Here are the Peachlanders recognized during tonight’s Civic Awards (in the Zoom squares!)

“The annual Civic Awards is always a wonderful way to recognize and honour the many people who make a difference in our community,” said Mayor Fortin, who kicked off tonight’s council meeting by using a festive background for the presentation.

“Peachlanders dedicate so much time and energy volunteering to help make Peachland a better place to be.  While we can only recognize just a few individuals, the collective unselfishness of all community volunteers is the true beauty of this town we call home.”

The District’s Cheryl Wiebe sent along the following words and pictures. Thanks!

 

Celebrating their 50th Anniversary:

Anne and Rhyse Rogers, who celebrated December 18, 2020

 

Excellence in Community Spirit: Shelley Sweeney

Shelley Sweeney is a tireless member of many local groups:  Tourism and Economic Development Committee, Peachland Community Arts Council, Peachland Community Connects Society, Peachland Recovery Task Force, and Peachland Lions Club.  She also serves as the liaison to the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.  Shelley did not let COVID-19 limit the spirit of Peachland.  Through the Peachland Recovery Task Force, she actively participated in organizing the 2020 Movie in the Park nights and the Light-up Virtual Gala which helped create community and spirit in Peachland.

 

Excellence in Volunteerism: Sharon McPhee

Sharon McPhee is a long-serving member on the Peachland Community Arts Council.  She has also been active in the Peachland and District Retirement Society, was chair of the Peachland Little Schoolhouse Society for 12 years and was instrumental in the Summer Arts Program at the Little Schoolhouse.  Sharon has been a dedicated advocate of the arts in our community and a long-time volunteer. 

 

Excellence in Health and Wellness: Dorothy Cobb

Dorothy Cobb has been a volunteer for the Peachland Wellness Centre’s Bereavement Support Group since 2014.  She provides a supportive, compassionate and understanding environment to allow people to work through the process of grieving.  During COVID-19, Dorothy continued supporting the group with meetings outside or over the phone.  Not only does she volunteer weekly to facilitate the meetings, but she also goes out of her way to make everyone feel special.

 

Excellence in Leadership: Kym Martin

Kym Martin is the current president of the Peachland Wellness Centre (PWC).  She is a compassionate, funny and honest team leader.  Kym is a passionate advocate for mental health and volunteers her time supporting the implementation of legislation and increased services for individuals and communities struggling with mental health challenges.  Kym leads with inclusion and recognition of all the volunteers’ efforts.  Particularly during COVID-19, Kym’s leadership has allowed PWC to grow, adapt and ensure there is a stable future for the organization. 

 

Excellence in Environment and Conservation: Peachland Fire and Rescue Brigade

The Peachland Fire and Rescue Brigade has a team of 35 volunteers dedicated to citizen safety.  In addition to this core duty, the Brigade also participates in environmental conservation practices.  Their Fire Smart program has removed 22 tonnes of fire hazard material from local neighbourhoods and they annually host a Christmas tree chipping fundraiser.  The Brigade also works actively with Bat Education & Ecological Protection Society (BEEPS) assisting with habitat protection programs. 

 

Excellence in Youth Development: Maureen Carey-Barkley

Over two decades ago, Maureen Carey-Barkley founded the Peachland Girl Guide unit bringing one of the world’s leading organizations in youth engagement and development to a local platform.  She has shaped the lives of so many girls in our community, continually offering kindness, mentorship, education and support.  Maureen’s selfless contributions have left a lasting impact on our next generation of young women.

 

Unsung Hero: Heidi Slyngbom

Upon moving to Peachland, Heidi Slyngbom quickly integrated herself in the community participating in numerous groups (BEEPS, Peachland Wellness Centre, Peachland Little Schoolhouse Society, Peachland Recovery Task Force, and Peachland and District Retirement Society).  As current President of BEEPS, she has steered the organization, in conjunction with local, regional, provincial and national organizations, to protect and nurture the resident colony of endangered bats.  In 2020, she could be found with her summer students at the Sunday Farmers Market counting visitors, offering sanitizer and assisting the market to ensure COVID-19 protocols were followed.  Heidi has contributed a formidable number of hours, tirelessly volunteering for the betterment of our community.  Found behind the scenes, Heidi has been awarded the 2020 Unsung Hero Award.

