Chemainus celebrated local volunteers and members of its business community Saturday night at the 2012 Golden Brush Awards.
Peter Matthews, president of the Chemainus and District Chamber of Commerce, emceed the event, hosted at the Chemainus Theatre.
Businesses and individuals were nominated in 10 categories this year, with the recipient of the Volunteer of the Year award receiving the loudest applause of the night.
Rodney Pickard was named as the town’s most popular volunteer for 2012, sending the crowd to its feet in response.
Pickard said it was “a real surprise” to be named as Volunteer of the Year.
“I was just happy to be nominated,” he added.
Pickard’s schizophrenic, he said, adding that his illness is serious. The fact that he’s able to work and to keep on top of things and remain positive is something he said he’s most proud of.
Other awards recipients were equally enthusiastic.
Matthews presented Michele and Greg Riley, owners of Chemainus Foods, with the Retail Business of the Year award.
“It was a nice surprise,” Michele said. “Sandpiper’s very popular, so we were pleased.”
She added that she liked how the entire community could now participate in the selection process, rather than having the awards determined solely by those in the business community.
“Anybody that thought that you provided a service to the community could send in a nomination,” Michele said, “and then I think it was just a question of numbers — who got the most votes.”
Michele was equally enthusiastic regarding Pickard’s nod for Volunteer of the Year.
“That was very cool,” she said. “He works very hard and he’s had a tough year, so it’s well deserved.”
Odika Café was awarded the Food Service Business of the Year award.
Marina Kereliuk owns and operates the café with her husband Murray.
“Of course I’m excited,” Marina said of her award, before admitting that she wasn’t surprised by the nomination.
“We were nominated for the best restaurant on Vancouver Island in bcliving,” Marina added, “and we wound up third.”
Marina comes from Gabon, Africa, and she’s been living in Canada for the last 10 years. Marina and Murray opened Café Odika in Gold River eight years ago, she said, then decided to relocate to Chemainus two years ago. Marina said they change their menu every three months to keep things new and exciting, but global and domestic cuisine remain features at the cafe, where they serve everything from African or Indian fare to domestic staples like burgers and pasta dishes.
The Chamber of Commerce presented a President’s Award for the first time this year, selecting Shelley Rouse as its recipient.
Matthews said the awards ceremony grows with every passing year, and he referred to this year’s ceremony as an “outstanding success.”
The winners of the 2012 Golden Brush Awards are:
Retail Business of the Year
Food Service Business of the Year
Odika World Cuisine
Manufacturing Business of the Year
Vancouver Island Soap Factory
Personal Service Business of the Year
Flowering Tree Natural Spa
Professional Service Business of the Year
Coastal Community Credit Union
Trades or Contractor Business of the Year
Chris Clement Homes
Good Neighbour Award (for a business that caters in a special way to residents)
Chemainus Valley Courier
Best Customer Service (for an individual)
Phil & Michelle Mavis, Willow Street Café
Volunteer of the Year
President’s Award (new for 2012)