By Angelica Ingram
Published March 14 2017
Max Ward isn’t a man of many words but one who would rather let his volunteer work and love for the community show the true nature of his character.
On March 11 Ward was named Highlander of the Year at the 11th annual Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Achievement Awards Gala.
Ward was one of six nominees and was nominated for the second time.
Originally from outside of London Ont. he moved to the Highlands 13 years ago to become the minister at Minden United Church Maple Lake Church and Zion United in Carnarvon.
He has spent the past number of years involved with housing organization Places for People the Minden Food Bank and is a mason with the Arcadia Lodge in Minden.
He said his community involvement is a way for him to demonstrate his faith.
“I like to tell people it’s me living out my faith and this is how I’m trying to do it. I’m trying my best” he said.
Prior to being named Highlander of the Year Ward said he felt nervous and then surprised.
“There were so many other wonderful nominees” he said.
He credits his wife and kids for their support in helping him achieve the recognition.
“If it wasn’t for the support of my family I wouldn’t be standing up here” he said.
The evening gala held at Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre was about recognizing many of the achievements in the community and celebrating businesses.
The sold out event was a testament to the economic community in the Highlands said chamber president Jerry Walker.
“Business is alive and well in the county” he said during his opening remarks.
This year there were 95 nominees up for 10 awards along with the Warden’s Award which is selected by the warden each year.
The winner of the Business Achievement Award was The Pump Shop who were nominated for a remarkable 30 years in business led by original founders Wade and Jane Woodward.
“Find a need – fill a need. And that’s just what Wade and Jane Woodward have accomplished” read Kyle Brewer when presenting the award. “Their mantra is that everyone should have reliable access to the water they need. So if it’s about water there is no doubt The Pump Shop can help. They install it pump it repair it soften it purify it test it and even help you to enjoy it in one of their hot tubs.”
The Customer First – Business Award which had more than 20 nominees was won by Wintergeen Maple Products and Pancake Barn which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Located in Gelert the business which includes a 120 acre sugarbush restaurant retail store catering and event centre also hosts charity events and has become a family favourite destination.
“Families enjoy the pancake weekends as a time to reconnect and enjoy delicious local food along with warm greetings from the Dawson family” read Donna Enright as she announced the winner.
The Customer First – Employee Award honoured all the nominees by naming everyone a winner.
“The ladies and gentlemen on this stage represent exceptional customer service in the Haliburton Highlands” said Walker. “Without your dedication and hard work our businesses would not shine the way they do.”
Walker announced that the chamber will soon be launching a countywide online campaign for people to nominate employees all year long.
Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded to Mike McFadden owner/operator of McFadden’s Meat Market a butcher shop in Haliburton.
“His enthusiasm and passion towards his business is evident. His vision of having an open concept cutting room in the butcher shop is very unique” said Wayne Lavery of Patient News. “McFadden’s Meat Market is certainly a positive addition to our community.”
The category of Innovation and Creativity was awarded to The Haliburton Real Estate Team who put together two video series promoting the area and its businesses.
“They were innovative by capitalizing on a market with a pre-existing interest in the area and they were a successful extension of the promotional work being done not only by the county’s tourism department but also by everyone using the #MyHaliburtonHighlands brand” said Andy Campbell. “A community is better-positioned for success when its citizens collaborate to build on each other’s assets and successes.”
Highland Glass & Windows took home New Business of the Year with new owner Peter Zahn accepting the award.
“The business has undertaken a complete makeover since changing ownership in April 2015. Substantial investments in the company including a revamped showroom and new computer systems and software have helped the company better service their customers” read Peter Brady.
Not-for-Profit of the Year was awarded to Community Living an organization focused on integrating those with developmental challenges into the community.
“They have taught our community to embrace those with challenges to learn from them and with them and for that we are truly thankful” said Nelly Ashworth. “Their recent move to the Victoria Street School has offered many more opportunities and with the ongoing partnerships they are developing they continue to set a high standard for community excellence.”
The Skilled Trades and Industry honour was won by Harcourt Park Marina which strives to be a leader in their industry.
“The team also demonstrates a continuing commitment to learning and improving through ongoing investments in education. This has been recently demonstrated by recognizing a need for skilled services as canvas top providers and repairers” read Eddie Pinelli when reading out the award.
The Tourism and Hospitality Award went to Bonnie View Inn presented by Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt.
“The Bonnie View has been instrumental in improving the allure of the Haliburton Highlands for tourists and residents” said Moffatt. “It has been a landmark resort in the Highlands since 1924 located on Kashagawigamog Lake just eight minutes from Haliburton Village. The Bonnie View Inn promotes services and accommodations that they provide on site but they also have a large part of their website dedicated to things to do in the Highlands.”
The Warden’s Award presented by Warden Brent Devolin was given to the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association for their hours of volunteer work over their 46 year existence.
“They have had within their organization hundreds of volunteers” said Devolin. “They have committed millions of dollars in terms of assets and labour in support of tourism in this county.”
Ward was given the final award of the night recognized for his contributions.
“He is concerned about the real problem of hunger and poverty in the Haliburton Highlands and is committed to improving the quality of many families lives with food security housing stability and programs to educate and assist residents. Max Ward’s leadership ideas and determination will continue to make a positive difference to many residents’ lives both those he serves and those who volunteer alongside him” read award presenters John and Holly McDonald.