations such as the NCDC and NADC conferences. Outside of High Level, there is still talk within these organizations about the hospitality, quality of food, level of service they received from the staff. As has been said over and over, “customer service and care are exceptional”. When it comes to donations? There simply is not enough time to mention it all. You truly feel like you are #1 when visiting the Stardust and it is our privilege to introduce one of the finalist for the Gordon Reid Pioneer Business of the Year Award, The Stardust.
Nominee: ATB Financial
Talk about a Pioneer Business in High Level? In 1978, The Alberta Treasury Branch opened its doors and has been a vital contributor to our community ever since. There are 12 associates employed within the High Level Branch. Their level of participation in our community is very impressive. High Level Golf Club, High Level Curling Club, Crime Stoppers Program helping to build a safer community. They collect and distribute presents for the “Christmas Angel Program” which ensures that children within the community wake-up Christmas morning with a gift under the tree. They participate annually in the High Level District Chamber of Commerce Tradeshow and set up an awesome booth. All staff members take their time to “man” the booth. They were the major sponsor of the Junior & Senior Golf Zones which was held in High Level. When it comes to promoting children’s concerns, the staff at ATB go all the way in showing their support. The branch participated in numerous fund raising events for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and are a Sponsor of the Stollery. They had Bake Sales, Walk-A-Thon’s and Silent Auction’s and with their efforts were successful in raising $13,358.00. Certainly, no small feat. The Branch recently hosted a Customer Appreciation Week. Each associate baked varieties of goodies and then delivered over 20 trays of homemade treats to various customers within the community. Being a recipient of one of these trays made me stop and say WOW!!! What Commitment!! Their motto is “So Many Reasons, so many ways to Thank You Today”. It is a privilege to introduce ATB Financial as a finalist for the Gordon Reid Pioneer Business of the Year Award.
Category: Junior Citizen of the Year
Sponsored by the Echo
Nominee: Karissa Chretien
I am pleased to introduce Karissa Chretien as Junior Citizen of the Year. She displays all the characteristics the award criterion encompasses and more. She is one the busiest young ladies we know and she always has an upbeat attitude and a smile for everyone. Her excitement and enthusiasm for all she is involved in is something to admire and strive for. She appreciates what people do for her, her peers and the community and she shows her gratitude in a very genuine way that makes the effort worth while. As I said, Karissa is a very busy young lady. She is a dedicated member of the local competitive dance group, The Petkus Arts Dance Club and has won numerous gold and silver medals. She is also very involved as a Corporal with the local Cadet Corp, training with them and participating in their activities. She attended summer camp for six weeks. She is also a dedicated member of the Stingrays Swim Club and trains 3 – 4 times a week to get in shape for competition and as a result of her hard work; she makes it to Provincials every year. She is a member of the High Level Public School band, plays the Clarinet and a member of the JV Club which is a Christian Bible Study Group and sits on the Stop Bullying Committee at High Level Public. Karissa has a very special place in her heart for those with special needs. If someone is in a wheel chair, she goes out of her way to talk to them and help them out. She stands up and defends a lot of people. She is a very willing volunteer in the community. She assists at many community events such as running kids games at Family Play Day in the Park, Safe Halloween and Family new Years. She also assists in decorating and setting up for events such as Canada Day and the Annual Mother/Daughter Girl Power event. Karissa’s excitement and enthusiasm for all that she does shines through her actions, her willingness to participate and help wherever she can is one of her many great attributes. Her smile and laughter can brighten anyone’s day. It’s pretty amazing when your mum says “She is a really neat kid”. I feel that Karissa is a great role mode for youth and I think she will grow to become a great leader within our community.
Category: Senior Citizen of the Year
Nominee: Bill Grieves
Mr. Grieves was born on March 23, 1919, in Kindersley, Saskatchewan. In 1942, he joined the army in Nipewan, Saskatchewan and became a member of the 65th Canadian Anti-tank Battery of the 5th Regiment. After the war, Mr. Grieves headed to Calgary and in 1956, Bill headed north to High Level with eight fellow war veterans because they learned there was a lot of timber in the area. “High Level Lumbers” was the first sawmill that Mr. Grieves went to work for. It was later changed to Swanson Sawmills. For a brief time after he retired Mr. Grieves moved to Fort Vermilion. He was the first resident to move into Pioneer Homes, a senior’s lodge in the community. However, he only stayed there until the senior’s lodge in High Level was completed. He was also the first resident to move into White Spruce Village in High Level when it opened in 1984. He witnessed the first Legion construction in High Level in 1965. Mr. Grieves was the Legion’s first president. He also donated the land the Legion was built on and helped build it. Now, 63 years after Second World War has come to an end, Mr. Grieves is the last living war veteran in High Level. Almost 90 years old, Mr. Grieves said he’s patiently waiting for the summer months to arrive once again. “In the summer, I’m never sitting around, but that’s all we do in the winter.” When asked what he does to keep busy during the cold season, Grieve smiled and said, “I sweep the snow.” Last December, the Echo did a lengthy documentary of Mr. Grieves and we thank them for providing this information. It is our pleasure to introduce Mr. Bill Grieves, our 2009 Senior Citizen of the Year.