Chamber awards recognize hard work, community involvement
By Jenn Watt
Steve Todd was named this year’s Highlander of the Year at the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Achievement Awards held on Saturday, March 30 at Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre.
John and Holly MacDonald of Lakeview Motel presented the award.
“This prestigious award recognizes a citizen for outstanding contribution and community leadership, demonstrated for the benefit of the Haliburton Highlands,” said John MacDonald. “... The Highlander of the Year is a community enthusiast, a true ambassador who has contributed in the areas of art, culture, heritage, community services, economic development, the environment, etc., etc.”
Todd, owner of Todd’s Independent Grocer in Haliburton, said it’s been his philosophy since his business opened in 2005 to support as many groups as possible every year.
“I’ve always had an outlook on things [in which] I don’t support one group in general or a few groups, I kind of support all groups, whatever I can do,” he said in an interview with the Echo.
Groups approach his business with a range of requests for support and he said he does his best to help out.
He is also a board member with the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation and sponsors a fundraising bonspiel each year. In the last 10 years, the bonspiel has raised about $35,000 for health services.
The person who nominated Todd for the award noted the breadth of giving: “Steve gives generously to this community by donating to any charity that asks, and his contributions to the local food bank have been extremely substantial to help many families in need. Steve deserves to be recognized as an ambassador to this community by receiving the Highlander of the Year award.”
Before settling in Haliburton, Todd worked in several southern Ontario towns and cities including Ottawa, Bowmanville and Cobourg. He said the people in Haliburton have been incredibly welcoming.
“Everybody always says what a beautiful place we live in, but I don’t think it’s the place as much as the people that make it special. The people are unbelievable,” he said. “I came from another town, I didn’t grow up here, but I was welcomed with open arms. I’ve always been treated like a local, like I’ve lived here for my entire life … So if I can give back a little bit any way I can, that’s why I do it.”
Mike Jaycock was master of ceremonies for the dinner, poking fun at politicians and newsmakers and celebrating those in the audience who had given much to the advancement of the community over the past year.
The chamber also screened their new video, created to recruit young people to move to the Highlands to work or establish businesses.
Awards were given out throughout the evening to recognize various sectors of the economy.
Innovation and Creativity Award – Haliburton Solar and Wind
Not-for-Profit of the Year Award – Rotary Club of Haliburton
Customer First - Business Award – Haliburton Solar and Wind
Customer First - Employee Award – Shontel Neville (Heat-Line Freeze Protection Systems)
Business Achievement Award – Haliburton Solar and Wind
New Business of the Year Award – Haliburton County Chiropractic & Rehabilitation
Tourism & Hospitality Award – Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve
Young Professional of the Year Award – Dr. Kassie Wright (Haliburton County Chiropractic & Rehabilitation)
Skilled Trades & Industry Award – Haliburton Solar and Wind
Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Brandi Hewson (WAI Products Ltd.)
County Warden’s Award – Harvest Haliburton
Highlander of the Year Award – Steve Todd