The Delta Chamber of Commerce presented awards in seven categories, including Citizen of the Year, at its annual Hats Off to Excellence gala last Friday night at the Delta Town & Country Inn.
Citizen of the Year - Terry Bremner
The owner of Wellbrook Winery and Bremner Foods Ltd., Bremner regularly uses his heritage winery in East Delta to play host to a variety of community and charitable events, including Summerfest, which began in 2005. Bremner has also been active in heritage preservation in Delta for the past 20 years and was a founding member of the group restoring Ladner's Kirkland House.
Finalists: Irene Forcier and Mike Guichon
Volunteer Service Award - Matthew Rogers
For the last 50 years, Rogers has been volunteering for a number of causes and organization in Delta, including coaching and refereeing as well as sitting on boards and committees. He's chaired both the Delta Planning Commission and the municipality's Heritage Advisory Commission. Rogers has also chaired the Delta Museum and Archives board and is the remaining charter member and vice-president of the Kirkland House Foundation.
Finalists: Michelle Jones (Ovation Performance Series); Jackey Zellweger (Ladner May Days, Delta Hospital Foundation)
Rising Star Award - Lydia Ryall
Ryall started her own farm, Cropthorne Farm, in 2009. She began farming three-quarters of an acre herself, and in less than four years she has expanded to three acres and now has six employees. Cropthorne Farm sells produce through a Community Supported Agriculture Box program and participates in six farmers' markets throughout the Lower Mainland. In 2012, the farm is relocating to Westham Island with plans to add more acreage, farm gate sales and an expanded livestock operation. Ryall is currently a member of Delta's Agricultural Advisory Committee and a director of the Delta Farmers' Institute.
Finalists: Scott Foran and Barry Hartman (505-JUNK); Marcie Weinstein Smith (Lovey's Body Products)
Special Events & Tourism - Stephen Robb
The Delta Community Music School, led by Robb and Jared Burrows, founded the South Delta Jazz Festival in 2004. The annual weeklong event features various concerts for the public plus a five-day workshop for students interested in learning about or improving their jazz improv skills. Other professional musicians from around the Lower Mainland are invited to join the festival. The result is a unique opportunity for students to play and learn side-by-side with instructors and professional musicians in small ensemble settings.
Finalists: Beverly Mantovani (The Phoenix, the Fire of Flamenco); Kathy Swift (South Delta Artists Guild)
Employee Extraordinaire - Maria Durham
Durham's greatest passion is working with people, which explains what has kept her in the hospitality industry for the past 40 years, 30 of which have been spent at the Delta Town & Country Inn. She is involved with the inn's recycling program, collecting items for the food bank, the Christmas Hamper program and raising funds at staff Christmas parties. Durham had the opportunity to carry the Olympic torch during the relay leading up to the 2010 Winter Games. She's been running half marathons to raise money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation for almost 10 years, and enjoys organizing and volunteering for local charity events.
Finalists: Dinah Suzuki (Envision Financial)
Delta Rotary Business Ethics Award
Santevia Water Systems Ltd. has created a business of excellence in five short years. Its core values include honour, health, trustworthiness and giving back. Owned by Yvonne and David Anderson, Santevia lives by those core values even if they lose money. When the company received a sold out shipment of goods that did not meet their high quality control standards, they chose not to deliver it to waiting customers. Santevia Gives Back is a philanthropy program that sponsors two orphanages in Thailand and gives back to water projects in Africa, the Dominican Republic and Asia. The company also supports groups closer to home.
Finalists: Canada Colors and Chemicals Ltd.; Houweling Tomatoes
Business of the Year - Tanya Snow, Augustine House Society
The Augustine House Society is a private, non-profit business that operates a seniors' residence in Ladner. Formed in November 1990, the society aimed to provide a safe and comfortable home for local seniors with private and subsidized assisted living and complex care services. Over the years, the society faced many challenges, but its persistence and resilience was rewarded in December 1999 when it received approval from the ALC to use the land for the seniors housing development and in 2003 Delta council approved the construction of Augustine House, which is now home to approximately 150 active seniors who enjoy the inviting environment and caring staff.
Finalists: Udo Jahn (Modern Engineering); Peter Sziklai (Tsawwassen Collision)