Herm Martens, a well-known figure on Manitoba’s agricultural and municipal fronts was presented with an Outstanding Community Leadership Award at the recent Capturing Opportunities conference.
Martens, who served as reeve of the RM of Morris from 1995 until last year, was honoured for his community service as chair of the Pembina Valley Water Co-op, the Red River Basin commission, and on the board of the Pembina Valley Development Corporation, an economic development organization. Martens has also been a director with Community Futures Triple R for 15 years, served on the advisory committee of the Manitoba Floodway Authority and is a director of the Manitoba Egg Marketing board. He also finds time to coach hockey and volunteer with his church and Mennonite Central Committee’s annual auction.
Awards are also presented to outstanding businesses and organizations that have made a difference in their communities.
Other awards given this year include the Rural Youth Achievement Award, presented to Skateboard Union, a group of 50 youth from the Swan River area. Since 2009 they have raised more than $320,000 for a new skateboard park through initiatives such as naming rights, grants and other fundraisers. The park will be one of just four in the province.
La Chalet de La Broquerie 25-member steering committee and Dauphin Countryfest each received Economic Development Innovations Awards. In La Broquerie more than $1.1 million was raised by the committee toward construction of a new 24-unit assisted-living development. Dauphin Countryfest, now Canada’s longest-running country music festival, was honoured for the major economic impact it has had on the region. A 2010 assessment showed the festival has an estimated $9.7-million impact on the local and regional economy. The summer festival has donated $4.5 million to the community since 1990 and contributed to the region by promoting regional tourism, homegrown talent, providing scholarships, and sharing revenue and helping sponsor other area events and projects.
“It is said you will never find the time to volunteer, you must make the time, and these award recipients made their time available and guaranteed a commitment to their community,” said Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers, in a news release.
Winners received a commemorative glass award and $1,000 to contribute to a community organization of their choice.