FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — North Peace Ride for the Disabled (NPRD) won the first-ever Non-Profit Award at the City of Fort St. John’s 16th Annual Community Awards on Saturday.
Multiple individuals, groups, and businesses were recognized and honoured for their contributions to the city in four categories: Youth Award, Business Award, Citizen of the Year Award and the inaugural Non-Profit Award.
A list of nominees was released about a week before the 10th Annual ReMax Block Party presented by Moose FM when the award recipients were announced.
Lana Neitz, secretary and fundraising coordinator for NPRD, said she started the day at the Community One-Stop Registration at the mall. They were recruiting volunteers and riders before a replacement crew came in to run the table so they could accept the award.
“It was incredibly enlightening, and there were so many good organizations,” Neitz said.
“It was breathtaking. We were completely dumbfounded. We did not expect to win.”
Neitz said NPRD has provided horseback riding for people with a wide range of special needs for over 30 years.
“It’s great for the rider’s self-esteem, and it’s just very physically and developmentally challenging that have delays or physical disabilities in both children and adults,” Neitz explained.
Jared Braun, executive director for the Fort St. John Salvation Army, won the Citizen of the Year Award.
“I was very humbled and honoured to have been awarded the award,” Braun said.
“I was surprised because I feel there’s a lot of wonderful people in Fort St. John that contribute to our community, give back in very big and significant ways, and so to have been selected is really honouring.”
He said he gets a lot of unique opportunities in his role at the Salvation Army, and he is glad to have done his part.
“It inspires me to continue to do that, and hopefully, it’s an encouragement and an inspiration to others as well, to help Fort St. John be a fantastic community to live and work and play in,” Braun said.
Austin Faulkner, a Bert Ambrose Elementary student, won the Youth Award.
In May, Faulkner donated $2,000 to the School District 60’s breakfast program from his work in cleaning up backyards after the snow melts.
According to his mom, Ashley, he has raised $5,708 for the program since 2020.
Shell Canada Groundbirch won the Business Award for their annual grant programming that helped preserve, protect and enhance the community and support projects in Fort St. John.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to the City of Fort St John for this incredible recognition and to the community, our valued partners, and our stakeholders,” Vanessa Jocko, corporate relations, non-technical risk stakeholder advisor for Shell Canada.
“Your trust and collaboration have been pivotal in driving our organization’s operational growth and impact. It is through strong partnerships and collaborative efforts that we have been able to make a meaningful difference in our industry and beyond.”
Each recipient received a trophy and their name engraved on a plaque placed on a bench in the downtown core.