The 12th annual Women of Today awards were another success. The Quota International Club and the Lions Club of Estevan partnered to bring the event to life, which took place on April 28 at the Days Inn Plaza.
The four awards encompassed women of all walks of life with one thing in common - their selflessness and ability to give back to the community in which they live.
The Ida Petterson Memorial Award for Outstanding Entrepreneur is named for one of Estevan's most prominent business women and first female mayor. It is presented to an outstanding woman entrepreneur. This year's winner, Heather Pyra, owns Ribling Family Farm with her husband Jeff. She raises registered quarter horses and other animals and maintains a direct seed operation. She is also the acting assistant manager at the SaskPower Shand Greenhouse. Pyra volunteers with the Special Olympics, music festival, and Life Skills classes at Estevan Comprehensive School.
"This award means a lot of things," said Pyra. "It's something that recognizes, to me, family contribution, as well as recognizing women on the farm."
The award was presented by Ida Petterson's first granddaughter, Shelley Ross.
The SaskPower Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Workplace is presented to a woman who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make the workplace a better, more productive place. The recipient, Shawna Irwin, is the supervisor of Accounting and Business Services with Enbridge Pipelines. She oversees a group of 10 individuals and knows the role and duties of each. She has found a way to balance demanding hours of work with the equally demanding schedule of a wife, hockey mom and volunteer.
"It means a lot. It's an honour to have been nominated. Just knowing that I made a difference somehow, whether it's to inspire someone or to do something, it means a lot," Irwin said. "It's pretty cool."
The plaque was given by manager of SaskPower Tim Schutzer.
The Shirley Orsted Memorial Award for Young Women of Today is named after the founder of the Quota International of Estevan. The award honours a young woman between the ages of 15 and 20 who demonstrates the capacity of leadership and makes a significant contribution to the life of the community. Blair Wrubleski was the 2010 winner. She attends ECS and balances schoolwork with Shout, SADD, ECS Band, ECS Radio Show, and the Drama Club. She also sings with the Estevan Acappella group and performs for Telemiracle, Bethlehem Live and the United Way. Wrubleski is co-chairing the entertainment committee for the relay for life. She plans to attend the University of Regina to pursue a degree in film and video editing.
"To me, winning this award is such an honour. Just to be up against three other young women who are so great [is an honour]. Hopefully it will help me to benefit the community in the future," said Wrubleski.
The award was presented by Shirley Orsted's first granddaughter, Michelle Orsted.
The SaskTel Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community is given to a woman who has made a significant contribution to improving the lives of the citizens of Estevan and surrounding area. This year's winner, Maxine Hedin, has held the position of Victim Services Co-ordinator with Envision Counselling and Support Centre since 1988. She has served as a director for the United Way, has been a member of the Emergency Social Services team, and donates her time as a member of Estevan Diversified Services.
"I'm overwhelmed. I can't believe it," said Hedin. "I feel very humbled and very very proud."
The award was given by Donna Frank on behalf of SaskTel.
Each of the award winners acknowledged the support and assistance of their family, friends and co-workers in being able to do the outstanding things they do for the community and for others.
The awards ceremony was MC'ed by Sylvia Gorchinski.
Guest speaker Dr. Di Naidu spoke about the importance of the choices everyone makes in their daily lives. She discussed how the choices she has made in her life led her from her hometown in South Africa to practicing in Estevan for the past 18 years.
Nadu has 14 years of post-secondary schooling behind her, and a double degree in obstetrics and anesthesiology.
"We need to not accept just okay," said Naidu. "Being good is just the enemy of being great."
And no doubt each of the "Women of Today" not only realizes this, but strives to incorporate it into their daily lives.