Finding ways to make the community, or just another person’s life, better was what united nominees, winners and others in attendance at the 2019 Lacombe Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Awards Gala.
On Saturday, awards were handed out for Small and Large Business of the Year, People’s Choice for Customer Service – Individual and Business, Non-profit of the Year, Farm Family of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and Citizen of the Year.
The first to be honoured was Jason Lunn, who was named Citizen of the Year.
“It’s humbling – you don’t do it to get the recognition.” he said. “It’s awesome that people recognize it, but giving back to the community is just something that our family does.”
In his acceptance speech, he explained being part of the community and giving back was ingrained in him by his parents, and it’s never been something he’s lost sight of – not even after being involved in a rear-end collision with a semi that left him in a wheelchair.
If anything, the incident made giving back to the community that supported him all the more important, and he’s given much of his time to the Lacombe Health Trust, which works to make improvements to the local hospital such as the recent emergency department renovations, as well as the Lacombe Kinsman Club, Lacombe Athletic Park Association (LAPA) and Lacombe Minor Football.
His reason why is simple.
“If you don’t get involved, you don’t make a difference. You volunteer and give back to make the community a better place,” Lunn said. “Everyone kind of has the same vision. You want to live where you have fun and enjoy living.”
Lunn and his brother Gregg, who own and operate D&M Concrete, carry that into their business, which helped earn them Large Business of the Year. Up against NOWCO Home Hardware and Cilantro & Chive, they joked the winner was decided by a coin toss, but said they were humbled to be recognized for what they put back into the community.
“I don’t think we can say we’re above and beyond. We have fun at work everyday. We have fun with our customers – I think every other business that was nominated is the same way,” said Gregg Lunn.
Jason agreed, adding the business community works to support each other.
“A lot of the businesses are long-term business and we’ve grown together. Along the way we’ve supported and the next generation of employers are now taking over from their fathers.”
Support and a commitment to making the community better was exemplified by other winners on the night, including the ECHO Lacombe Association (Non-Profit of the Year), Soapy’s Car Wash (Small Business of the Year), the Kraay Family (Farm Family of the Year), Don and Marianne Gustafson (Lifetime Achievement), Lacombe Auto Service Centre (People’s Choice for Customer Service – Business).
The same went for LA Liquor’s Torie Goings, who took home the People’s Choice Award for Customer Service in the individual category.
“It’s an honour, truly, to be recognized. It’s unexpected and amazing,” she said.
The key to making others lives even a bit better through customer service, she said, is just connecting with others in the community.
“I just try to make a difference in people’s lives every day – greeting them with a smile and truly connecting with them and making sure they’re doing OK. Maybe they just need a friend, someone to chat with in the day – lots of people that come in, we’re the only people they talk to in the day, so I just always want to make a difference.”