The Perth and District Chamber of Commerce has announced a new award that will honour young entrepreneurs.
“We are planning to add an additional award, starting next year,” said president Jill Campbell during the chamber’s annual dinner at Code’s Mill on the Park on Thursday, Oct. 25. “There have been suggestions of adding an award to this event,” by adding a fourth award.
While the young people will start to be honoured next year, the regularly-scheduled awards were handed out to the town’s business community last week.
Metroland Media advertising consultant Kevin Hoover presented the Business Achievement Award. Hoover pointed out that there were several criteria that had to be met for this award, and that it was not a “lifetime achievement award.” It was open to both new and old businesses alike, and businesses that had made an impact on the community, through volunteering and good deeds. The judges were also looking for businesses that held prudent ethical business practices.
The award went to A & B Ford Sales Ltd.
“The entire team contributes to the success of this business,” said Hoover of the businesses which as served Perth and Smiths Falls for more than 35 years, and had won accolades from Ford Canada for many of those years. Hoover noted that the company has raised and donated more than $125,000 to the Great War Memorial Hospital site in Perth over the years, and that the Fred Hasler Memorial Golf Tournament raises funds for the deserving. The company has also raised money for the Lanark Animal Welfare Society and minor sports such as hockey, baseball, soccer, as well as contributing to the Perth Fair, Festival of the Maples and the Santa Claus Parade. They were also commended for their environmentally-friendly infrastructure at their new digs on Dufferin Street.
“If it wasn’t for our mom and dad moving us young kids here in 1976, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Lisa Hasler who, along with her brother Brad, are co-owners of the business their parents founded. “We have the best staff you could ask for,” which is evident through their “minimal” turnover. One employee has even been with them since 1977. “We are so grateful and thankful for this award,” said Lisa.
“Perth has been a great town,” added Brad. “It’s the best town in Ontario and maybe the best town in Canada. I would do anything for Perth. I want to thank everyone for doing this for us.”
“It’s still very family oriented,” said Eric Drysdale. “When someone (an employee) has a new child, they bring it in and work and work stops and we all have a look.”
The Lanark Leeds Home Builders Association Member Achievement Award was presented by Natalie Armstrong of Enbridge Gas to Mike Purdon, owner of Ennis General Carpentry Ltd., a lifelong Perth resident who started working at the company full time in 1988, having started part-time work there in 1985. About 23 years later, on April 1, 2011, he purchased the company from its longtime owner.
“He (Purdon) has set an example only a few others could hope to follow,” said Armstrong.
“I maintain the same level of commitment and service,” said Purdon, who added that his company employs 17 people, and “we are committed to small business in Perth. We appreciate your time tonight.”
The Perth Medal was presented, appropriately enough, by the first citizen, Mayor John Fenik. Before he presented the medal though he announced that the Town of Perth had followed in Carleton Place’s footsteps and hired an economic development officer.
The Perth Medal, Fenik noted, was bestowed on someone of significant distinction, who sought to better the town, with no monetary gain for themselves.
This year’s prize went to Ralph Fish, who has been a proud member of the Rotary Club for the past 55 years, and has attended every one of their fundraisers, and has a perfect attendance record with the group. Fenik noted that this is an astounding statistic, considering that the local Rotarians put on up to eight fundraisers every year. Fish has also served as the club’s president and director.
Fish’s other great altruistic passion has been the Perth Blue Wings hockey team, “those guys not bothered with contract negotiations,” joked Fenik of the ongoing National Hockey League lock-out.
Fish has been fundraising for the Blue Wings for many years, selling 50/50 tickets in the stands during games.
His business in town has been long-standing. Fish went to veterinary college in 1952 and by 1953 he came to Perth and founded his own veterinary clinic. He was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, save for his sacred one week off every fall for hunting.
“He is a great example of what it is to be a Perth Medal winner,” said Fenik.
“I feel very humbled and honoured to be here amongst previous winners,” said Fish. “There are a lot out there and in here who deserve it (the medal) just as, or more than, I.”
In fact, Fish has been doing so such good for so long that he can remember the day, back in 1964, when one Judge Matheson approached the Rotary Club with the idea of the Perth Medal.
While the plaque of previous winners bears his name, he shared his award with his dearly-departed wife, Mary.
“Without the constant support of my late wife Mary, I would not have been able to attend all of the Perth Blue Wings games and board meetings,” he said, extolling her amazing abilities at raising four children, while managing a busy veterinary clinic office.