DeHart: Family tradition carries on at popular restaurant

The Truong family started the Mekong Restaurant upstairs beside what is now Earl’s 29 years ago.

Henry Truong

This week’s column is dedicated to a long-time good friend, Russ Light who passed away Jan. 8. I met Russ (Grampa as I called him) when I first came to Kelowna in the early 1970s. He owned and operated the hugely successful Light’s Travel on Bernard Avenue for many years. Miss Max (as he called me) will truly miss her morning coffee buddy. Personal condolences to Russ’s entire family and many friends. His memorial service is Thursday, Jan. 21, 1 p.m,. at Springfield Funeral Home.

Dan and Wanda Truong and Dan’s brother Kit Truong have owned and operated Mekong Restaurant for 29 years.

They originally started Mekong upstairs beside what is now Earl’s (across from the Sails) for 11 years and for the last 18 years have operated out of 1030 Highway 97 next to the Kelowna Inn. Kit has since retired and now Dan and Wanda’s son Henry Truong has relocated from Vancouver to work in the family business. Henry is presently the new kitchen manager. Food and cooking has always been his passion and now he has a great venue to work in. Wynn, Dan’s 92-year-old mother still comes into the restaurant to make won tons. How great is that. Mekong now has 16 staff, including six cooks. Dan and Wanda are looking at retiring sometime in the future now that Henry is here, but not for at least a couple of years, so he can have a slow and steady transition. Mekong is hosting a customer appreciation celebration. From now until January 28, from Monday to Thursday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. they are offering two-for-one entrees. Try the green beans or birds nest which are my favourites. Chinese New Year is Feb. 8 and 2016 is the year of the Monkey. Call 778-760-0507.

Rob Edwardsen is the new branch manager of Scotiabank, main branch, 488 Bernard Ave. Relocating from Vancouver, Rob has been with Scotiabank for over 19 years and started his banking career as a part-time teller in Winnipeg. Call 250-712-4098 (4000) or rob.edwardsen@scotiabank.com.

Brad Sieben, former general manager of the Hotel Eldorado, president of Tourism Kelowna and a city councillor is a new commercial account executive for Capri Insurance at 100 – 1500 Hardy Road. Brad deals with all types of commercial clients and their insurance needs with regard to their businesses and properties. He works extensively with tourism and hospitality businesses based on his background and knowledge of the industry. He will also be focusing on the newest and most dynamic segment of cyber insurance. Call 250-860-2426 (1049) or bsieben@capri.ca.

Congratulations to successful CFE graduates Kyla Stewart, Charles Wilson and Evan Crocker of MNP LLP. Call 250-763-8919.

Ian Gerbrandt has joined the team at the United Way as their new manager of community investment. Ian has over 10 years’ experience in the world of not-for-profit in both B.C. and Manitoba. From the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the United Way Winnipeg, Ian has a strong understanding of the social service component of the community and the need to create collaborative and cohesive service delivery and funding security for the most vulnerable persons. He will engage in everything from funding applications, special projects, emergency funding, collaborative tables and community initiatives. Call 250-860-2356 or ian@unitedwaycso.com.

Wings Restaurant has opened in the Willow Park Shopping Center, #1 – 590 Hwy. 33. Hours are Monday and Tuesday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight. Call 250-762-0710 www.greatwings.ca.

Have a Heart Radiothon sponsored by Bell Media with 12 hours of live on-the-air broadcasting is Thursday, Feb. 11 at Orchard Park Shopping Centre (Pear Entrance). Help them raise funds for vital life-saving equipment for the new Perinatal Unit helping moms and babies at KGH. Drop off your donation on Feb. 11 or at their studios at 435 Bernard Avenue. You may also donate an online auction item. For more information call Natalie at 250-868-4702.

During the winter months, the Rutland Community Market will be located in the Rutland Centennial Hail, 180 Rutland Road N. from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday. To rent a table call 250-575-1064.

Congratulations to Mike Gosselin of the City of Kelowna who was recognized by the Water Environment Federation and the BC Water & Waste Association with the WEF Hatfield Operator Award. This award is presented to operators of wastewater treatment plans for outstanding performance and professionalism.

Regional planning manager, Rafael Villarreal Pacheco of the City of Kelowna was recognized by Mass Transit Magazine as one of their Top 40 under 40. Earlier this year, he also received the Retiring Committee Chair Award from the Transportation Association of Canada for his work on a national paper: Transit planning guidelines for small communities.

Anderson

Due to the growth and overall success of RE/MAX in Western Canada in 2015, the Kelowna based regional head office has made some organizational changes to increase service to its membership. Roy Anderson has been promoted to executive director. He will oversee RE/MAX of Western Canada’s member services, information, technology, events and corporate affairs. Anderson started with RE/MAX 29 years ago as a sales associate, became a franchise owner in New Westminster and joined RE/MAX of Western Canada Regional head office 16 years ago. Chris Jameson has been promoted to senior coordinator, product development and Shawna Witty has been promoted to billing administrator. Two full-time employees have also been added to their team. Carol Hutman is their financial analyst and Jeff Racz has joined the IT department as web services support technician. Elton Ash is the executive vice president of RE/MAX of Western Canada.

