2022 Spirit of Peachland Civic Award Winners
Mayor and Council announced the winners of the annual Spirit of Peachland Awards on Friday, May 6, 2023 celebrating citizens for outstanding achievements in 2022.
“The annual civic awards is always a wonderful time to get together with many familiar faces and some new ones,” said Mayor Patrick Van Minsel. “It is a chance to recognize and honour the many people who make a difference in our community all year round.”
2022 Awards Recipients:
Citizen of the Year – Shelley Sweeney
Shelley is a wonderful ambassador for our town and her leadership in moving forward is nothing short of miraculous. She is the chair of the Peachland Hub Society – a major undertaking by 10 non-profit organizations in the community. She devotes the entirety of her time and energies to make Peachland a better place. Over the past year, she expertly organized a series of events. As president of Peachland Community Connects, she and her team brought the first annual Mural Festival for our community; they applied for and received $30,000 in grants to hold a weekend of entertainment and multi-cultural events which culminated in three beautiful murals. With the Lions club, she organized events including Divas and Diamonds gala. She planned the first Lobster-on-the-Lake dinner and she even travelled to the East Coast and sourced lobsters herself. She served as a member of multiple boards and committees including Tourism and Economic Development, Peachland Recovery Task Force, Peachland Lions, Peachland Community Connects and all the Committees within the Peachland HUB structure. An incredible leader who manages to juggle all the endless meetings, agendas, minutes, logistics, grant applications and fundraising requirements whist keeping everyone motivated and on track—she can MC an event, lead groups in discussion and negotiation, run all kinds of meetings and she is always on hand to contribute to finding workable solutions for every challenge. She approaches every undertaking with kindness, compassion, and humour, always ensuring that everyone feels like a member of the team.
Youth Citizen of the Year - Megan Avendano Gregory
Megan is an engaged in a variety of activities through her school and in the community. At Mount Boucherie Secondary School, she participated in Dance Club as choreographer and instructor, played on the MBSS Senior Girls Rugby team and was a player on the 2022 Thompson Okanagan Rugby Association Team, and served on the 2022 Grad Council at MBSS. As a member of the MBSS Link Team, she helped plan and implement the orientation of new students entering the school. She was selected to attend the RCMP youth Academy in Vernon as the only Peachland participant and became part of the BC youth Advisory Committee for the RCMP. With the RCMP’s National Youth Leadership Workshop, she works closely with youth in our area and with the RCMP to devise and implement projects to better serve the youth in the community. She participated in the BC Youth Parliament as a first-year member. She balances her time to include school and volunteer work and she always looks to use her talents to help those less fortunate.
Councillors’ Award of Merit – Vince Boyko
This is an annual recognition awarded by Peachland’s Councilors to any person or group making a significant contribution to our community. Vince is always reliable and ready to contribute his technical know-how and problem solving ability across a wide variety of events and activities. He works behind the scenes at Peachland major community celebrations to ensure that sound and lighting are set up and working correctly. He is usually one of the first people to arrive and the last ones to leave. At each Council meeting, he can be found operating the video and audio stream to ensure Peachland residents can stay informed about local politics. He regularly volunteers with the Wellness Centre and Visitor Centre, and this year, he helped the Peachland Little Theatre as their sound engineer. He always has a positive attitude and is ready to lend a helping hand.
Vince was recognized for his work behind the scenes at community events, volunteering his time providing technical expertise to local organizations.
Mayor’s Award of Merit - Graham and Kelley Todd
The Mayor’s Award of Merit is decided by the Mayor and is presented to any person or group making a significant contribution to our community. Together, Graham and Kelley introduced and promoted Peachland to a wide array of people. For many, their campground, Todd’s RV, served as a gateway to Peachland where visitors would spend a week camping by Okanagan Lake, visiting Peachland’s many attractions, and taking in the beauty of the region. They welcomed approximately eleven-thousand guests per season and helped to establish Peachland as a world-class summer destination. They supported and sponsored local Peachland events including the Peachland Beach Run and BEEPS weekly Bat Chats. They contributed over 30 years of service and are part of a legacy of 67 years of local camping.
Pillar of the Community Award - Lynne Herrin
Last year, Peachland lost one of its most dedicated volunteers. A Peachland resident for 37 years and the Citizen of the Year for 2012, Lynne Herrin was involved across the community. She treasured and valued providing service to the community and was a volunteer member with a variety of local organizations including the Peachland Lions Club, Community Arts Council, the HUB Society, Mural Festival, Visitor Centre, Pincushion Quilt Guild, and many committees. She was also the organizer of Peachland’s Canada Day parade and spent countless hours each year to ensure that the day’s event went off without a hitch. Lynne embodied the spirit of volunteerism. She gave freely her time, not for recognition or personal gain, but for the betterment of her community and the people around her.
