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EDITORIAL: Best of Cochrane a testament to the small big town

This week we are celebrating the best and brightest in our Town with The Cochrane Eagle’s Best of Cochrane awards.

This week we are celebrating the best and brightest in our Town with The Cochrane Eagle’s Best of Cochrane awards.

In what has been a difficult year, it is exciting to see our readers vote on their favourite things, while showing what makes Cochrane the best big small town to live in.

The awards receive thousands of votes and it speaks to the tight-knit community that almost every business in Cochrane received nominations— Even if they did not receive a gold, silver or bronze award.

COVID-19 has cemented the idea that there is a feeling in Town that is often described as “Cochrane Strong.”

Best Volunteer winner Paul Singh put it best describing the innovative ways the community has found to stay connected during the pandemic.

He praised groups like the Cochrane Jeepers wishing children happy birthdays, community groups rallying together to ensure people have the necessities they need and people embracing new ways to connect with seniors to illustrate the strong sense of volunteerism in the community.

“People find innovative ways to contribute in volunteering,” Singh said. “One way or another we’ll find a way to help each other.”

Our local businesses have been hit especially hard by the virus, and many were pivoting and adapting to survive when the economy came to a grinding halt in late March.

Nikos Kontogiannis owner and chef of My Greek Plate, voted Best Restaurant in Cochrane, described the feeling of fear both he and his customers faced when the virus arrived in Alberta.

When the restaurant shut down due to COVID-19 public health regulations, Kontogiannis was left with a fridge full of meat and vegetables— But, no customers to serve.

Rather than give into despair, Kontogiannis overcame adversity and cooked everything he could to share with his friends and neighbours.

My Greek Plate remains committed to moving forward, Kontogiannis said, because he has never been one to surrender when facing adversity.

“We try our best, it was difficult, but now I think there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Kontogiannis said. “I hope everybody is happy, healthy and can enjoy our food.”

Kontogiannis' actions demonstrate what makes Cochrane great— The philosophy that even in the darkest of times we can take steps to ensure none of our neighbours are left behind.

The 2020 Best of Cochrane awards are historic moments and captures what mattered most to Cochranites during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week take time to thank your friends, family and neighbours for the important role they play in your life and the community.

Congratulations to all Best of Cochrane nominees and winners— The place you hold in our community is important and has not been forgotten during the COVID-19 pandemic.

United we remain Cochrane Strong.