MORRISBURG – The best part of waking up isn’t Folger’s in your cup, it’s winning an award before 9 am.

Just ask the six recipients of the inaugural South Dundas Awards of Excellence who were recognized for their success and dedication Wed., Oct. 30 at the Morrisburg Legion.

Those recognized included Ross Video, business of the year; Nick Thurler and Thurler Farms, agricultural leadership; 100 Women Who Care South Dundas, community builder award; Stone Crop Acres Winery and Vineyard, new business award; Barbara Rabideau and the Galop Canal Bluegrass Festival, tourism award; and Cole Veinotte of Jade Transportation, young professional award.

The inaugural Award of Excellence winners were Lori Turnbull (left), Tracey Veinotte, Cole Veinotte, Barbara Rabideau, Marc Gervais, Norene Hyatt-Gervais, David Ross, Lynn Thurler and Robert Thurler.

“Here in South Dundas we have a great community of successful people and businesses. It’s important that we take the time to recognize the people who are working to make South Dundas a vibrant business community,” said Mayor Steven Byvelds.

More than 120 people attended the event, including the newly-elected Conservative MP for Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry, Eric Duncan.

Byvelds spoke briefly outlining the progress of the council in their first year.

“Council has worked hard to first deal with the many issues left over from the previous council and then to tackle what we felt needed to be done to get South Dundas moving forward again,” he said.

The formation of various action committees that addressed tourism, economic development, education and doctor recruitment were pointed to as signs of progress.

Much heavy lifting still lays ahead with Byvelds noting that they will continue to work to “make South Dundas a strong community that all of us can be proud of and hope that our families will continue to want to live, work and play here.”

David Ross, CEO and majority owner of Ross Video, was all smiles after accepting the award for business of the year.

The keynote speaker for the morning was Glenn Vollebregt, president and CEO of St. Lawrence College, and he presented a comprehensive overview of the growth of the educational institution and the continued need to educate, train and retain top-level talent.

Jeff Poapst, senior vice president of manufacturing services with Ross Video, deftly played the role of MC for the event.

Free trees were also given to everyone in attendance as a symbolic gesture.

“[It’s] emblematic of the re-greening that we want to do and the growth we want to encourage in this community,” he said.

The breakfast culminated with the awards presentations, deemed an essential part of fostering growth by Byvelds.

“It’s important that we take the time to recognize the people who are working to make South Dundas a vibrant business community,” he said.

Glenn Vollebregt, president and CEO of St. Lawrence College, was the keynote speaker at the inaugural South Dundas Council Community Breakfast Wed., Oct. 30.

The Morrisburg Legion Ladies Auxiliary gathered for a group photo after preparing a delicious breakfast for more than 120 people.

Breakfast attendees and the free trees on the table. Schoch Photos