|Chamber of commerce hands out awards to trio of recipients|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Greg Price|
|Wednesday, 23 January 2013 20:46|
The Taber and District Chamber of Commerce awards were front and centre at the Heritage Inn on Friday night as a trio were honoured for their contributions to the Taber area for 2012.
First up was Leone Johannson to receive her Outstanding Citizen Award.
The award is given to a citizen who has a genuine concern for the Taber area and makes it a better community through their efforts. Johannson’s efforts in Taber Special Needs, the Taber Food Bank and Taber Safe Haven and her church were highlighted by chamber president, Bruce Warkentin.
“Leone can always be counted on to help where needed and does so willingly and usually behind the scenes,” said Warkentin.
Johannson did the research on the Taber and District Chamber of Commerce, finding out the chamber has been giving these awards for 44 years to honour Taber residents and like Ross Gibb back in 1968, Citizen of the Year honourees have had a common trend.
“Volunteering has always been an important part of my life as it is for so many of us this evening. As a young parent, helping with the activities my children were in, both in school and the community, took up a lot of my time. Helping in my church also kept me on my toes,” said Johannson during her acceptance speech on Friday.
“It became apparent Taber needed an organization to help those who were unable to make ends meet, and so under the guidance of representatives of all the churches, the Taber Food Bank was launched.”
Given her passion for youth, joining Taber Community Action Prevention Society and Taber Youth Initiative was an easy fit for Johannson.
“These groups help in many ways wherever they can to make Taber a better place for our youth,” said Johannson.
Johannson highlighted the giving spirit of Taberites themselves in which so many are worthy of the Outstanding Citizen award.
“Taber is an awesome community, a community of volunteers. Whether it be the Cornfest committee, foodbank society, many service clubs or sports groups or arts councils, they are all there,” said Johannson. “These people put in endless hours planning and organizing the many events that go on all year round.”
In the saying, it takes a community to raise a child, Johannson noted she believes it takes a community of volunteers to make a town a success.
“We are all volunteers, whether we are the organizers or the spectators at an event. We are all part of what makes the town tick,” said Johannson.
“Taber is indeed a wonderful, caring community. It is a place where you can smile and say hello to everyone on the street. Taber is a community I am very proud to be part of and it is an honour to be chosen as Citizen of the Year.”
That spirit continued on with Graham Abela who took the podium to accept his Spirit of Taber Award. Being president of the Taber Community Action Prevention Society, his involvement in Taber Community Against Drugs, fundraising for Safe Haven, Rebels rugby and the Taber Hospital Foundation, and past involvement in Taber soccer and football, Abela’s influence on the community has been a vast one apart from his work with the Taber Police Service.
“The real test of a leader is whether he makes the team better as a whole. In this regard, anyone who has worked with Graham on a board, team or committee, can say he brings each organization to a higher level with his professionalism, knowledge and respect for others,” said Warkentin in his introduction of Abela.
An emotional Abela spoke at the podium, talking of how he felt Godsmacked when he heard of receiving the award, recounting the numerous people he works with on a day-to-day basis that are making a difference in the community.
“There are many I work with on a daily basis not only in the police service, but the boards and other committees that I work with that are definitely deserving of this award,” said a humbled Abela.
“With that being said, I’ve always considered Taber my home, it has been for many, many years. I’d like to thank my wife Angeline and my mother and father. I think both of my parents have contributed greatly to my values I have as a man.”
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