Little Current chef honoured as Jones Soda hero

Little Current’s Cody Crawford is adorning a limited run of 50,000 Jones Soda green apple flavour bottles across Canada in honour of his work on the front lines as a chef at Elliott’s Restaurant.

LITTLE CURRENT – Across the globe thousands of essential workers have been honoured and lauded for their contributions to our collective well-being, but these most difficult of times have provided an opportunity for many “Unsung Heroes” to step up and make a difference. Jones Soda, a major soda pop producer in the US and Canada decided to do something to honour those who have taken extraordinary steps to help others during this most difficult of years.

The company is featuring the photographs of various people or groups who fit that bill, distributing a half-million bottles of Jones Soda with those photos on the label to stores across the US and Canada. Little Current’s Cody Crawford, the chef and restaurant manager at Elliott’s Restaurant, will be featured on 50,000 of those green apple-flavour soda labels as one of those outstanding individuals.

He joins the ranks of other unsung heroes, including a small California restaurant that provided hundreds of meals to the 2020 Glass Fire evacuees and first responders, a firefighter at the Skyxe Saskatoon International Airport and a nonprofit organization that has delivered 55-gallon barrels of clean, potable drinking water to remote areas of the Navajo Nation since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“It was awesome,” admitted Mr. Crawford, who paused in his busy schedule to chat with The Expositor about the experience. “It was pretty crazy for a while there,” he said of his new-found notoriety. “Things have settled down a bit now, and that’s okay,” he added with a grin.

Mr. Crawford explained that he had nothing to do with the process of being selected for the honour. “It was all Taylor,” he laughed, noting that his wife was the one who navigated the process.

Mr. Crawford is the father of two young children and, like many young parents, the COVID-19 pandemic upended things rather dramatically. “We had just bought a house,” he said, “literally just days before the first lockdown hit.”

His wife wound up being laid off during that lockdown and like thousands of other young families across the globe, Mr. Crawford found himself redoubling efforts to keep the family ship afloat.

“Yeah, it’s been a bit tough, but what are you going to do?” he said with a shrug. “I have always been a bit of a happy go lucky kind of guy.” So he just did what had to be done.

“I have been really lucky,” he said. “Jodie (Shmanka) and Jason (Elliott) (owners of Elliott’s Restaurant) have been very supportive and let me work all the hours that I can.”

That work now involves a host of expanded duties, including washing dishes, cooking, cleaning and serving customers.

The first lockdown of the pandemic was very hard on restaurants, with thousands permanently closing their doors, but thanks to community support Elliott’s has managed to stay the course. The second lockdown has proven to be even more challenging.

“To honor Cody and to bring awareness of the daily grind restaurant workers are going through, Jones Soda will be placing a photo Cody on 50,000 of their soda bottles throughout the country,” noted Jones Soda spokesperson Jim Capalbo. “This is part of Jones Soda’s Unsung Heroes campaign, honoring those who may not be labeled as an essential worker, but have gone above and beyond without recognition.”

In addition to that effort, Mr. Capalbo explained that consumers can use the Jones Soda custom label program to order their own personalized bottles spotlighting the unsung heroes in their lives, complete with the Unsung Heroes logo and the uploaded photo of their choice. They also can nominate their personal unsung hero by submitting a photo to the Jones photo gallery for possible inclusion on a future Jones bottle.

The Expositor applauds Mr. Crawford and all of unsung heroes in our lives for the efforts they make in order to see us all through these most trying of times. Many of our local heroes can be found highlighted each week on Page 3 of this paper in the I’m Your Neighbour column. If there is a positive note to be found in the ongoing challenges of the pandemic it is a renewed appreciation of those local businesses and their employees who provide the goods and services we need.