Residents nominate best and brightest

Community members have until Monday (Jan. 15) to choose the best and brightest Squamish has to offer for the Chamber of Commerce 2006 Citizen and Business Person of the year awards.

"These nominees exemplify the best of what our community has to offer and the Chamber is proud to be a part of honouring such individuals," said Chamber president Ron Anderson.

This year's five lauded citizens include the driving force behind a homeless drop-in centre, an unsung hero of youth groups, a tireless rescue worker, an oceanfront enthusiast and a volunteer in all sectors of the community.

The four businesspersons being honoured include a brand new member of the business community along with some familiar names.

Nominated citizen Dennis Bartlett is widely recognized as integral to local homelessness awareness.

"He is selfless and courageous in his efforts for the homeless drop in centre and in everyday life," states Bartlett's nomination submission. "He promotes sharing happiness and anything possible to people less fortunate."

Sheri Davis is well known, and yet unsung, as a proponent of youth groups. Her many initiatives include two teen clubs at Howe Sound Secondary School and Don Ross Schools, which focus on community and international projects, coaching basketball at three schools, leading Beaver and Cub troupes for five years and being involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters for the past seven years.

"Sheri is an unsung hero in our community and deserves to be recognized for her community spirit and family involvement," states her nomination.

John Howe has been a member of Squamish Search and Rescue (SAR) for 29 years, combining his vast knowledge of the geographical area, mountaineering and climbing with organizational skills and rescue operation experience to become "one of SAR's most valued members," according to his nomination.

Howe is also praised for his dedication to the promotion of local rock climbing and for establishing "many of the great climbing routes found in Squamish that climbers will enjoy for years to come."

Larry Murray is also being celebrated for his enthusiasm in promoting oceanfront development as chair of the Oceanfront Development Corporation and for his work as chair of Crimestoppers.

"As chair of the Oceanfront Board, Larry keeps things moving at a pace that is clear and positive," states the nomination. "Larry wants to help make Squamish the best it can be."

Sandi Paterson is extolled for her involvement with all aspects of the community from the youth to the elderly. She is on the executive of the Squamish Legion and poppy chair, and until recently, served on the board of Humanity Village as chair of the schools committee. She is also on the Squamish Trails Society and, as a retired schoolteacher, still volunteers regularly at schools.

"She is kind, generous and caring beyond the ordinary," states her nomination.

This year's businessperson nominees include Brent Leigh of the Squamish Sustainability Corporation for his tireless efforts in bringing the Mamquam Blind Channel through to the community.

"This development will have a huge influence on our town and will be the start of changes that will make Squamish second to none," states his nomination.

Former Chamber director Lil Lyle of Connections is nominated for the second time in three years for her generosity with charities and her dedication to employees' happiness. Lyle won the 2003 businessperson award and recently won the 2006 Award of Excellence for the ninth consecutive year for hallmarks such as courtesy, response time, accuracy and overall service.

New businessperson Colleen Myers was nominated for her dedication and professionalism.

"I always receive prompt cheerful service when shopping at the Hive and have always found that special something for a gift," states the submission. "I feel that Colleen provides some of the best service in Squamish."

Also nominated was Tim Shoults, group publisher of The Chief and the Whistler Question as well as the new daily newspapers Squamish Today and Whistler Today.

Shoults is celebrated as "a constant advocate and promoter of the community-at-large including Team Squamish, Test of Metal, the Chamber of Commerce, Bob McIntosh Triathlon and others too numerous to mention." He also regularly lends his performance and emcee skills to the Rotarians and other community groups.

Online voting for nominees takes place at until Monday (Jan. 15). The winners will be honoured at the 73rd President's Banquet and AGM - The Celebration of Festivals on Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Sea to Sky Hotel.

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