Investing in and supporting the arts and culture of the First Nations, especially those of the Ko’moks First Nation, is the mission of I HOS Gallery in Courtenay. It has been a Vancouver Island destination since its doors opened in 1995. I HOS, staffed by Ko’moks First Nation Band members, showcases Aboriginal culture such as masks, prints, carvings, clothing and books, at a wide range of prices. TheGallery is an integral part of the community and hosts many events including National Aboriginal Day and the I HOS Arts Festival.
Every community needs a Helen Boyd, that is, someone who can see solutions to community challenges. As a nurse and counselor, Helen Boyd addressed the health and support issues for the homeless in the Comox Valley. Her unique solution is called “Care-A-Van”… it is an RV outfitted as a clinic that follows a regular route around the region providing confidential and respectful care to those who are without addresses and telephones. The van provides services such as medical and dental care, psychotherapy, pharmacy and optometry, all under the auspices of the Comox Bay Care Society. Helen demonstrates the power of one individual to make her community a better place.
An extraordinary and longtime community volunteer, Phyllis MacPherson is responsible for the Lake Country Food Bank that now serves 8,400 people annually. Phyllis fundraises and coordinates this community resource, ensuring that the Food bank is always staffed and provisioned. Phyllis is also an active member of the Lake Country Seniors’ Club, Wheels to Meals and the Art Walk.
Community leader Sing Lim Yeo is an outstanding example of a volunteer who cares deeply for his community. He is a philanthropist and skilled fundraiser, he supports cultural and educational events and he strives to bring cultures together. Among his community involvements, Sing is on the board of the Tapestry Foundation for Healthcare and the SUCCESS Foundation and is vice-chair of the Chinese Cultural Centre and the St. John’s Ambulance Richmond Branch. He also served on the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board and the Chinese New Year Parade and the SUCCESS Walk with the Dragon. Sing is ever present with his enthusiasm, energy, initiatives and leadership.
LHI Tutl’it Services is led by George Lacerte, a member of the Nadleh Whut’en Band. Through George’s leadership, LHI has become a major resource management company since it partnered with Stephen Bros. Contracting and TDB Consulting in 2008. It has grown in size, stability and capacity. LHI has developed a model of working with other bands to create opportunities for their members’ employment and to build up the local work force. Today, LHI provides the finance, bonding and equipment to carry out specialized mechanical work. It offers innovative techniques, safe work procedures and quality assurance in all the projects it undertake.
Mel Coulson settled in Quick, a rural community of the Bulkley Valley over thirty years ago. A retired civil engineer, Mel has lent his expertise and leadership to the renovation and preservation of historic buildings such as the Round Lake Hall, the old church building, and Camp Caledonia – all projects that have greatly enhanced the quality of life for residents of his community and are legacies for the future. Mel also brings his quiet determination and tenacity to environmental stewardship and awareness through his work with young people, the Bulkely Valley Naturalists and the Outdoor Recreation Society.
Amrit Maharaj embodies what it means to be a valued volunteer – he gives of himself completely, never expecting anything in return. Amrit volunteers at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver where he is a family support volunteer and a mentor to other volunteers. With humour, compassion and empathy, Amrit offers assistance wherever asked – often in circumstances that are extremely difficult. Among his other volunteer activities, Amrit has worked at fundraising events throughout the city, the UBC Meal Exchange, Habitat for Humanity and the Greater Vancouver Foodbank. Amrit has also been known to contribute anonymously to children and organizations that need help and support.
Wayne Ngan is a renowned potter whose abstract and contemporary works reflect the traditions of pottery from China, Korea and Japan and the dynamic influence of his natural surroundings by the sea in his studio on Hornby Island. His Japanese-inspired studio continues to be a destination every year for hundreds of visitors from around the world. Regarded as one of Canada’s most influential ceramicists, Wayne received the Saidye Bronfman award in 1983. His work has been exhibited widely for over five decades and is in a number of permanent collections including in the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Passion and perseverance are the hallmarks of Inez Cook and her partner Remi Caudron, co-owners of Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro in Vancouver. They saw an opportunity prior to the Vancouver Olympics to open a fully licensed restaurant serving First Nations cuisine. Their menu is based on traditional ingredients prepared to please a modern palate. They proudly serve wild local fish, organic and free range meats, bannock and other culinary delights inspired by a variety of First Nations traditions. Salmon n’ Bannock’s revenues have tripled and it has also received top accolades from the food and beverage industry
Douglas Crow touches the lives of many on Vancouver Island with low or no vision. With his warm, cordial approach and genuine concern for people, he is an outstanding volunteer with the CNIB. A coordinator for the Peer Support Program, he recruits, trains and mentors new peer counselors. As a Peer Mentor himself, he provides one on one support to people who have recently experienced vision loss. As a community advocate and ambassador for the CNIB, Douglas also reaches out to the greater community to encourage understanding of the challenges faced by those with vision loss.