Jen Arbo has been named New Westminster’s 2016 Citizen of the Year in recognition of her many contributions to the Royal City.
Arbo, whose long list of community credits includes volunteering with KidSport New West and the Royal City Farmers Market, received her award at the 2016 Platinum Awards on Wednesday night.
“Nobody volunteers because they have the expectation of getting accolades. That’s not my motivation or inspiration for volunteering,” she told the Record the following morning. “I think for me it was very humbling and honouring, not only to be nominated by people I really respect, but with people I really respect. It was a pretty great moment to be able to stand up and say thank you for the acknowledgment. I think that’s a big thing – it’s nice to be acknowledged.”
Of her many community contributions, Arbo said she’s particularly passionate about the work she does with KidSport New West, where she works behind the scenes securing funds and dispersing money so kids can participate in organized sports.
“It’s so meaningful on a personal level, being able to keep kids active,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to plan a party, a great event or social, but work that has really deep meaning I think rewards people on a different level.”
Arbo, who was the operations manager for the Royal City Farmers Market for its first four years, is currently the group’s president.
“We are really changing as an organization and growing,” she said. “We are really trying to get all our ducks in a row and make sure the market is sustainable for the long-term. That’s actually my goal – to get it to the point where it is sustainable, and I can walk away and hand it over to someone confidently, knowing it’s organized and well run and contributing to the community.”
Susan Grieg, owner of 100 Braid Street Studios, took home another of the night’s top awards, being named as the Bernie Legge Artist of the Year. In addition to being an artist, she runs the business that provides studio space for artists and space for events like weddings and fundraisers.
The New Westminster Chamber of Commerce’s annual Platinum Awards recognize local businesses, residents and non-profit organizations in a variety of categories. Here’s a wrap-up of the rest of this year’s Platinum Award winners:
* Business of the Year (small): Mindful Mutts.
* Business of the Year (medium): Bosley’s at Columbia Square.
* Business of the Year (large): Fraser River Paint and Body.
* Business Person of the Year: Dave Vallee - RE/MAX Advantage Realty
*Community Spirit: Donald’s Market.
* Creative Marketing and Innovator of the Year: Douglas College/Western Media Group/Acuity.
* Customer Service Excellence - Business: New West Wellness (Michelle Kegaly).
* Customer Service Excellence - Individual: Sarah Alicia Thomas (Sarah Alicia Thomas Hair Artist.)
* Green Business of the Year: Royal Printers.
* Inclusion Excellence in Business: Pacific Bolt Manufacturing.
* New Business of the Year - small: Mindful Mutts.
* New Business of the Year - medium: El Santo.
* Non-Profit of the Year - over $1 million: Westminster House.
* Non-Profit of the Year - under $1 million: New Westminster Youth Ambassador Society.