Hodge: Charity support illustrates caring nature of our residents

I had the pleasure of attending or taking part in a couple of significant community events this past week, and the end result was a solid reminder of why I love living in Kelowna.

I had the pleasure of attending or taking part in a couple of significant community events this past week, and the end result was a solid reminder of why I love living in Kelowna.

On Saturday, Sept. 10,  800 plus area residents visited the 14th annual Okanagan Volunteer Opportunities Fair at the Parkinson Recreation Centre.

More than 70 non-profit or volunteer based organizations had information tables and members at the day-long fair, providing residents a chance to learn more about their organization or cause.

The successful fair featured the popular speed-matching component again this year, a high energy approach that has all the characteristics of speed dating with score sheets and a stopwatch.

“Daters” moved from table to table with a bell sounding every four minutes. It was a lot of fun to watch and clearly connected a number of residents with organizations.

I’ve had the pleasure of sitting on the volunteer fair committee the past two years and they are a positive and effective group of folks led by the amazing Dawn Wilkinson, with Kelowna Community Resources.

A tip of the hat to the committee members and volunteers who, ironically, help other volunteers.

•••

Second on my schedule was the local fire department’s memorial service on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Hundreds of area firefighters and their families took part in the solemn yet inspiring service.

The entire morning was all top shelf with short but passionate presentations and speakers and the appropriate regalia on parade for such a fitting service.

One of the highlights was the unveiling of a truly magnificent sculpture honouring firefighters over the years. If you have yet to see the superb piece of artwork I suggest you stop by the Enterprise Way fire hall and give it a close look.

The statue depicts a young modern day attired firefighter standing on the ground, arms reaching above his head, to accept the handoff of a young girl from a veteran firefighter, attired in firefighter gear from the early 1900s. The older firefighter stands on a ladder.

The effective creation is probably my favourite piece of artwork in the city—and certainly the most inspiring.

The emotional morning reminded me of just how demanding and important a fire department and its members are to a community.

The tragedy of 9/11 will never be forgotten or diminished, yet it helps serve as a terrifying reminder of the sort of risk and dangers that face our emergency personnel—firefighters, ambulance paramedics and police.

I admire the intestinal fortitude and selflessness that is needed to stand the tests of being a fireman.

Thanks to all of you!

•••

Last but certainly not least was this past Tuesday morning’s breakfast kick-off for the United Way Campaign in town.

As usual, the 7 a.m. breakfast event was likewise motivational and enjoyable.

Even the breakfast was yummy, despite the fact I rarely eat that early in the day.

Testimonials by two people assisted by the United Way drove home the reasons why this organization so deservingly needs help.

There are a multitude of wonderful causes in our community that need financial support, but few have as broad and effective an impact as the United Way campaign.

•••

A quick reminder before the end of the page arrives. The seventh annual Night of the Arts concert and silent auction fundraiser is set for the Kelowna Community Theatre on Nov. 26.

Headliners this year include Day Late and A Dollar Short, Robert Fine and the Dreamland Band, Deb Stone, and Cowboy Bob among others.

The beneficiary of your support this year is Metro Centre. For more info contact myself at 250-979-7254.

 

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