By MAGGIE M, Editor, Wedgee-in-Chief, the wedge.LIVE ❤️ Share by clicking icons at story’s end.
10- TEN MOST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
This is our final “10 Best of 2017.” We held this segment back until everyone returned from extended Christmas holidays. Below you will find individuals the wedge and this writer have met personally in 2017. We are confident our readers will concur with our choices of some of our most beautiful citizens, also business leaders.
These individuals are in themselves, “tourist attractions.” This writer struggled to keep the list to 10 (in keeping with our theme)–it could easily be three times longer.
1. Ashley Chivers, Merrickville, Portland
Ashley Chivers lives in the sweet village of Portland; but, she owns and operates a dog grooming salon in Merrickville. She is known to everyone in town. When asking for directions to Paws-a-bit, we were met with ebullient smiles and glowing comments from everyone. The salon was not easy to spot off the main road; but, everyone knew precisely where to find her.
A secret admirer said of Chivers, “if you ever saw her around other people or animals, she is the most nurturing and kind person.” Indeed. We spent the better part of two days with Chivers, shooting a comedy–our first. She was patient, trusting and supportive beyond our expectations–and a natural for comedic film.
Customers bring their beloved pooches from great distances to be groomed by this valued expert and animal lover. We will not forget her.
2. Nola Goodman, Westport
If there were earthly angels in our midst, Nola Goodman, would be one. (Consider her name!) This beautiful woman exudes empathy and gentleness we rarely see nowadays.
I was on the brink of collapse when I met her. I had hauled my camera and tripod from location to location on a hot, humid day, resulting in seering back pain (I have a scoliosis). Goodman sensed my condition and pressed me to rest–slow down. Her voice surely is in the low, calming frequencies.
Goodman is also an expert in rocks as Co-Owner, Rox Rock Shop, in the internationally-renown village of Westport. Her husband Ed Hinchey, a lettered Geological Engineer, is always nearby. By osmosis, she has absorbed impressive knowledge about rocks, gems, formations, fossils across the Americas. You could say she is a Museum Guide even though everything from necklaces to a rare piece of rock are for sale. You can get a glimpse from our story.
Everyone must visit this shop-come-museum. Its most precious gem is Nola Goodman.
3. Chris Thompson, Cobden
The moment I met Chris Thompson in person, I liked him–a lot. It seems he has the same effect on everyone around him. He has this gravity-pull, drawing people into his warm, positive, peaceful energy. He is Co-Founder of Whitewater Brewing Co. located in the villages of Cobden and Forrester Falls, Ottawa Valley.
We featured Thompson (and his partner also a Thompson–no relation) in a story. The Whitewater segment wrote itself. He was completely transparent, sharing meaningful experiences. He made me feel as though there was no one else in the room while dozens of employees and customers watched our progress during our time together.
Chris Thompson is a great leader, exuding unusual empathy without partiality. I suspect this is a catalyst to Whitewater’s meteoric success.
4. Dawn Quinn, Smiths Falls
A secret admirer states, “She is the keeper of lost souls. If she doesn’t see somebody for awhile, she’ll go and find him and make sure he is OK.”
I have personally watched Quinn care for people pushed to the margins by the xenophobic among us. Her good deeds are legendary. She seeks no recognition and rarely speaks of her actions. Some of us notice though and report to each other in amazement.
This pint-sized beauty is in her mid 70s, always coiffed to perfection, always gentle and unimposing. During a visit to her vintage shop, Dawn’s Closet, and beauty salon, I witnessed such generosity of spirit toward a young man, my eyes moistened. I could not resist leaning over and giving her a hug.
Remarkably, she is also a long-standing Councillor at City Hall and plans to run again. This woman’s schedule is full; yet, she thinks ceaselessly of the needy. Institutions, the elderly, even funeral homes, call her for help.
The phone rings often for hair appointments in her shop–a time to be valued, heard and loved. Quinn refreshes their coiffes, and their hope.
Shamelessly, without consideration for professionalism, I number among throngs who love Dawn Quinn.
5. David Pelkey, Arnprior
Dave Pelkey is what some would dub a “gentle bear.” I met him for an interview and spent several hours with him–more than planned. It’s easy to serve a person who is patient, respectful and considerate.
As we were engaged in our interview and photography, he continually showed concern for my comfort. This dear man exudes as much integrity and trustworthiness as he displays kindness. I like to watch gifted people and Pelkey has a golden touch with people. He has an endless store of smiles and is a consummate listener.
Pelkey is a relatively new presence in Downtown Arnprior business. He built and founded The Vintage Crate, transitioning from corporate executive to retailer of vintage artifacts. He speaks of how people are emotionally moved by the memories these items bring forward. I am confident, he is their enabler.
