Outstanding contributions saluted at Women of Today Awards

This year’s Quota International of Estevan Women of Today Awards saw five deserving women recognized in the four categories.

The awards were presented in front of a large crowd at a luncheon at the Wylie-Mitchell building Wednesday afternoon.

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Dr. Allison Christie won the TS&M Outstanding Contribution to the Workplace Award, Pam Dechief won the Southern Plains Co-op Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award, Julia “Reese” Handley won the Shirley Orsted Memorial Award for Outstanding Young Woman of Today, and Louise Vandenhurk and Lorette Zohner shared the Ida Petterson Memorial Award for Outstanding Entrepreneur.

Christie has devoted 35 years to practising medicine in Estevan, and has remained in the community amid numerous physician shortages. She arrives early, stays late, takes extra shifts, supports medical students in training and brings a calm demeanor and sense of humour to her job.

The audience gave Christie a standing ovation after she was announced as the winner. 

Dechief is a dedicated volunteer who has found many ways to serve the community, including the Estevan and District Music Festival, the 2016 Saskatchewan Summer Games, the 2018 SaskTel Tankard and Home Hardware Canada Cup curling competitions and the Red Cross. She has also been involved with the Girl Guides and Pleasantdale School in the past. 

Handley is a Grade 12 honour roll student at the Estevan Comprehensive School, and a leader and roll model through her contributions to the school and community. She plays numerous sports  and has been involved with extracurricular activities. She shows a strong desire to serve her community, and has been able to hold a part-time job. 

Zohner and Vandenhurk are partners in the Estevan Dairy Queen Grill and Chill/Orange Julius, and were recognized for their ability to balance their work and farm life. They endured a steep learning curve associated with owning their own business when they purchased the restaurant in 2003, and persevered through a major electrical fire that struck the business in 2013, They have found many ways to give back to the community. 

The guest speaker was farmer, speaker and advocate Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel.

This week’s edition of Southeast Lifestyles will have more on this story.

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