St. Stephen Area Chamber of Commerce bestows lifetime achievement award on local businessman

Kailyn Nutt photo St. Stephen businessman Dale Weeks has received a lifetime achievement award from the St. Stephen Area Chamber of Commerce for significant contributions and long-standing service to the chamber. Weeks was chamber president from 2012 to 2014 and is credited with being instrumental in its recent revitalization.

St. Stephen – St. Stephen businessman Dale Weeks has received a lifetime achievement award from the St. Stephen and Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m not done yet. I don’t intend to be,” said Weeks, joking about the lifetime component of the award’s title.

Weeks said the honour was unexpected.

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“I don’t feel I deserve it. Many other people have been long-serving participants in the chamber. I really only kind of jumped in and did a few things, and left.

“I really feel I don’t deserve it, but the chamber felt otherwise. I couldn’t dissuade them to find someone more deserving.”

Rick Coates, the immediate past-president of the chamber, said the award was bestowed upon Weeks in recognition of his significant contributions and long-standing service to the St. Stephen Area Chamber of Commerce. Weeks was the chamber’s president from 2012 to 2014.

“Dale was a prime mover in the renaissance experienced by the St. Stephen Area Chamber of Commerce in recent years,” stated Coates.

“He helped the executive to more effectively engage dynamic individuals with business experience, to define executive roles and responsibilities and to engage the business community and municipal leaders in defining a community development plan.

“The result was a more enthusiastic membership committed to revitalizing the community and improving delivery of service, in addition to enhanced networking opportunities for members.”

Weeks remains humble in light of the praise.

“I tried to convince them there were better people, but they were pretty adamant I had had some impact.”

Weeks said he feels the chamber of commerce can be very important to the overall success of a community’s vitality and growth.

“It depends on whether it wants to take a passive role or more active role in participating in the growth of the community,” said Weeks.

“A chamber has two choices. It can passively sit by and really maybe be more of a social component to the businesses in the community or it can take a more vibrant and active role, and try and push for change and push for growth in a community.”

Weeks said he feels people have the same choices. “You either can passively sit back and wait for things to happen or you can decide the only way things are going to happen is if you get involved and engaged and try and make change.”

He said many times it’s easier “to sit back and hope that somebody from somewhere will do something.”

“It’s only when you realize the somebody is you and the somewhere is here and the something is what you try and make of it – build a vision, build a plan and try and make something out of it.”

Weeks admitted he didn’t like to sit around passively and wait for things to happen.

“I like to try and take hand in fashioning the future, rather than letting the future fashion me or fashion the community.”

One thing of which he is most proud is the change in attitude in the St. Stephen community in recent years.

He said the attitude of “there’s nothing in this town for me, there’s nothing in this town for my kids” is no more.

Weeks said that type of feeling has changed – and changed significantly.

Now, he said, St. Stephen has “a feeling of optimism, rather than one of despair.”

“There are some really good things in this town and, of course, the town is full of good people. You kind of get a little vibrancy in the town, and it will take its own path.”

Weeks was presented with his award at the chamber’s annual general meeting where the new executive was named for the upcoming year.

President is Terry Dempsey; first vice president is Abby Pond; second vice president is Randy Hogge, secretary is Shelley McKeeman, and treasurer is Pam Hanson.

Directors for 2018 are David Archambault, Zoe Fitch, Diane Ganong, Andrew Ludwig, Jeff McShane, Lyndsay McShane, Jason Rideout and Carol Anne Wiebe.