Who are your heroes?

This is your look at the ordinary heroes, big and small, famous and not so famous who make a difference in our Okanagan. Keep your eyes out for someone you recognize.

Heroes at Home?

It’s a great time of year for reflection and we encourage you to take a moment to appreciate everything that you have. This holiday season think about who in your family has been a great contributor to community in 2017.

Sometimes, we look far and wide to find heroes, or we idolize those on TV or in the media, but the reality is, right here at home or on our street are friends, neighbours and colleagues making a difference.

For 2018, let's celebrate those un-sung heroes, the difference makers who seek no glory and just do what they do to help out and make our communities a better place.

Well done! you know who you are. Let's all raise a glass.

Light it up!

Who has taken a drive around their neighbourhood and checked out the festive lights? Don’t tell me that you haven’t piled the kids in the car after dark for some freewheeling fun. 

We think that those residents that make the extra effort to hang lights, blow up giant characters and even light up the sides of their houses in a sparkling light show deserve huge credit!

Now it would be easy to make fun and insert a joke about Chevy Chase and Christmas Vacation here but that isn’t the point.

On a recent Tuesday night after taking the wrong turn in our own neighbourhood, my son pointed out how awesome the locals were and how we must have the best street in the city for Christmas lights.

My son might be right, but I will bet that every neighbourhood in our awesome city has a street just like ours. Kudos to those that make the extra effort to brighten our streets this time of year.

Light it up!

Just do it

Who out there in Castanet land feels a bit guilty this time of year? Come on, the office parties, the chips and dip, the never ending stream of presents?

We just aren’t cut out to receive this much in such a short period of time are we?

Well, we have the perfect solution, taking a famous slogan from the NO. 1 shoe company on Earth, Nike, Just Do It!

That’s right, get out there and make a difference this holiday season:

  • shovel a driveway
  • pay it forward with a coffee for the person behind you in line
  • send a thank-you card to someone who made a diffidence in 2017
  • drop into your favourite charity with a donation or something that stretches your limits.

The season is all about reflection, but it can also be about action and making a difference before time expires on yet another year.

Just do it and you will feel fantastic about it. Here’s to an incredible 2018.

To share your Ordinary Hero story please contact: [email protected].


Docs backing less fortunate

Cracking backs for the holidays

A holiday season holler to Dr. Kevin Holroyd and his volunteer team of local chiropractors who are donating their services to the Kelowna Gospel Mission every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.

The team of local back docs includes Dr. James Whillans, Dr. Ken Adams and Dr. Keegan Johnston. 

The treatments are much needed for Kelowna’s less fortunate population and the physical treatments are just the start with patients often seeing emotional and spiritual benefits as a result. It’s great to see locals applying their skills to those in need and giving people a reason to feel energized this holiday season.

Think outside the box and maybe you and your company or family can use yours skills to help those in need in December.

Get Your Kicks

We can’t help but say thank you to all the volunteer soccer coaches who spend countless hours during the winter months chasing balls and soccer crazed kids up and down the turf fields at the Capital News Centre.

On a recent Tuesday at 430 p.m., we counted more than15 coaches and 100 boys and girls having a blast in the Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association’s  Indoor soccer program that runs November through spring.

Kids have a chance to play multiple weekly games and practice their skills through a COYSA program led by Dante Zanatta, technical director for Kelowna United FC.

Not only does the program keep kids fit during the snowy winter months, but it gives local kids an edge when the regular season resumes in April.

Red-nose Rudolph

A huge thank you to the volunteers in ICBC’s Operation Red Nose Program.

The program, which offers holiday season revellers a safe and sober ride home, is available in over 100 communities throughout seven provinces in Canada.

Since the program came to B.C., it's grown from two host groups to 11, serving 19 communities and providing over 94,100 safe rides home. 

In 2017, between Nov.24 and Dec. 16 (on most Fridays and Saturdays) and on New Year's Eve, the service is available in the following B.C. communities:

  • Abbotsford/Mission
  • Burnaby
  • Chilliwack
  • Delta/Richmond
  • Kamloops
  • New Westminster
  • North Shore (North Vancouver and West Vancouver)
  • Prince George
  • Ridge-Meadows
  • Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Belcarra and Anmore)
  • Williams Lake

In 2016, 3,747 dedicated volunteers gave 5,448 rides to get people and their vehicles home safely while raising $150,674 for their local charities. Here at Ordinary Heroes, we would love to see this program come to the Okanagan in 2018.

Let’s step up and volunteer to bring it here.

To share your Ordinary Hero story, please contact: [email protected].

Be ordinary heroically

This is your look at the ordinary heroes, big and small, famous and not so famous who make a difference in our Okanagan.  

Keep your eyes out for someone you recognize.

