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Chamber recognizes best and brightest

The Nichole Stock Award for Community Service was given to three recipients March 9.
Tim Erickson of Honeymoon Bay Lodge & Retreat receives the Island Savings Business of the Year award.

The Nichole Stock Award for Community Service was given to three recipients March 9.

Betty Lou Riel, was described by the awards committee as "a huge part" of the successful organization of the volunteers for the Sunfest Welcome Committee.

"Betty's dedication started early in the first meetings and continued through Sunfest weekend and beyond. Not only did she set up and take down the stations, pick up the signs and so much more, she was the key liaison for all the volunteers throughout the entire weekend and months leading up to the event...Without her the committee would have been lost...Her positive outlook, quick thinking and ability to organize and direct the volunteers was truly unbelievable," the introduction continued.

Mike and Barbara Bedard were praised for their dedication to the Lake's animal rescue society.

"They are not only at every fundraiser they have, sitting out in the cold collecting money for the poor animals that are abandoned in our community, they are actively working to place as many animals as possible into foster or adoptive homes. They insure that all the animals are spayed/neutered, tattooed, and have their inoculation prior to adoption," said the introduction.

The third winner of the Nichole Stock Award for 2016 was Gordon Davidson, from the community radio station.

"He has been the chair for the CICV Radio Cowichan for a few years, along with [being part of the formation] of the Youbou Community Association board and the Cowichan River Stewardship Society. Gord was the one who put together that Welcome Sunfest map while on the LEAD committee. Through his volunteerism, Gordon is dedicated to building better communities here around the Lake."

In 2015, two new awards were added to the lineup and they were so well received that they are being continued.

For 2016, the Country Grocer Customer Service Employee of the Year went to Brandie Arkell, who works at Jake's at the Lake.

"Not only is she a fabulous waitress, she is so much more. She is a bright ray of sunshine as you walk into the restaurant...She knows many of the locals by name and remembers what you ordered last time....She is always offering to go the extra mile for the customer...whether they are there for a meal, a quick cup of coffee or just to get directions, we need more like her in our communities and businesses," her introduction said.

And the Island Savings Business of the Year for 2016 went to Honeymoon Bay Lodge & Retreat, and its genial and helpful owners Tim and Karla Erickson.

Kim Knight of Island Savings said, in introducing them, "Small businesses make up about 90 per cent of the businesses in B.C. They are very critical in our communities. The winner is known for the experience they provide for their employees and their members. When I googled them they came up at 4.5 on Tripadvisor, which is a pretty good rating. Comments I read included: everything you could ask for in a retreat; they provide health and wellness counseling; their rooms are spacious and clean; the beds are comfy; staff are friendly and helpful...also, they are an active participant in the economic development of Honeymoon Bay and the surrounding area."

The restaurant there also provides unique ethnic menus, according to local fans, she said.