Achiev­ers in spot­light

The Glengarry News - - STRAIGHT TALK - BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL News Staff

South Glen­garry's 2017 Cit­i­zen of the Year was in­stilled with a strong sense of com­mu­nity and the im­por­tance of so­cial jus­tice at an early age.

“When my sis­ter, Irene and I were very small...we were forced to par­tic­i­pate in the Salad Bowl strike by boy­cotting ice­berg let­tuce salad in our home to sup­port Ce­sar Chavez and the farm mi­grant work­ers,” re­called Ap­ple Hill area res­i­dent Eleanor McGrath dur­ing this past Satur­day's South Glen­garry Busi­ness and Com­mu­nity Awards gala at the Tar­tan Hall/Char-Lan Arena.

“It was the time of the Viet­nam War and our par­ents were like many, ac­tive in so­cial jus­tice work, and we were along for that ride.”

That com­mit­ment to so­cial jus­tice and com­mu­nity, cul­ti­vated over a life­time of vol­un­teer­ing and hard work, con­trib­uted to her se­lec­tion as Cit­i­zen of the Year.

“Eleanor has made a mea­sur­able im­pact to South Glen­garry through her in­volve­ment with agro­tourism and is a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for Cana­dian British Home Chil­dren,” said the evening's MC Rick Marvel.

South Branch Road res­i­dent Bev Ru­nions, win­ner of the Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Award, spent more than two decades as sec­re­tary-trea­surer of the Wil­liamstown Fair Board.

“Over the past 25 years, I've had two fam­i­lies in my life,” said Mrs. Ru­nions.

“I've had my Fair Board fam­ily, whom I've had the great priv­i­lege of work­ing with, and my per­sonal fam­ily. It was 25 years ago this month that (hus­band) Ge­orge told me, ‘Bev, go ahead and do this. You can do it.’’

Mrs. Ru­nions also pointed out, with pride, how the cou­ple's daugh­ter Karen, her hus­band, Neil, and grand­chil­dren Me­lanie and An­drew have, over the years, be­come mem­bers of the Fair Board as well, the lat­ter two as ju­nior di­rec­tors.

Erin McCready of Bainsville, a 16-year-old Grade 11 stu­dent at Holy Trin­ity Sec­ondary School, was cho­sen as this year's Youth Merit Award win­ner.

Mr. Martel re­called how Miss McCready, through her par­tic­i­pa­tion as a youth coun­sel­lor over the past four years at the lo­cal Camp Sparks, “has grown into a young woman with con­fi­dence and strong lead­er­ship skills.”

Cory Hagen, whose Glen­garry My Home cloth­ing line helps sup­port lo­cal com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives through the sale of Glen­garry branded hooded sweat­shirts, T-shirts and tank tops, is the 2017 En­tre­pre­neur of the Year.

“I did not ex­pect to be here,” said Mr. Hagen upon ac­cept­ing his award. “But the hard work paid off.”

Julie Viau Ther­ri­ault, who op­er­ates Viau Ladies Wear in Green Val­ley, was hon­oured with the Spe­cial Busi­ness Achieve­ment Award.

Tra­di­tions

Mrs. Viau Ther­ri­ault told the crowd that half the credit for the award should go to her mother, Co­lette, who opened Viau Ladies Wear in 1967 at the lo­ca­tion ad­ja­cent to the CPR tracks where it still stands.

She ex­plained that her mom “did the first 25 years and now I've done 25 years, too.”

CMG In­no­va­tion Ltd., a Sum­mer­stown-based com­pany that pro­vides a va­ri­ety of ser­vices, pri­mar­ily as­bestos and mold abate­ment and re­me­di­a­tion to a grow­ing num­ber of in­dus­trial and food fac­to­ries, hos­pi­tals, and lo­gis­tic fa­cil­i­ties, is the 2017 Busi­ness of the Year.

While com­pany co-founder Court­ney Wheeler was thrilled to take home the hon­ours, he ex­pressed re­gret that a ma­jor player in the firm's suc­cess wasn't there to cel­e­brate the win.

“In 2018, my busi­ness part­ner, Ron Van Riel, un­for­tu­nately, passed away,” said Mr. Wheeler, his voice filled with emo­tion.

“This com­pany is based on fam­ily, and I lost a fam­ily mem­ber. He meant a lot to me. His drive to make this com­pany work was equal to mine.”

Mr. Wheeler spoke of how the mod­est busi­ness ven­ture he and Mr. Van Riel founded al­most 20 years ago has grown and flour­ished.

“We started off in 2001 work­ing at Dom­tar. At that time, we were a small crew of four men...and we've gone from that to 25 men now,” he said.

“The busi­ness has brought us all over the coun­try. We’ve just suc­cess­fully com­pleted a two-year con­tract in Iqaluit (for as­bestos abate­ment). Who would have thought that a small com­pany from Sum­mer­stown would bring a crew up to Iqaluit?”

Raisin River Farms Inc., a large, lo­cal dairy op­er­a­tion that owns over 1,000 acres through­out South Glen­garry and which re­cently con­structed and ex­panded a multi-mil­lion dol­lar barn on Bound­ary Road, was cho­sen as the 2017 Ex­cel­lence in Agri­cul­ture Award win­ner.

The busi­ness is owned and op­er­ated by the Grant fam­ily.

“Any suc­cess­ful farm stands on the shoul­ders of its pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions,” said Rod Grant.

“My grand­fa­ther worked ev­ery day to pass his farm on to his sons and I have the dream of pass­ing the farm on to my son.”

SCOTT CARMICHAEL PHOTO

AWARDS: Here are the win­ners from Satur­day evening’s South Glen­garry Busi­ness and Com­mu­nity Awards Gala. An­tonella and Court­ney Wheeler (Busi­ness of the Year), Cory Hagen (En­tre­pre­neur of the Year), Eleanor McGrath (Cit­i­zen of the Year), Erin McCready (Youth Achieve­ment), Rod Grant (Ex­cel­lence in Agri­cul­ture), Bev Ru­nions (Com­mu­nity Ser­vice), Julie Viau Ther­ri­ault (Spe­cial Busi­ness Achieve­ment.)

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