The Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Mermaid Ball was a potpourri of glamour, award presentations, speeches, delicious food, great entertainment and wonderful community spirit.
The master of ceremonies for the gala event held Oct. 26 at the community centre was Greg Shannon. Around 170 people, including Sylvan Lake Mayor Susan Samson, and Sylvan Lake Innisfail MLA Kerry Towle, were in attendance.
The acknowledgement of nominees and award winners was the highlight of the evening and each category was well represented by deserving candidates.
Pride in Sylvan Lake and a desire to give back to the community is what keeps this year’s Rotary citizen of the year Blair Mack volunteering.
“I don’t volunteer because I want to be recognized,” he said. ”I just know these things need to be done and I like to lend a hand. You get out of your community what you put into it. Every citizen has a responsibility to invest in their community and be part of the solution.”
Mack is involved in minor hockey not only as a coach, but as vice president of the board and a member of the evaluation committee. He is also a member of the Rotary Club, helps out with KidSport and was involved in an equipment drive to ensure financially strapped youngsters in Sylvan Lake received needed equipment.
Mack is married to Carrie and the couple have three children, Gracie, 11, Thai, eight and Evelyn, seven.
Last year’s Rotary citizen of the year, Ian Oostindie said all the nominees deserved acknowledgement.
“It’s people who volunteer who build the fabric of the community, he said. ”It’s an honor to be recognized and to know that your efforts have a positive effect.
Also nominated for Rotary Citizen of the Year was Kathy Bradshaw, Carlo Simonot and Brad Bahler.
Richard Padley from Walmart who was selected as this year’s employee of the year was unable to attend the Mermaid Ball.
Other nominees for employee of the year were Josie Ellsworth from Pier 7, Penny Waters, from Sobey’s and Holly Plumb from Best Body Fitness.
Bev Gunderson from Servus Credit Union presented the award.
“Just to be nominated makes you a winner,” she told the nominees.
Crystal Clean Laundry was this year’s Green Business of the Year.
The award was presented by Mayor Susan Samson, who said Crystal Clean had installed high efficient washing machines, decreased drying time and sold soap in bulk qualities.
Neil McLeod from Crystal Clean Laundromat said he and his wife, Cheryl were surprised to win.
“We were unaware that people were taking notice of the green choices which have been incorporated into our business. We also thank our customers for being involved with our recycling initiatives. It only takes small things each day to make an impact on a larger scale. Sylvan Lake Medical Centre, ATB Financial and Allnorth Consultants were also nominated.
Doreen Carey, spokesperson for Unique Elevations, who won the business of the year award, spoke on behalf of the owner.
“Kevin Dushanek has been in the home building industry for 25 years and it is his commitment to provide the best quality product and service to all Unique Elevation clients.” She said Dushanek believes it is the teamwork of all his staff combined with talented contractors that has made his business a success.
“We were very pleased to be involved in the building of a home for low income families,” she added.
The business of the year award was presented by Tanya Lightle, co-owner of Rainy Daze Spa, last year’s winner.
Team TCB and Janet and Janes Medspa were also nominated for the business of the year award.
This year’s Cheryl Darling Memorial Award went to MJ Byrtus.
Byrtus, who has lived in Sylvan Lake since 2006 and has volunteered her time and talent by setting up websites and providing marketing tools to promote Sylvan Lake as a great place to work, live and play, said she was honored to receive the award.
“Cheryl was a very good friend of mine and she taught me what Sylvan Lake was all about. It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers in that caliber”
Last year’s winner, Cynthia Leigh presented Byrtus with the award.
“The award is to honor businesswomen in our community that exemplify the traits that Cheryl Darling had such as high levels of volunteerism and commitment to the community.”