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Rural Leaders Benefit Their Communities, Inspire Others: Struthers 

Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers honoured outstanding community leaders with the Capturing Opportunities Awards at the Manitoba Hydro Celebration Banquet last night in Brandon as part of the annual Capturing Opportunities rural business forum. 

The Honourable Stan Struthers

The Honourable Stan Struthers

“Every community has people who work hard, often without any kind of acknowledgement, to make their town or region a better place to live and work,” said Struthers. “These awards allow us to recognize the people and organizations that benefit their communities and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. They also pave the way for economic growth within vibrant communities inhabited by people willing to provide the extra effort it takes to make projects succeed.” 

The Capturing Opportunity Awards are presented annually to individuals, organizations, businesses and youth in recognition of their hard work, dedication and leadership in their communities.  Awards are given in four categories. 

This year, the Rural Youth Achievement award was presented to Zoe Peckover from Homewood who has fundraised for Teens Living with Cancer while battling cancer herself.  Peckover is heavily involved in sport in her community and is president of the Carman Collegiate Student Council. 

The Outstanding Community Leadership award was presented to Dorothy Braun of Altona for her work with a number of community groups including the Altona and Area Family Resource Centre. Braun has been instrumental in other charities and organizations like the Regional Alternative Education Centre, the Healthy Child Coalition, the local food bank and the Chronic Disease Prevention Initiative. She was the driving force behind bringing Women’s Health Day to Altona. 

The Economic Development Innovation award for community involvement by an organization or municipality was presented to the Elkhorn Development Corporation (EDC). EDC found a solution for providing affordable housing in Elkhorn by getting a group of investors together and creating a pool of money to make housing available at a reasonable interest rate. The group has built six houses in the past year and plans to build another three or four this summer.  

The Economic Development Innovation award for community involvement by a business was presented to the Boundary Trail Railway Company (BTRC) of Manitou.  BTRC acquired abandoned rail materials from CP Rail to establish the first producer-owned, short-line railway in the province, which runs between Morden and Manitou.  

“These award recipients deserve wide-spread recognition for their dedication to their communities,” Struthers said. “By shining a spotlight on these community leaders, we hope to encourage others to strive for excellence in bringing about positive change where they live and work, promoting economic development in rural communities and creating sustainable benefits for all Manitobans.” 

Winners received a commemorative glass award and $1,000 to contribute to the community organization of their choice.