Excellence in Dedication and Service - Syd Kendrick
Syd is a long time volunteer with the Peachland Wellness Centre who contributed more than 250 hours in 2022. As a member of the PWC’s transportation team, he drives participants to and from hospital or medical appointments, to the grocery store, and on banking trips. He is reliable and will step in to help with last-minute requests. His positive attitude helps put his passengers at ease and he always receives positive reviews that he is very sociable, polite, and a safe driver. He has previously received the 2014 Excellence in Community Accessibility award, demonstrating his long standing commitment to volunteering for his community.
Excellence in Community Accessibility - Sandy MacLeod
As a volunteer transportation driver with the Wellness Centre, Sandy provides exemplary service and is always reliable and available. He helps community members get to their various appointments and even delivers meals to residents who cannot make it to community dinners. He also supports the administrative side of the transportation program by working the PWC front desk where he helps book rides for clients. Above all else, he always strives to get to know the people he is helping.
Excellence in Volunteerism - Gwen Bodnarek
Gwen is an active and dedicated volunteer who has served as a board member in multiple organizations. For 5 years, she has served on the Little Schoolhouse board and filled the executive positions of both Secretary and Treasurer. At the 50+ Centre, she stepped into the time-consuming role of President of the Peachland and District Retirement Society at the time when COVID regulations and restrictions were winding down and activities were ramping up. She managed the Bingo program and helped to maximize rental revenue to leave the Society in a cash positive position. She devoted countless hours volunteering with the HUB society to help with strategic planning and numerous fund-raising efforts. And as an active member of the Friendship Society, she has stepped up to stand-in for various positions when office-holders were on vacation or away sick. Her enthusiasm and involvement is much valued and second to none.
Excellence in Health Promotion - Barrie Hewer
Barrie recognized the need for a Parkinson’s support group in Peachland after the chapter in West Kelowna closed during COVID-19 and did not re-open. He is the creator and facilitator of the Parkinson’s Support Group, “Shaken but not Stirred,” where he helps participants learn to work through the process of Parkinson’s and how to live well with this diagnosis. Every month, he leads at least two 2-hour group sessions and compiles multiple email newsletters for people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers. He contributes countless hours researching, planning, and liaising with community partners to offer the most up-to-date information to best support the group. As someone living with Parkinson’s, he knows only too well the challenges people may face; this— along with his compassionate, caring and kind nature—has made him an invaluable supporter of people with Parkinson’s. He also serves on the Wellness Centre’s board of directors and strongly believes the PWC initiatives will set the standard of community services delivery. Above all else, his commitment to helping others is always first and foremost in his mind.
Excellence in Community Spirit - Madeline Nixon
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She has the enthusiasm and dedication of the energizer bunny and does not loose momentum, focus, or her verve for life. She is committed to making Peachland an inclusive town where everyone feels welcomed and valued, and she is involved in a variety of community organizations. With the Rotary club, she assisted with the Gala, the Halloween Pumpkin Patch, and the Murder Mystery—in which she also acted, directed, and wrote the scripts. As a member of the Recovery Task Force, she helped keep our town engaged and our spirits lifted during the pandemic by spearheading a number of campaigns and events including the Valentines Day Hot Chocolate Drive in, Beach Ave Easter Egg hunt, The Pig Out to support local restaurants, and the Virtual Christmas Gala. She is a founding member of the Peachland Community Connects Society and has been instrumental in engaging with residents and visitors alike both in person and online. She helped to develop policy framework for the Peachland Public Art Policy, organized three International Dinner events at the Peachland Legion, and raised funds for Ukraine. She is an integral member of the Mural Festival committee that lead to the installations of three beautiful murals and a two-day celebration that focussed on family and multi-cultural experiences. With the Peachland HUB, she designed all event posters, lead social media communications, organized a “boot sale” and a Jail ‘n’ Bail event, painted children’s faces at the HUB Night Markets, and crafted numerous decorations and games for the Lobster on the Lake fundraiser.
Unsung Hero – Janice Liebe
Janice is a stalwart supporter of all things good in Peachland. She serves as President of the Trail of the Okanagans Society and has established a realistic timeframe to have this iconic system in place in our lifetime. With the HUB Society, she has been instrumental in scaling hurdles with her architectural expertise and her no-nonsense approach to getting things done and her contributions have saved the society an enormous amount of money and time. She collaborated with the 50+ Centre, the Wellness Centre, the Lions Club, the Foodbank, and the District as well as each displaced organization to ensure all program needs would be met. For the Foodbank’s upcoming relocation, she helped steer them through the transition to 4th Street Place and meeting building code requirements. Her attention to detail, focus on efficiency, sharing of her technical expertise, and overall positive attitude make her an invaluable asset to creating a healthy and sustainable community.
Wedding Anniversary – Brian and Linda Gregory - 50th Anniversary
Freedom of the Municipality – Albert Galpin, 100th Birthday (posthumous)
Lifetime Service Awards - for dedicated service to the community.
Alice Mumm – 15 years of service
Valerie MacGillivary – 15 years of service
Truda Kennedy – 30 years of service
Graham and Kelly Todd – 30 years of service