Kent_RupertEvery once in a while in a community you will get business owners or leaders who will make a difference, not only to their organizations but to the community and to all the lives that they have touched.

In the last few months we lost two of these great Airdrie leaders, John Stringle and Dick Buchanan. Both of these gentlemen will be known for many different things they have contributed to Airdrie and the people in it. The Airdrie business community and I will feel the loss.

Many of you may have known John as the manager of the TD Bank for many years and a regular throughout our business community. Dick had been the owner of Air-Alta Insurance and was instrumental in starting Airdrie’s first Chamber of Commerce, along with helping the community get its first ambulance.

Both men spent selfless hours giving back and mentoring staff and clients, because of the strong relationships they had built. Over the years, I had the opportunity to spend many hours over many cups of coffee talking to both men about what they loved doing, why they thought it was important to give back and the importance of passing on to others what you know and have learned.

Airdrie has a fantastic business community and you continuously hear how local business owners will help each other. The vibrancy and growth of our community also allows for them to get involved in many ways, whether it is in supporting local business clubs, our growing arts community, sporting clubs or youth organizations. If you ask any of our business leaders why they get involved, almost all of them will say: “Because it is the right thing to do.”

In 2014 we saw many new local leaders step up and support a ‘made in Airdrie, for Airdrie’ entrepreneurial program called SMARTstart. This program took 19 new entrepreneurs through an online training program that taught them how to start and build a business. It was exciting to see these entrepreneurs finish the program, but also inspiring was how 16 successful Airdrie business leaders stepped up and offered their time and years of knowledge to help these individual entrepreneurs move a step closer to becoming successful in their own businesses.

So as we not only recognize those great business leaders who are no longer with us but also appreciate those who continuously give back to make Airdrie a better place to live and work, I challenge you to ask yourself what you are doing to make Airdrie a better place. We all have something to share and to give back to this great community we call home.

Whether you are a business owner or resident, think of those you have respected and admired most over the years and why you admired them. Both John and Dick gave so much to this community, and for that I would like to say thank you.

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