Nine people and businesses throughout the region have been honoured for their outstanding community as the 15th annual Passionate Heart awards were handed out as part of a virtual ceremony.

The winners of the Passionate Heart Exceptional Service Award were announced as Peace Wapiti Academy VP Randy Nagel, County of Grande Prairie Community School Liason Krystle Bush, Harry Balfour Principal Jen Clevette, Wembley Public Library Librarian Anna Underwood, and City of Grande Prairie Home Support Coordinator Anna Stewart.

City of Grande Prairie Community Social Development Manager Angela Sutherland the strength shown by members in the community through some incredibly difficult circumstances shows a lot about the region.

“It’s such a challenging time for everybody, and be able to gather virtually and recognize people who have really done some exceptional work in our community is really important,” she says.

“Whether it be businesses, people who work directly in the sector, other individuals or teams, that really take pride in helping support the most vulnerable in the community.”

This year’s Passionate Heart Exceptional Team Awards went to Swanavon Elementary School and Building Blocks Daycare. The Chris Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award was handed out to Tanice Jones with the Grande Prairie Family Education Society. Meanwhile, Brown’s Socialhouse Westgate was given the nod for The Passionate Heart Business Award.

Sutherland says the education sector got a lot of love as part of the 2021 edition of the Passionate Heart Awards, and she believes it couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Teachers deserve a lot of credit, not only in their day-to-day work and the ability to adjust with challenging times, but it really showcases how they go above and beyond to make sure that students’ needs are met,” she says.

“I don’t think they get enough credit, so I think it’s really important to recognize them when we get a chance to do so.”

The awards are sponsored by Family and Community Support Services in the City and County of Grande Prairie, the towns of Beaverlodge, Sexsmith and Wembley, and the Village of Hythe.