By Megan Roth
It is that time of year once again, time to recognize the hard work and dedication the citizens of Maple Creek show.
Nominations for Business of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Community Awards are now open.
The Chamber of Commerce is excited to once again highlight those in town who maybe don’t often get a lot of recognition for the work they do.
President of the Chamber of Commerce, Blaine Filthaut, said he loved seeing people being recognized last year and is excited to see the same again this year.
“It could be anything a person or group is nominated for. Say the peewee hockey team does well in the provincial tournament, they can be nominated for that,” Filthaut said, adding an excited “Woohoo!”
The criteria for nomination is quite simple: explain how the person, group or business has contributed to making Maple Creek a desirable place to live and do business.
Last year the winners ranged from the volunteers who drive for the senior’s taxi, to Communities in Bloom, to Cowboy Poetry as they celebrated their 25th anniversary.
The wonderful thing about these awards is that anyone could win, for any reason, as long as they meet the simple criteria, according to Filthaut.
“What I loved about last year was that a lot of people really seemed to enjoy themselves and had a good time. I’m really just hoping for the same level of success,” said Filthaut.
A success it was. Last year the awards ceremony was received by a packed house, and Filthaut is hoping for the same. Though he is planning on having more seating this year.
“I don’t know how we will do it, but we will,” he said.
The decision on who wins is left to a secret group, one that Filthaut is tight-lipped about.
“No one knows who is in the group. I can say that I am not on it,” Filthaut said.
When it comes to making a decision about the winners, Filthaut said the closest he gets to it is passing along the nomination forms.
Before last year the Business of the Year and Citizen of the Year awards were two separate and independent awards presented by the Chamber of Commerce and The Maple Creek News-Times respectively.
Learning how the same type of awards were done and received in Unity inspired the change in Maple Creek’s awards. Unity also inspired the Maple Creek Community Awards.
There are five awards available for the Community Awards and is available to any person, group or business that meets the criteria.
The awards are handed out at a gala on March 23 at the Glascock Building.
The deadline for all nomination is Feb. 29.
Nomination forms are available at the news office, Broken Spoke Art Gallery and Gift Shop, as well as at the office of Royce Pettyjohn. They can be returned to any of those places or by mailing to the address listed on the nomination form.
Filthaut is also excited to see submissions for artists for the awards, and hopes to see more.
“Every year we have an artist work with us on the awards, and we are still looking for one for this year,” he said.
Artist submissions are open until Feb. 15.
“It (the awards) are a great way for people, good people, to be recognized,” said Filthaut.