Community leaders are the people around us who make things happen for everyone’s benefit.
They’re not looking for glory, they often don’t like the spotlight, but if you’ve ever worked beside one you’ve felt the power of their persuasion, depth of their spirit and love of their community.
Our overall Community Leader for 2016 is Raghwa Gopal. He exemplifies the characteristics of a community leader these awards acknowledge: He’s inspiring, committed, patient, caring and humble.
Gopal learned about stepping up when help is needed as a school boy in Fiji. At that time, education was not a privilege everyone could afford, and someone stepped up to pay for him to continue to Grade 7 and beyond.
To this day education and literacy inspire Gopal to give back to his community.
Here are the other honourees for 2016’s Community Leader Awards. They were nominated under 10 categories, listed here alphabetically, by people who know first-hand how much they do because they work beside them in these community pursuits.
Above and Beyond
Top Honoree: Dr. Marianne Morgan
Angela Burrell and Doug Manning
Top Honoree: Norm Robinson
Top Honoree: Mike Gawliuk
Jude Blunt and Peggy Speer
Top Honoree: Makayla Krenzel
Ellie Ennas and Chelsea Lashenko
Top Honoree: Bonnie Wilkie
Rick Euper and Jamie Svendsen
Top Honoree: Gwen Steele
Top Honoree: Jason Picklyk
Service Organization Volunteer
Top Honoree: Norma Frick
Bruce (Butch) Fleet and Beth Jackson
Top Honoree: Sheyanne Smith
Barb Hoy and Michael McFadden
Top Honoree: Kelty Slaney
Kensington Renneberg and Gabriela Rubio.
As with all good things, organizing the Community Leader Awards takes a small army of volunteers.
The sponsors of the various categories are the Kelowna Rockets, Co-Operators / Solve Insurance, Save On Foods, Wilden, YMCA of the Okanagan, United Way of Central and South Okanagan, KGH Foundation, Okanagan College, Gorman Bros, London Drugs, Interior Savings.
The Community Partners which participated as part of the selection committee are URBA, Kelowna Community Resources, Canadian Red Cross, Canadian Mental Health Association, Central Okanagan Food Bank, United Way, YMCA, KGH Foundation, Kelowna Fire Department, Okanagan College Foundation, Central Okanagan Foundation, School District 23, Kelowna Gospel Mission, Braintrust Canada and Okanagan Boys & Girls Club.
The third annual Community Leader Awards ceremony is being held Monday, 5:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning, at 1000 KLO Rd. in Kelowna.