Arnprior was kicked-up a notch when Pelkey opened in December 2016.
6. Kathy Botham, Smiths Falls
In 2017, Kathy Botham and I ran into each other at various events covering them for our respective media. We shared the turf with our cameras. She is always kind, respectful and friendly. I am always delighted to bump into her.
Botham is Host of FYI, TV Cogeco. She interviews dignitaries and myriad regional citizens always prepared and with uncommon poise. This apple did not fall far from the tree. Her father, Hal Botham, born in Montreal, was a radio announcer and too, well-loved by viewers and the community.
A secret admirer said, “She’s a beautiful, sweet, sweet person and wants to help promote the community.” So, I have chosen wisely.
7. Dennis Bank, Brockville
I met Dennis Bank late in 2017 for an interview. I soon learned I was sitting with a man of profound integrity and wisdom. I do not say this lightly. This man and any of his works are “bankable.”
Bank is the Author of two books, now writing a third, and an exceptional writer at that. All the while, he runs 1000 Islands Village, a stunning 27 acres estate east of Brockville. He glows about his business partner and beautiful wife, Margaret, “she is the brains.” When he speaks of her, his eyes twinkle–it is so endearing.
The Village is in continuous transformation, increasing in private, retail and corporate tenancy without cease. How he found time to give me a grand tour of over 150,000 square feet and sit down with me for countless hours is a mystery. The 40 employees who are positively engaged by its leadership clearly keep everything moving forward.
An employee shared that Bank noticed she was too short to work at their kitchen counters and accordingly, built a platform so she would not develop a sore back. Such consideration for an employee, without provocation, is remarkable.
8. Seamus Cowan, Westport
Seamus Cowan is the spitting image of my son, chiseled and tall. This is not why he stands out though. He is uncommonly gallant. On one occasion, he carried my camera, opened doors for me, offered me soup… He was patient and focused on my needs all while his considerable business beckoned.
I have heard such rapturous accounts from others. There is distinct joy in the gait of all his staff. I know why.
Cowan is husband to a beautiful woman and father to two little boys. He runs The Cove Inn , Westport, between ball games and diaper changes. Or vice versa. Some evenings he performs on stage, singing and playing instruments.
He first greeted me from The Cove rooftop as he carried out building repairs. I muse, this man is the Swiss Army Knife of Westport. I still have not asked him the question, “What can you not do?”
9. Steve St. Michael, Renfrew
Steve St. Michael is the perfect name for this precious soul. He is a Saint. It seems, when we speak by phone or I visit, he is always looking out for others. He has stopped in the middle of a conversation–on two occasions–to ask someone, “Are you hungry? You can have my sandwich…” I was very touched. This is simply who he is.
When I interviewed St. Michael, in his music store, Mill Music, he was ill with pneumonia–a fact he shared with me only on conclusion–and only after he had performed for me on his guitar. When I arrived he raced to his adjoining home to find me dry clothes and a hair dryer, as I was soaked to the bones from a heavy downpour–to prevent my catching a cold. O! the irony.
I conducted the interview in St. Michael’s pyjama pants, running mascara and mishmash hair. The “Kermie pyjama pants” story made the rounds on the internet in my story: https://thewedge.live/2017/07/31/my-return-to-renfrew-seven-visits-marathon/
10. Jenna Sudds, Kanata North
I met with Jenna Sudds during the worst weather last winter to interview her as Executive Director of Kanata North BIA . On conclusion, she delivered a speech at the Marshes Golf Club to a full, undeterred tech audience. I drove behind three salt trucks for 1.5 hours to arrive alive in Kanata North. She was worth the effort.
Kanata North is the most concentrated location of tech talent and world-class tech businesses in Canada. It is also called, “Technology Park” or off-the-cuff, “Silicon North.” Sudds was its most passionate promoter (not to outdo Sir Terry Matthews.)
Sudds is the image of grace–always. Her positive countenance knows no bounds. She was hit with a stray hockey puck–in the face–at a game last winter; yet, she handled this with remarkable aplomb and brevity.
Today, Sudds is Executive Director of the CIO Strategy Council, a new think-tank in Kanata North wielding considerable influence in the technology sector. She is to many an Ambassador for Canada’s technology industry, here and abroad.
BIA staff spoke tearfully of her departure. In tweets, she reminded all that she is not gone, just in a different location.
Mark my words, Sudds will likely hold a high position in the capital one day. Bright, beautiful and celebrated for her promotion of Kanata North Technology Park. I wait to see her imprint on the new Council.
You can watch her LIVE interview here : https://thewedge.live/2017/02/10/live-interview-jenna-sudds-kanata-north-tech-park/