Last week as stated in the Government of Saskatchewan release, Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty invested the 2022 recipients into the province's highest honour, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.

The main donor behind the extensive Biggar Revitalization Project, Wayne Brownlee, was one of the inductees at last Wednesday's event after he was announced as part of the list back in June.

"The eight impressive recipients being honoured this evening have each made a difference in the lives of countless people in Saskatchewan," Mirasty said. "I offer my sincere congratulations to these remarkable individuals and thank them for their selfless contributions to our province."

West Central Online got into contact with Biggar-Sask Valley MLA Randy Weekes to talk about Brownlee's achievement, as the longtime Biggar area resident has known the notable benefactor for a number of years. Weekes was in attendance in a work capacity as he talked about the ceremony.

"I am the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, so I was invited to the ceremony. It was quite an honour to be there," he said, "Absolutely he's well known, he and his family of course have donated to many projects. Wanuskewin is one of the more notable ones, and he's on the board and donated their personal money to that, and other enterprises."

Wanuskewin and similar size projects are certainly notable, but the fact that Brownlee was born and raised in Biggar with deep roots in the West Central community is reason enough to believe the Biggar Revitalization Project will be one of his proudest endeavours yet.

"He wanted to commit and give something back to the community, and boy we are sure happy to have his commitment to this big of a project."

According to Weekes, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit is one of the two highest awards that a person can receive in the province. The provincial release states this year's recipients will join the 258 individuals who have previously been invested for their contributions in areas such as art, agriculture, business and industry, community leadership, public service, research and volunteer service. It's well earned according to Weekes.

"Such notable people, and the contributions they have given to the province is just amazing. Wayne spoke, he replied to the toast from the Premier. Of course this award is given out by the Premier, and it's a very notable achievement, and recognition of his outstanding service.

That was some work speak from Weekes, because he was still just as proud as any Biggar resident watching on that day.

"I know him well, we had a group picture. There was the Mayor of Biggar and one of the key organizers from the Town was there as well. It was a great ceremony, absolutely."

SOM RecipientsBrownlee sitting at the top the list of 2022 recipients

Donations along with star power continued to roll in over the summer, as they continue crowd-funding to match the Brownlee's $2.5 contribution. The monetary aspect is one thing, but Weekes gave an update on the visual state of the project in Biggar.

"The whole revitalization plan has been a great one," he said, "The project is well underway, right now there are crews working everyday. They are going to start paving here in a week or two, and they put in new sidewalks and boulevards. They are going to have trees put in, and it's just going to be really impressive when its done. It's taking shape really nice right now."

With the project well on its way, Weekes talked about an upcoming event in the community.

"They are actually going to have a block party on October 14th, and I don't know if it will be totally complete by then, but it will be well on its way. It's really a celebration of the community that really got behind the project," said Weekes of the people who have come together to raise so much money.

"It's a great community project and it's going to look really nice and improve their Main Street."

Nominations are now open for the 2023 Saskatchewan Order of Merit. For more information about the Saskatchewan Order of Merit or to find out how to nominate someone, visit