Cannan: Honouring the volunteer spirit

Often in my past columns, I have talked about the value and important role volunteers play in our community.

Often in my past columns, I have talked about the value and important role volunteers play in our community.

So I was very saddened to hear that one of those special people, Stew Tuningley of West Kelowna, lost his life while volunteering with the Westbank Lioness and Lions Clubs.

It is an unspeakable tragedy, a terrible loss for his family and friends and a loss for the community.

What would our communities do without the Stew Tuningleys of this world? Week after week, year after year, they are out in the community doing what they can to make it a better place for the rest of us without any expectation of recognition.

These are the folks who lead fundraising events or spearhead new initiatives to tackle local challenges.

They are the key to the success of our communities and every day their contributions help make Canada stronger by making a difference and inspiring hope.

The Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards is a new program that has been created to celebrate these contributions. These awards highlight best practices in community leadership and encourage partnerships across sectors.

A total of 17 awards will be given—15 regional and two national awards.

Recipients will be eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a grant for $5,000 (regional awards) or $10,000 (national awards).

Regional awards include three categories:

• Community Leader Award

• Business Leader Award

• Social Innovator Award.

There will be two national awards:

• Emerging Leader Award

• Lifelong Achievement Award.

The first call for nominations is open from July 12 to Sept. 9. Award recipients will be recognized at an award ceremony to be held in early 2012.

In honour of Stew, I’d like to encourage as many of you as possible to nominate a volunteer or volunteer organization, a business or a not-for–profit organization to receive this award.

Better yet, I’d like to encourage as many of you to attend this year’s Okanagan Volunteer Opportunities Fair on Saturday, Sept. 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, at the Parkinson Recreation Centre.

I’ll be there at the opening ceremonies and hope that the passion so many of us shares for volunteering inspires you to get involved.

While Stew may not be here to join us, it would be a fitting legacy to him to see more citizens inspired to volunteer in our community.

To learn more about the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards, I encourage you to visit or call 1-877-825-0434.

For more information on the Okanagan Volunteers Opportunities Fair, please go to or contact Dawn Wilkinson, coordinator community information for the Volunteer Centre, at 250-763-8008, ext. 24, or email

As always, if you have any questions or comments on matters relating to the federal government, don’t hesitate to contact me at or arrange an appointment to meet at my office.

Ron Cannan is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.



Kelowna Capital News