It’s not often Grand Bend attracts attention on a national stage. Last summer, the country watched Grand Bend and Mt. Carmel for a horrible reason: the murders of Bill and Helene Regier. Friday night, my work covering their murders for the Grand Bend Strip was honoured nationally when I received the Canadian Community Newspapers Association Award for Outstanding Reporter Initiative. I took the stage with event host Ralph Benmergui and thanked my mom, Angela, and the Regier family. Here’s what the judges had to say: “There were many stellar entries in this category this year. The writing was absolutely superb and the initiative shown by reporters across the country is fantastic. “This award goes to those reporters who went beyond normal reporting to give their readers something that was important, relevant, and compelling. “First place: Casey Lessard of the Grand Bend Strip. Faced with murder story that was breaking nationally, Casey decided to tell the story of the victims through the eyes of the friends and neighbours who knew them. Through a series of one-on-one interviews presented in the newspaper in a Q&A format, Casey presented a poignant and fitting tribute to the murdered couple.” Thank you to the Regier family, and to the people who opened their hearts to tell their memories of Bill and Helene. This award honours your stories.