Hitting the High Notes

A deep baritone shout out to Alexandra Babbel and the entire team at Opera Kelowna for their continued hard work in shaping Kelowna’s four-year-old baby arts institution into a best in class opera.

Coming off a highly successful 2017 season, they have lofty plans for 2018 that include spreading their wings into new areas of the community and raising the bar for Kelowna’s arts and culture scene.

We recently attend a fabulous evening at Quails' Gate where soprano Krista de Silva from Calgary had the crowd melting the recent snowfall with her renditions from the infamous Carmen, which will be performed during the 2018 season.

Spotted in the crowd where generous patrons of the arts Camille and David Saltman, along with Opera Kelowna Director Richard Takai and June Nicolay, who tirelessly support this pillar not for profit institution.

Where are all the PAC Men?

A huge show of gratitude to all the amazing members of our local schools Parent Advisory Committees.

These amazing volunteer groups help build strong school community, raise much needed funds to help augment the school’s budget and are always a fun bunch of parents who just want their kids to have the best school experience possible.

At our school, we have movie nights, hot lunch, dances, a carnival and even a recent purchase of 30 Chrome Book computers for the students all lead by the PAC.

My question is, why aren’t there more dads on the PAC? At our school, I am always the only guy in the room and would love to have more dads come out, voice their opinions and roll up the sleeves to make the PAC even stronger.

Maybe the problem is that the PAC meetings are on Monday night during football season. Come on PAC Men.

100 is the New Normal in Kelowna

That’s right, the power of 100 is just too strong to ignore. We attended both the launch of 100 Kids Who Care Kelowna and the 10th meeting of 100 Men Who Give a Damn Kelowna and the numbers certainly add up.

In late October, over 70 kids aged 5-17 turned out at the innovation Centre on Ellis and, in partnership with the I Can App, chose three charities to donate their $10 each to.

In total, $1,400 was raised by the kids and a matching donor. With $405 going to the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Appeal, $506 to the BCSPCA’s Animal Love Campaign and $495 to the Kelowna Women’s Shelter.

The 100 Men who met just this week to an electric crowd at the Laurel Packing House recapped their donations from the summer to the local chapter of the Canucks Autism Network and their Learn to Swim Program and announced the fall winner, Courage For Youth and their very important SCREAM program.

So it seems that strength does come in numbers.

To share your Ordinary Hero story please contact: [email protected].


People making a difference

Welcome to our new column. Let’s face it, Kelowna is a giving city; we get things done and we take care of each other

This is your look at the ordinary heroes, big and small, famous and not so famous who make a difference in our Okanagan.    

Keep your eyes out for someone you recognize.

Food plus love

Jaye Lesperance has been volunteering with the Central Okanagan Food Bank for over 15 years. Sadly, Jaye is living with a permanent brain injury due to a drunk driver. The driver was killed, and Jaye struggles with this catastrophe every day. 

Even though Jaye needs constant support, she volunteers several days each week without fail. Jaye says: "I've been getting social assistance for years because of my brain injury and I want to give back" says Lesperance.

Jaye loves working in the Community Kitchen and says it is her home away from home.

Team players

Shout to the team over on St Paul Street at Volinspire, quietly led by Sheldon Gardiner.

Volinspire is a social enterprise and community contribution company that has developed a platform for volunteers to connect to not for profits and charities looking for volunteers.

Their social mission has leveraged technology to do as much good as possible. Their app has logged nearly 750,000 volunteer hours serving over 4500 not for profits across the country.

Volinspire recently won the Social Impact Award at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

Purple power

Word on the street is that local radio personalities Casey Clarke and Roo Phelps from the No. 1 morning show in town at New Country 100.7 are  planning to double the impact of their successful 2017 Purple Day event that raised nearly $30,000 in support of the Center For Epilepsy and Seizure Education of B.C.

“We have some big ol surprises in store for Spring 2018 “says Clarke.

"Funds raised help right here in Kelowna by supporting those living with epilepsy including sending children with epilepsy to camp” says Phelps.

More Ordinary Heroes articles

About the Author

Richard James Deacon is a passionate philanthropist and volunteer and is dedicated to making a lasting impact on the community. Richard has been a director on a variety of not for profit boards across Canada, but is most proud of his role as the founder of 100 Kids Who Care Kelowna, as a co-creator of The Ron+Clair Deacon Leaders Pay It Forward Program, being a Scouts Canada Beaver leader and coaching his son in Central Okanagan youth soccer.

Richard, his beautiful wife, MaryAnn, and their young sons, Reston and Parker, along with golden retriever Buddy live in Kettle Valley and they love to travel the planet extensively. What they love most about Kelowna is that everybody says hi to each other and it still has that small town feel.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.