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Valley-based customer service workers recognized

Customer service award recipient Jared Harris is pictured with his nominators, Crystal Baker and Makayla Cousins.
Customer service award recipient Jared Harris is pictured with his nominators, Crystal Baker and Makayla Cousins. - Submitted

ANNAPOLIS VALLEY - The Valley Community Learning Association recently hosted an event to recognize local employees in the customer service field.

Fourteen employees from a variety of occupations - childcare providers, cashiers, servers and receptionists - were presented an award in recognition of their excellence in customer service.
“There are front-line people in all kinds of local occupations that have a huge impact on local businesses in terms of greeting customers; going above and beyond their duties and making customers feel welcome. I don't think it's well-recognized just how important these employees and positions are and we wanted to shine a light on them,” said Tracy Parker, coordinator of the LifeStreams program.

Why was Valley Community Learning Association interested in this initiative? Parker has been co-ordinating employability projects with VCLA, and these kinds of front-line positions may well be the jobs that her learners end up taking.

“We wanted people to see that these jobs have value and that there is value in doing any job well. This was an occasion to celebrate people and their contributions to Valley life, as well as a real learning opportunity for our learners,” said Parker.


Award recipient Sarah MacDonald is photographed with her nominator, Chelsea Russell.
Award recipient Sarah MacDonald is photographed with her nominator, Chelsea Russell.


Tasha Crouse is a current student of VCLA who helped with this year’s organization of the Honouring Employees event.


“The event was amazing! VCLA should continue to host it because there are so many great people out there who deserve to be noticed,” said Crouse.  

Fellow student Oressa Keddy concurred.

“It was a happy day, with tears of joy and happiness...a day Mom and I will remember forever,” she said.

VCLA is an adult education organization operating in Kings and Annapolis counties, offering literacy, GED, English as an Additional Language as well as various employment-focused programming to Valley residents.

Local employer, Russ Sanche of The Portal, had this to say about the recent recognition event: “The people who are doing practical things in the area of first contact in businesses or organizations are usually those who make the experience great for those in the local community. I commend VCLA for recognizing these unsung heroes.”


Award recipient Sarah MacDonald-Keddy is photographed with her daughter, Oressa Keddy.
Award recipient Sarah MacDonald-Keddy is photographed with her daughter, Oressa Keddy.


Customer service award recipients:


Sarah MacDonald started as a Job Developer with CMHA-Kings in October 2015. She is known for her energy and positive attitude. Her ability in community-building is well known. Sarah is very hardworking, and a strong advocate for the role of hands-on, hands-in-the-dirt approach to mental healing and wellness.  Sarah believes, and acts on her beliefs, that we all make better decisions when we are well nourished.  Sarah is also a fierce cheerleader for the need of healthy communities to include and value the contribution of people who have been marginalized.

Brenda Mitchell started with New Minas Children's Centre in June of 2006 as a supply teacher. She had several roles over the years as preschool teacher, toddler teacher and now support teacher. Brenda comes in with a smile on her face and makes it a point to greet all children and co-workers in every program.  Brenda is reliable, flexible and a team player.

Paula Grover works with Beukema & Nelson, Inc. She has been with them for approximately 2.5 years. Paula is known for her positive attitude.  She will often do extra things to help her tenants outside of her normal duties. She is a dependable, reliable, and hardworking employee Paula is a superintendent looking after 98 apartments in several buildings in Wolfville.

Theresa Woolaver just became an official employee of Open Arms on Oct. 30. Theresa always has a positive attitude, and loves meeting customers. Her supervisor constantly hears from their clients that they enjoy going into the store to see Theresa. She is known to be dedicated, to hold a strong work ethic, to be a good communicator and a great listener.

Tara MacCormack has been with the Kentville Paddy’s Brew Pub for 3.5 years. Her supervisor says that the pub receives repeated compliments on Tara – she has a very positive attitude. Her friendly service style and strength in serving is an asset to the company. She is known for her friendliness, confidence, and honesty, as well as for being a team player and a very hard worker.

Pam Coleman has been with Walmart, Greenwood for 5 years. Her nomination came as no surprise to her supervisory staff. She is well known and loved. They stress that they fully realize what a gift she is to them. Her positive attitude is great for morale. She is described by many as having integrity, being reliable and completely honest, and being kind and gentle. She excels in customer service.

Sarah MacDonald Keddy works at the Annapolis Valley First Nations as a Cultural & Heritage Educator. She promotes awareness of her culture and works hard to break down dividing walls and stereotypes. She does everything and anything she can to help people. She is bubbly and personable, and always smiling, even if she is feeling sad herself. She puts the needs of others first and demonstrates kindness and professionalism in her work.

Jackie Bigelow is a bright spot on the NSCC Annapolis Valley Campus and they truly could not have found anyone better for their front lines. Consistently, she has gone above and beyond to make students and guests feel warmly welcomed at this site. Past graduates often return for a visit only to see her smiling face and simply reconnect. She is known for being good at determining needs and redirecting individuals to meet their needs. She is personable, gracious, always puts students first, and makes everyone feel welcome.

Paul Wood has been working for KFC as a cook for the last 2 years. He cleans and successfully maintains his work area and follows all safety policies and procedures. He always goes above and beyond by taking others’ shifts when he is able and cleaning extra at night. He is dependable, a team player, and is known to be a “joy-to-work-with.”

Sam Taylor was nominated for her work at the Valley Rose Flower Shop, Middleton but has recently crossed the street, finding new employment at Loonies & Toonies. When her nominator was asked why she was nominating Sam, the response was prompt: throughout her mom’s funeral preparations Sam truly went above and beyond by offering kindness and compassion during a very difficult time. Sam’s new employer sings her praises as well. They state that Sam is happy, friendly, and always helpful. She greets all her guests with a smile. She is known for being flexible, friendly, and dependable.

Wendy Waldrum works at Roo’s Playhouse in the Greenwood Mall. She has been with them for 25 years. She is a key player in providing a safe and fun play environment for valley children, and keeps all staff, guests and children under her watchful eye. Having been there for so long, she is now watching over children of children who previously laughed and played in this Valley playhouse! She is known to be a positive influence. She greets all customers graciously, and is friendly and caring.

Dallas Murray has been at Foodland Middleton for 2 years. He has always shown a positive attitude and given great customer service. He is a pleasant, friendly cashier and has quickly worked from a cashier position into a cashier supervisor role. Pleasant, sweet, personable, chatty… are all words used to describe this engaging young man.

Audrey Pegg is another Foodland Middleton employee. Audrey has been with Foodland for 2 years as well. Her employer says she gives excellent customer service and is well known to many of their customers. Audrey is a cashier. She has an extensive customer service background; something in which she has always taken pride. She is nice to everyone, and guests are known to wait to be served by her. She is warm, kind and personable.

Jared Harris works at the Portal & Refuge in Kentville. He received a double nomination. He does a great deal of community outreach. He is friendly, always there to talk or listen and a great support for Valley youth. Jared faces challenging situations daily as he reaches out to the youth, and yet maintains a positive and constructive attitude. Jared makes a great impact by being positive while challenging youth to take responsibility for their life. He draws youth and young families into our outreach, encouraging them to make positive changes. He has worked hard to connect with individuals, and through personal and work contacts has tried to make life better for a group that is often forgotten. He is determined, loyal, hard working, compassionate, and empathetic.

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