The Gleaner was among seven area organizations and businesses honoured during the NOVA awards ceremony on May 12 for their innovation, resilience, and initiative over the past two pandemic years.
Named after an astronomical event during which a star shines especially brightly for a brief period, the NOVA ceremony was organized by the Beauharnois-Valleyfield-Haut-Saint-Laurent Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIBVHSL) in celebration of those whose stars shone the brightest during the darkest times of the pandemic.
Area businesses implemented new projects to survive the rollercoaster of lockdowns; they partnered and collaborated to expand their activities, and they reached out to their communities in response to diverse needs as isolation from the virus kept people apart.
It was the first major gathering of the region’s business community since 2019, and over 200 people came together at the Salle Albert-Dumouchel in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. The ceremony highlighted the efforts of seven organizations, which were selected from over 20 finalists for their creativity, ingenuity, and solidarity.
The winners included the Maison de la Jeunesse 12-17 de Valleyfield; the Centre Nautique de Beauharnois; and Distillerie 3 Lacs, which converted the distillery to produce antiseptic gel in collaboration with other area businesses Diageo, General Dynamics, and Double Dose Design to supply area institutions with hand sanitizer. A NOVA award was also presented to CEZinc for having established a workplace vaccination clinic in partnership with the Cégep de Valleyfield and the Centre de services scolaires de la Vallée-des-Tisserands, which administered more than 17,000 vaccine doses in 2021.
Moisson Sud-Ouest was recognized for its response to the need for food aid in the region, which exploded as the pandemic set in. The organization was able to ensure approximately 8,300 people were fed monthly, all while dealing with space constraints, transport complications, and staff shortages.
The Fondation de l’Hôpital Suroît was also honoured for its dedication to ensuring the safety of its community. The foundation implemented a courtesy call centre to help break the isolation experienced by many seniors, while also managing to source supplies of personal protective equipment for health care personnel.
Finally, The Gleaner was celebrated for having played a pivotal role in keeping the community connected and informed throughout the pandemic. Upon accepting the award on behalf of the Chateauguay Valley Community Information Services, which publishes the newspaper, journalist Sarah Rennie emphasized the extreme dedication of the non-profit’s staff, journalists, and volunteers; the significance of the small businesses and organizations that had continued to support the paper; and The Gleaner’s subscribers and loyal readers.