Canadian Blood Services on Dilworth Drive is hosting the 2016 Kelowna Hospitality Blood Drive Jan. 1 through Feb. 29. The staff at The Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre is rolling up their sleeves to join the blood drive. They are challenging all other hospitality businesses and staff to rally and sign up their teams until Feb. 29. One in two Canadians are eligible to donate, but only one in six does. Let’s all work together to bring that number up. We all have the power to save lives. Call Gayle Voyer at 250-717-5244 (4841) or 250-979-8053 or gayle.voyer@blood.ca www.blood.ca.

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra (OSO) has a new board of directors for 2016. Congratulations to Tracey Read, president; Roger Tilstra, treasurer, Harriet Rogan and Anne-Marie Kanester.  New to the board are Howard Soon of Andrew Peller (Sandhill Winery) and Suzanne Tining of Penticton who has joined as vice-president. Anna Hunt-Binkley, John Bailey and Leona Baxter have completed their terms. Ginette Williams has stepped down as president but will remain on the board as secretary. Rosemary Thomson is the music director of OSO, which is the third largest professional Symphony Orchestra in BC entertaining in the valley since 1960. www.okanagansymphony.com.

Kudos to the KSS Grade 10 girls’ basketball team on winning the championship game at Little Flower Academy School in Vancouver. It was an amazing weekend for the Owls as they won every game they played to get them to the final.

Jason Troll, president of The Revival Group of Restaurants has lost two more of their restaurants in Kelowna. The Pilgrim & Pearl Oyster Bar as well as Lounge 27 both in the Prestige Inn are now closed. Last December two other Revival Restaurants, The Italian Table and Fleetwood Public House were both closed at the Best Western Inn. The Trolls also owned the Twisted Tomato restaurant on Bernard that succumbed to a fire and has not reopened.

Ungaro

Mike Ungaro has purchased long-time, well-known appliance repair and parts sales business, Dom-Tech Refrigeration & Appliance Repair from his father-in-law Darcy McKinnon. Mike has been with Dom-Tech for the past 10 years. Darcy started Dom-Tech 30 years ago in a small shop on West Avenue. After spending a year at that location he moved to Asher Road in 1987 and now is at 1748 Springfield Road. Darcy will remain working with the company, servicing their larger property owners. Dom-Tech is also a name brand authorized warranty dealership for all major named brand appliances. Call 250-860-7442.

Advocis (The Financial Advisors Association of Canada) Thompson-Okanagan is partnering with Junior Achievement BC (JABC) to speak with local students about how they can make informed decisions about their money. The relationship, starting in 2014, has resulted in numerous Advocis members dedicating time to speaking with Okanagan areas students to give sound advice to help them understand how to make informed decisions about their finances. Local Advocis members and JABC staff recognize that financial independence, home ownership and retirement are increasingly becoming out of reach for each subsequent generation. Through JA programs, Advocis volunteers provide real world training in budgeting, spending, investing and responsible use of credit. For more info or to volunteer contact Chrissy Lwowski at chrissy.lwowski@sunlife.com or Jason Ranchoux at Jason.ranchoux@jabc.org.

Meghan MacDonald, investment advisor with MacDonald Wealth Group at TD Wealth will host a seminar/luncheon on Feb. 12 at noon at the Harvest Golf Club. The topic is A Women’s Perspective Seminar Series, Retirement Planning and Taxation, which is timely as the tax and RRSP season is approaching. RSVP at 250-470-3026 or Megan.macdonald@td.com

Viva Glam Gala is Friday, Jan. 29 at the Laurel Packinghouse. The gala raises awareness and money for the Central Okanagan Hospice Association (COHA) to support the Hospice palliative and bereavement programs. This all-ladies night includes an evening of RCMP pampering, a three-course dinner, live entertainment, silent auction, live auction, raffle prize and lot of fun. Tickets are $100 by call COHA at 250-763-5511 or online at www.hospicecoha.org/events/viva-glam-gala.

Birthdays of the week: Happy 65th Norma Neustaedter (Jan. 20); Dave Russell (Jan. 21); Mark Tompkins (Jan. 21); Sergei Krasnov (Jan. 21); Grace Cameron (Jan. 22); Jason Agostino, Mervyn Motors Body Shop (Jan. 23); Les Campbell (Jan. 23); Jaime Boyle (Jan. 23); Colin Elliott (Jan. 24); Luigi Coccaro (Jan. 24); Ed Kaskiw (Jan. 24); Trish Eddy (Jan. 24); Robert Taylor (Jan. 25): Wayne Evans (Jan. 25); Sharon Shepherd (Jan. 25); Andrew Lipsett (Jan. 25); Bill Sinclair (Jan. 26); Cathy Weibe, Rosebuds (Jan. 26); Orison Wood (Jan. 26).

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