Valley Community Learning Association recognizes 14 super employees

Published on February 4, 2017

Tim Horton’s employee Kathy Bennett and her daughter, Caitlyn, pose after the award ceremony recently at the Valley Community Learning Association in Kentville.

©Wendy Elliott

KENTVILLE NS – Fourteen employees in the Valley received some unusual appreciation late last month for doing their jobs well.

All 14 were nominated by students at the Valley Community Learning Association (VCLA) for the quality of their customer service.

Tracy Parker, who is the Labour Essentials and Community Education Coordinator, said front-line staff can provide good experiences or bad. The 14 were recognized for their superior service.

“No matter who you are, we are all people. No activity big or small, private or public is wasted if it makes another person’s life better,” Parker told those assembled.

She said the event was going to be the first annual appreciation of everyday service.

Employer Dax Kurtz, who owns Giant Tiger in New Minas, was on hand to receive the copy of the award that went to each business.

He said he was proud of the customer service Theresa Thompson contributes.

Kathy Bennett, who takes orders at the Tim Horton in Kentville, confessed to total shock at the award. But she did acknowledge that she recognizes voices and remembers customer orders.

Bonnie Lockhart of R.D. Chisholm in Kentville said the family operation was very lucky to have Kathy Spidle on staff.

According to Spidle, the kind of recognition she received was unexpected.

“You don’t think about getting this stuff, so it’s a treat that you would be,” she said.

Parker noted that VCLA staff has talked for years about such awards.

“We decided to put legs to it,” she noted with a smile, “and we did it.”

One of the inspirations for the project was American artist Candy Chang, who created a "Before I Die" wall in New Orleans.

Parker said her goal was “to cause students and others to think of the important things in life. We are spending a great deal of in-class time talking about living a life without regret. This is part of it.” 

One of the hallways at the Kentville VCLA headquarters is now set up as a community bucket list.


The 14 employees honoured recently include:

Janice Barten has been a valued employee at the Independent Grocery in Kentville for 12 years.  It’s a known fact that some customers will wait in line, even if other lines are shorter, just to chat and catch up with her.

Paul Belliveau has been at the Kentville Pharmasave for the last five years as a pharmacist. His nominator said that he is friendly, bubbly, efficient and non-judgemental.

Kathy Bennett has been serving up coffee and smiles at the Kentville Tim Horton’s Drive Thru for over seven years. She knows her customers by name and exactly what they want.

Rhoda Bennett has been working in caretaking with the Nova Scotia Community College, Annapolis Valley Campus for the last four years. Her supervisor says that she stands out. She is always very positive and giving of herself.

Shirley Evans has been at Evans Farm Market in Wilmot even before it existed. Once she owned the farm, now people come to the store specifically because of her.

Debbie Grimwood has worked at the Needs/Irving in Berwick for nine years. She is known for her helpful nature, her pleasant ability to relate to others, compassion, optimism, and a wonderful attitude.

Rowena Landry has been a much-loved volunteer with the Valley Community Learning Association in Kentville and Middleton for some years. Recently she has taken on the facilitation of moccasin-making workshops. She can be found teaching stitches, offering up bits of wisdom and knowledge on diversity and cultural awareness.

Peggy Parker has been working for Avery’s Farm Market in Middleton for three years. Her employer was not surprised Peggy was nominated having had customers frequently comment on her pleasant personality and ability to relate to all who come in.

Neil Schofield is well known in the customer service industry, having worked at Sobey’s for a number of years. He has been working with the Kentville Foodland for just four months. Although quite new to the staff, he is already much loved and greatly appreciated by all.

Joan Spidle, who works at R.D. Chisholm in Kentville is known as honest, reliable, hardworking, thoughtful and pleasant. Her nominator said that Joan consistently goes above and beyond.

Theresa Thompson started working with Giant Tiger in New Minas last September.

She is warm and welcoming to all. It has been said her smile can be seen shining across the store.

Josh Ueffing is a new addition to the Valley Community Learning Association, doing contract work teaching line drawing classes. His encouragement, patience and simplified technique quickly won the hearts of all.

Lorraine Gargaro works at Greenwood Needs and she was nominated because she is always a friendly face and a joy to talk to. She is kind, funny and caring.

Lorraine Ascott of Family & Children’s Services in Kentville is great in her job in communicating with clients and is also a great listener.