Customer Service Excellence, Spirit of Taber, Outstanding Citizen, and Small Business of the Year were all recognized, as Ross Jaber was first up, beaming with pride that his Mediterranean Grill earned the accolade of Customer Service Excellence.
“I would like to thank God for giving me the ability to do what I do and to love what I do. I also want to thank my family, my friends and customers for the support you have given us since we came here to this beautiful town,” said Jaber.
As an immigrant who came to Canada 20 years ago, Jaber only came with an empty bag and a dream which he wanted to explore.
Always with a smile and story as his customers enter the door, it was that same charm he continued on with his acceptance speech.
“Canada was the place for me which allowed me to shine and become a good citizen of this country. I am so proud to say I am Canadian now after awhile,” said Jaber, to much applause in a packed Heritage Inn banquet room.
“As immigrants we will have a history of a grand parent or great grandparent coming from a different country and we appreciate being Canadian when we go elsewhere. I’m honoured and humbled. I hope to serve the community for many more years. We are not here to get rich, we are just here to keep a roof over our heads and keep my family happy and my customers happy as well.”
The Spirit of Taber award is given annually to either a business or organization that demonstrates excellence and enthusiasm as they promote Taber and the district community.
Joel Mills of Pro Performance Athletic Centre was recognized for the goodwill he has spread about Taber through his business.
Pursuing a boxing career in California, Mills’ heart has never been far from home which brought him eventually back to start up the gym.
“I’ve always loved this town. Basically, I’ve done everything in my life to promote this town. You guys have given so much to me and helped me be who I am,” said Mills, in thanking his friends family sitting next to the stage podium.
Fighting back tears, Mills shared a story about the importance of youth in never forgetting where they came from. Taking a page out of his father Earl’s book, he learned a lesson which he applied to his boxing. Regardless of whether he won or he lost, Earl would tell him to remember his roots and be proud of them.
“I took that two ways. If I won a fight, I took that has keep my head out of the clouds and remain humble and remember who I was. If I lost the fight I took that as be proud of who I am and there’s some things no one can take away from me in that I am from Taber with a community that cares win or lose,” said Mills. “If we share that with the youth in this town which is something I’m trying to do as much as I can in that gym, is to be proud of your roots and who you are and it was ultimately that lesson that brought me back to Taber to start the gym. It’s an honour to be here.”
Outstanding Citizen Audrey Krizsan is no stranger to community service.
Having lived in the Taber area since the age of 12, and raising a family of four on the farm in the Barnwell area, she became a Horizon School Division board of trustee for three terms after retiring from teaching and has volunteered through Child and Family Services Authority, through her church, Meals on Wheels, and is a member of the Ladies Auxiliary Legion among her community service.
Congratulating fellow winners, she noted they exemplify the highest level of care and attention to the needs of their clients.
“Bill and I have been fortunate to be have worked, raised our family, and retired in the area of individuals, businesses, service clubs and church groups who understand and practice what is needed to build community,” said Krizsan. “You give generously of your time, your talent and your resources. Winston Churchill summed it up very well when he said ‘we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.’ I would like to thank my family for their unfailing encouragement, my friends for their amazing support, and Taber and district for the opportunity to serve.”
Ending the night before the entertainment of magician/comedian Trevor Moore was owner/operator Kei Nishida of Taber Transport accepting the award for Small Business of the Year who kept the fellow theme of humility among all the award recipients, highlighting the community and his staff for the reason for the award.
A business with deep roots in the community as one of the oldest privately-owned business in Taber, established in the 1930s. Having nine staff, and many who have worked there at least 15 years shows the love of the company and its customers.
Thanking his supportive family that has always been there for him, Nishida’s son Travis has been helping carry on the family business for the last seven years.
“Thank you to all our amazing staff,” said Nishida, listing off a handful of workers with at least 16 years experience in the company. “This award is yours, all of you. You and several past others have made Taber Transport. Without your hard work and dedication, we would have never have been in business this long. Thank you for your efforts.”
Nishida added he would like to think Taber Transport is built on service, doing whatever possible to meet the needs of its customers.
“You people out there are the driving force of Taber Transport. We strive to provide the very best service to help your business succeed. Thank you for putting your trust in us,” said Nishida. “We are one of the very few local short- haul carriers left in the transportation industry. Being local gives us the opportunity to provide personal service to you our customers. This is what gives me such pride in being a small business owner for over 33 years in this great community of Taber.”