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Kuhl; Barry; Grub Box honored with annual awards


The Pas and area honored this year’s Citizen, Business and Educator of the Year on Saturday afternoon; the latest enshrining of the best the district has to offer in an annual tradition offered by The Pas & District Chamber of Commerce (TPDCC).
This year’s winners were Jodie Kuhl as Citizen of the Year, The Grub Box as the Business of the Year and Pat Barry as the Educator of the Year.
In past years the awards have been handed out in an evening banquet however this year TPDCC moved the event to the afternoon in a slightly less formal setting in an effort to cut costs and increase participation and the event was attended by approximately 60 people, including Town of The Pas Mayor Jim Scott and The Pas MLA Amanda Lathlin.
Barry was honored first on the evening and was praised for his involvement with students by nominator Robin Sinclair. TPDCC offers three awards however one of those awards has a different category every year and this year it was the Educator of the Year.
“I’m happy to see they recognize the important role education and educators have,” said Barry after the award was given.
Barry’s nomination was submitted by Sinclair, however it was accompanied by numerous letters of support from students at Scott Bateman Middle School where Barry works, including from several students who haven’t even reached grade 8, the grade Barry teaches. Rather they hoped to have Barry as a teacher and Sinclair noted that even students are still submitting letters of support for Barry despite the fact he has already won the award.
Scott, himself a repeat President for TPDCC in the past, noted the Business of the Year award came into place in large part because Grub Box founder Gary Morrish refused to accept a Citizen of the Year award several years ago. In a way to get around this, the decision was made to create the Business of the Year award in 2007 and award it to the Grub Box in order to honor Morrish.
While Morrish no longer manages The Grub Box it is still a family owned store, with son Bruce and daughter-in-law Barb now running the business.
“This Morrish name keeps hanging around this event,” said Scott, noting the first ever Citizen of the Year was actually Gary Morrish’s father Clarence Morrish and that Gary Morrish is a lifetime member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Bruce and Barb Morrish accepted the award and Barb spoke of her thanks for being this years’ recipient.
“We appreciate the recognition and are very honored. We are grateful for the opportunities to contribute to and be part of our community and hope that we can continue to do so,” said Barb. “Having said that, we now have to say it’s not all about us. Our employees contribute so much to the store, to our community and to our customers. It is the staff, each and every one of them, that deserves this award as they are who made The Grub Box the Business of the Year.”
The grub Box has long been a staple of community-minded excellence in The Pas and area, perhaps most well-known for their charity numbers they give to numerous organizations in the community. A list that is dozens long, any customer can come in and give a charity number when purchasing their groceries and have a percentage of that order donated by The Grub box to the charity of their choice. The Grub Box donates thousands of dollars annually into the community through those charity numbers.
The Citizen of the Year award was saved for last and Kuhl spoke praise for those who support her noting she may be Citizen of the Year but it comes about from a great group of friends and family who support her.
“Every aspect of my life I have support,” said Kuhl. “I have friends who aren’t really friends, they are family.”
”Everything I do, I do with a team,” she added.
Kuhl also implored people to help make The Pas a better place and said in doing so you may find you not only like it but could also come away with a new group of friends and a different outlook on life.
“Get involved, help out. You may meet a bunch of crazy people who are having a great time,” she said, “and you may find yourself helping out at the next event.”
Kuhl likely will be as the list of efforts she has made on behalf of building a better The Pas is extensive. She has been a member of the Trappers’ Festival executive for seven years, served as a karate instructor with Midwest Karate for over 10 years, has volunteered with Operation Red Nose and is perhaps best known in recent years for her time spent helping at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #19 where Kuhl is on the decorating committee and is the bar manager.
Kuhl has also done numerous other events and activities in her life, including welcoming a child into her home that is a friend of her own son, doing so without financial assistance and making ends meet as a single parent, a fact that when brought up also brought forth many tears in the crowd.
It all played into Kuhl receiving the Citizen of the Year award.
“Over the past two weeks I’ve had people I don’t even know stopping and hugging me and saying it was well deserved,” said Kuhl.
The Citizen and Business of the Year awards are done in the fall annually by TPDCC with a third award -this year’s Educator of the Year- also presented in a different field annually. Nominations are open to the public.

Trent Allen