A local group looking to bring death out of the shadows was recognized by the New Westminster business community at the 2017 Platinum Awards Thursday night.
New West Hospice Society took home the top prize for Not-For-Profit of the Year at the annual business awards gala organized by the New West Chamber of Commerce held at Starlight Casino.
The society was founded by five New West residents in the fall of 2016.
The idea was to provide people who are nearing the end of their lives with ample opportunity to live as fully and comfortably as possible. The group also works to create support networks for those grieving the death of a loved one.
To accomplish this, the community has to learn how to talk about death openly, Vivian Wong, one of the founders, told the Record when the society was incorporated.
“It’s to dispel some of the fear that prevents people from wanting to go there and talk about it, engage in it,” she said. “It’s something that all of humanity shares, but most of society shies away from the topic.”
Nominated alongside the New West Hospice Society for Not-For-Profit of the Year were Aware, Boucher Institute, Salvation Army and the Royal Canadian Legion.
In all, more than 50 businesses and business people were in the running for an award at the annual Platinum Awards. Categories up for grabs included Customer Service Excellence; Home Based Business of the Year; New Business of the Year; Community Spirit; Green Business of the Year; Innovator of the Year; Not-For-Profit of the Year; Business of the Year; Entrepreneur Under 40 of the Year; and Business Person of the Year.
“It was a love fest,” said chamber of commerce CEO Lizz Kelly.
“Everybody just loves New West. It just seems to be a vibrant, exciting time to be here and it just showed in the thank you speeches everyone gave.”
Taking home the coveted Business Person of the Year award was Steel & Oak co-founder Jorden Foss, while Momentum Bodywork and Massage in uptown New West took home the prize for Business of the Year.
Longtime New Westminster-based company Royal Printers Ltd. was recognized by the chamber for its service with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
New West 7 member and celebrated photographer Gabor Gasztonyi, meanwhile, was named the 2017 Bernie Legge Cultural/Art award recipient.
This year’s Citizen of the Year award went to Nadine Nakagawa.
Nakagawa has served on several city committees and helped spearhead community-based truth and reconciliation forums in the city earlier this year.
And the winners are …
Bernie Legge Cultural/Art Award: Gabor Gasztonyi (photographer, New West 7)
Customer Service Excellence: Thornebridge Gardens
Home Based Business of the Year: Sew Good
New Business of the Year: Rock Steady Boxing New West
Community Spirit: Cosy Yarns
Green Business of the Year: Electra Meccanica
Innovator of the Year: Landcor
Not-For-Profit of the Year: New West Hospice
Business of the Year: Momentum Bodywork and Massage
Entrepreneur Under 40 of the Year: Travis Johnson (Founder, Vancouver Circus School)
Citizen of the Year: Nadine Nakagawa (Volunteer)
Business Person of the Year: Jorden Foss (Co-founder, Steel & Oak)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Royal Printers Ltd.