 

Green Citizen of the Year: Bargain Bin

The Bargain Bin and its many volunteers significantly contribute to the reduction of waste in our environment through the resale of donated items.  Any items not suitable for resale are recycled or gifted for reuse.  The Bargain Bin also supports various other community organizations such as the SPCA, Penticton Mental Health, Shoe Bank of Canada, Kelowna Women’s Shelter and Vancouver’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as well as sending eyeglasses to Africa.  After the 2017 flood, Bargain Bin upgraded its space to include more efficient heating/cooling systems, increased insulation and effective lighting to increase its energy efficiency.  The Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Change has recognized the Bargain Bin with the 2020 Green Citizen of the Year for their contributions to protecting our environment.

 

Councillors’ Award of Merit:  Peachland Recovery Task Force

The Peachland Recovery Task Force is a diverse committee that was established to take collective steps to help the people and businesses of Peachland deal with the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Initially with representation from the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Economic Development Committee, District of Peachland, Peachland Visitor Centre, Rotary Club of Peachland, Peachland Lions Club, Peachland Wellness Centre, Peachland Community Arts Council, BEEPS, Peachland Legion and VantageOne Credit Union, this committee demonstrates the power of working together.  Since inception in April 2020, the committee has grown to include representation from many other local groups.  This collaborative coordinated many unique opportunities to support local businesses and non-profits and generate community spirit.  Some projects to date include:

  • Collaborated with Fresh Air Cinema for two Movie in the Park nights; 
  • Established the Light-Up Virtual Gala and silent auction; and
  • Initiated COVID-19-friendly events for 2021 including the Hot Chocolate Drive-Thru, Pig Out for Prizes, the self-guided Easter Egg Walk and more!

Council has recognized the significant contributions of this collaborative and as such award the Peachland Recovery Task Force the Councillors’ Award of Merit.

 

Mayor’s Award of Merit: Kristen Friesen

When Kristen Friesen first came to Peachland, she had left a newspaper industry that was changing and pivoting.  After a brief stint at the Peachland View, Kristen was determined to be creative and follow a different path than mainstream media.  As a local entrepreneur, Kristen focused on providing a unique mode of journalism for Peachlanders – a subscription-based online news platform – the Phoenix.  For Kristen, the Phoenix represents something new – rising from the ashes.  You can find Kristen at most local events, dedicated to help community groups get the word out.  Kristen is also committed to providing business profiles to help Peachlanders get to know local entrepreneurs.  For her unique approach to media and community connection, Mayor Fortin has awarded Kristen the Mayor’s Award of Merit.

 

Youth Citizen of the Year: Lilian Avendano-Gregory

Lilian Avendano-Gregory

Lilian Avendano-Gregory is an amazing young leader who genuinely wants to help people and make her community a better place to be.  She became a Peachland Ambassador in 2019 – a role that she has continued through 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic.  She is also a member of BC Youth Parliament and is active in her role as Minister of New Member Relations and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Interior.  Lilian participated as a member of Regional Youth Parliament and, as a graduating student at Mount Boucherie Secondary School, she also participates on the Grad Council.  In spite of the challenges of COVID-19, Lilian is determined to make graduation special for all.  Lilian is an inspiring young lady and has been recognized as the 2020 Youth Citizen of the Year.

 

Citizen of the Year: Rick Ingram

Rick Ingram

Rick Ingram is an entrepreneur who has dedicated himself to understanding climate science and advocating for the mitigation of climate change.  In Peachland, he is an active member of the Tourism and Economic Development Committee (previously the Peachland Economic Development Committee), Trail of the Okanagans Society, Peachland Wellness Centre and Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Change.  A hands-on leader, at the onset of COVID-19, Rick immediately got involved with the Peachland Recovery Task Force to ensure a plan for a sustainable economy post-pandemic.  Specifically, in 2020, he proactively involved himself in generating community enthusiasm through the Movie in the Park nights and the Light-up Virtual Gala. Rick and his wife Janice also were the leads in a Fire Smart initiative in their neighbourhood.  For his steadfast contributions during a world pandemic, Rick has been awarded the 2020 Citizen of the Year.

 

Congrats, everyone! Yeah, kind of awkward to have myself included here, wasn’t sure how to present that info, lol. Very honoured to be included in this group of Peachlanders! Our town has some pretty amazing people.

Kristen

Written by Kristen Friesen

May 11, 2021

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