aNTIGONISH, N.S. They started working out of a garage, with a Dodge station wagon serving as their first hearse.
Those are just a couple threads in a rich tapestry of more than 40 years – and counting – crafted by Norma and Herman Boudreau.
For unending dedication to their community, the owners of C.H. Boudreau Funeral Home in Arichat are the recipients of the 2018 Jack Hartery Memorial Lifetime Achievement in Business Award.
The couple, with myriad family and friends on hand, received the honour during the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting (AGM) and awards gala, which took place May 23 at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.
“We are honoured to join the ranks of recipients for this tremendous award,” Norma said, to the more than 200 people at the celebration.
“We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
She reflected on some of their journey, crediting business success to the incredible support they have received from family, staff members and the community.
“We are extremely proud,” she said of the now third-generation business, including its focus on community involvement.
That proud commitment includes their Chamber membership.
“You have the finger on the pulse of the community,” Norma said or the organization.
She noted the importance of being part of a larger network that provides employment and helps grow business in the region.
Since those early days, C.H. Boudreau Funeral Home has achieved many milestones, including the 1987 move to a new and modern facility overlooking historic Arichat Harbour.
“We appreciate everyone who has trusted us during some of the most difficult times in their lives,” Norma said.
Established in 2003, the Jack Hartery Memorial Lifetime Achievement in Business Award’s late namesake was a long-time member of the leadership team at the Point Tupper paper mill.
Joe Shannon was the first recipient of the honour.
Blaise MacEachern, who has dedicated many years to the development of a sustainable trail system across the province, including Inverness County, received the Kevin Beaton Heart of the Community Award.
“It is a great honour,” he said, adding he accepted the award on behalf of all volunteers who have contributed to the success of the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail initiative.
He noted there were representatives from the five trail groups in the network, which include more than 100 volunteers, at the gala celebration.
“It is the power of partnerships,” MacEachern said of the successes.
Because of her great commitment to the community and Chamber, Allana Richardson received the President’s Award.
“She is very special to us,” Chamber executive director Amanda Mombourquette said.
Richardson has spearheaded Celtic Oktoberfest – the Chamber’s largest event – which celebrates the craft brewing industry.
Loretta Gould garnered the Cultural Award of Merit, which is sponsored by the Town of Port Hawkesbury.
“She is a self-taught artist,” Mombourquette said, noting some of her “amazing” work was on display at the gala.
Gould, who has an online store, hopes to one day establish a production centre in her community.
Jeremy Murray received the Chamber’s Leadership Award bursary, which is awarded to a NSCC Strait Area Campus student.
Power of leadership
Guest speaker Steven Googoo, a We’koqma’q First Nation band councillor, focused on the importance of leadership.
“Leadership is not a rank, it is a choice,” he offered, reciting one of his tenets.
Googoo noted true leaders “walk with their people,” which allows them to learn so much about them and garner trust.
“It is about motivating people to achieve a common goal,” he said.
Googoo noted some of the many leaders in the region.
“We have our own great ones here,” he said.
Googoo also talked about the continuing successes of the Youth Eagle Program in his community. Its accomplishments include the fostering of relationships with elders.
Mann remains President
The AGM included the election of the Chamber’s board of directors for the next year.
Along with Richie Mann of Melford Atlantic Gateway, the executive committee includes past president David Hart (NuStar) vice president Heidi MacInnis (Port Hawkesbury Paper), treasurer Beth Groom (St. Joseph’s Credit Union) secretary Diana Poirier (ROC Society).
Eleven additional regular members were also elected. There are also six ex-official members.
“Our AGM celebrations are about recognizing the people and businesses that form the foundations of our communities; the contributions they make to our economy are invaluable,” Mombourquette said in a Chamber press release.
“Our board of directors and our Chamber members represent communities all across the Strait Region, and we are a stronger voice for business because of their commitment.”
During her gala remarks, she described “a year of major change” for the Chamber, including its move to 609 Church St. in Port Hawkesbury, as part of Business Suite 101.
“It is a one-stop shop for business service and support,” Mombourquette said.
Along with the Chamber, the location includes the Cape Breton Partnership, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN) and Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI).
She touched on several highlights, including the launch of a women’s leadership network.
“We are so happy about this,” Mombourquette said.
She also noted member milestones, such as the 90th anniversary of the Port Hood Co-op.
As for the future, Mombourquette said the Chamber’s focus continues to be providing “service and real value to our members.”
Port Hawkesbury Paper, MacLeod Lorway, the Town of Port Hawkesbury, 1015 The Hawk and Sound Source Pro Audio and Lighting sponsored the gala celebration.
The Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, which has more than 300 members, is a not-for-profit business development organization that has promoted, improved and protected trade and commerce for more than 65 years.
For more information, visit straitareachamber.ca