Signs of responsibility

Wingman or Wingwoman

On a round of recent flights across Canada, I was thinking about how easy it is to travel.

Hurtling across the country and continent in a metal tube for a day of meetings or or a special family event and then back seemed so futuristic, but it has really become the norm.

We are not sure how often you think of the brave and very talented pilots who fly us around, but we wanted to take a moment give them a heroes hurrah for earning their wings or stripes and keeping us safe day in and  day out.

Often, we take flying for granted and indeed it is very safe, but it doesn’t happen by accident; kudos to our pilots from all airlines.


We had to take a moment to thank anyone out there in the Valley who is taking the time to mentor someone. Young and old, the benefits of having a mentor are amazing.

Recently, I met a 92-year-old woman in Penticton who was mentoring a neighbour who had dementia and literally helping her learn all over again.

I also came across some elementary aged kids who had paired up in a buddy system to help each other during recess and lunch to ensure they always had someone to play with or talk to a peer. Very cool!

A sign

A huge heroes thanks goes out to all the volunteers who helped take down and recycle election signs.

I don’t know about your neighborhood, but in mine they seemed to disappear overnight and, save for a few stragglers, it is amazing to see thousands of signs be scooped up by a dedicated team from all candidates.

I recently watched a segment about how the signs are recycled and it's nice to see that all of the signs don’t just end up in the landfill. Cheers to anyone who picked up a sign and returned it.


Politicans are heroes

We just had to give a shout out for those sticking their necks out there for the first time and running for public office.

Regardless of whom you vote for, you have to hand it to anyone willing to toss their hat in the ring, rally their friends and family and raise money to try and get elected.

The role of a local city counsellor or school trustee is far from glamorous and certainly doesn’t pay all the bills at home but it does offer a chance to roll up the sleeves and really make a difference in our community.

Those who want to make a difference in our local lives are heroes in our book, so support any candidate you believe in and get out this week and vote.

Soup for you

I had to give a shout out to my man and Okanagan chef Victorie Bongo and his African peanut soup drive.

Chef Bongo makes four-litre bucket loads of the famous soup that sell for $50 and proceeds of the soup sales go to the Union Gospel Mission to help provide food and blankets during the winter.

Chef Bongo’s soup is famous and was not only on the menu this summer at his Village Grounds restaurant in Naramata but was served recently in New York City at a special dinner at the James Beard House. We hear it was a huge hit.

The soup is a Congolese recipe from his grandmother, who passed it down to chef’s mom and now to him. It has a special place in his heart and this is his way of giving back in a comforting, soulful way.

Big warm hero hug to you, chef.


With the fall weather settling in and the seemingly endless road construction happening around the Valley, we wanted to make sure our heroes team recognizes those in the thankless and often dangerous job in traffic control safety or as most of us know them, flagperson.

We all pass one every day and we often forget that it’s their job not to irritate us, but to keep our roads and the work crews making our city and roads a better place, safe.

Sure it’s a hassle to stop and wait or re-route around countless cones, but it’s not their fault, so let’s all give them a break, maybe a honk and a wave of thanks next time.

Put yourself in their shoes this winter.

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

Bikers on the move

A big Heroes pump up for everyone who hopped on their bikes to go back to school and work after the summer.

It’s great to see people braving the rain and busy streets to cut back on carbon emissions, save on gas prices and get a little exercise in the process.  

We especially love the hard-core cyclists who steam up Chute Lake hill into Kettle Valley after a hard day at the office, it’s a breeze in the morning and often we have bikes pass us at 50 km/h while we sit in traffic, but it sure must be hard coming back in the late afternoon.

We also love the daily morning rat race of kids of all ages who blaze out of their homes and bike to school.

At our son’s school, the bike racks are full and bikes lined up along the fences. It’s great to see and if it's anything like when we biked to school as kids, it’s one of the best moments of the day — pure freedom on two wheels with mom and dad out of earshot.

Keep on riding kids.


We aren’t talking about the army of 20 somethings, often from Quebec, who descend upon the orchards in late summer to pluck the ripening fruits from trees and vines.

We are talking about the quiet pickers who I often see bending over to scoop up a tossed can or grocery bag, a round of fast food containers or errant beer cans.

This summer, I noticed more often than in the past that our beaches and parks were clean and often free of debris.

We owe a round of Hero hugs to our Okanagan citizens who take a few moments to scoop up trash and put it where it belongs.They keep our favourite spots a little bit cleaner and greener, which is a part of what defines the Okanagan lifestyle.


We live in mountain-biking-and-hiking heaven here in the Okanagan.

The other day, we were wondering who keeps the trails in such perfect condition. Sure, there are our parks and rec team, but we heard there are amazing volunteer groups that are behind the building and maintaining of so many of the top trails in the Valley.

They cut trees, shore up paths, move gravel and map the routes we love, turning our trails into some of the most accessible and well maintained anywhere in the world.

The next time you pass someone on the hillside who is helping make the trails better, be sure to thank them on behalf of the team here at Heroes. Well done.

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


Hero's hurrah for fathers


A big Heroes hurrah to all the dads kicking it with their kids in June. Father’s Day always comes and goes so quickly in our house and this year was no different.  

Who doesn’t love carrying on a tradition from their dad? Fishing, working on the car, playing catch or just sitting on the dock or back step shooting the breeze.

Life is busy and with so many activities with our kids, working overtime and balancing friends and family, sometimes it’s just nice to take a stroll down memory lane and catch up with our dad or in my case recently spend a half hour chatting with my own son on a car ride back from soccer.

He told me things I hadn’t heard before and it made me laugh, smile and answer some tough questions.

But the best part was when he asked me to go for ice cream. I said yes, let him pick the scoops and then he asked me to pay. I gladly accepted.

Thanks, son.


It was a couple of Sunday’s ago as our family sat and ate a great breakfast at Sunny’s Diner downtown as the idea to celebrate cooks came into my mind,

I’m not talking about the well-known chefs, celebrities and award winners who typically garner all the spotlight.

I mean the prep cooks, line cooks, the team behind any great restaurant: chopping, blanching, and getting every last part of the plate ready to be passed past the watchful eyes of the head chef.

So whether it’s someone in your house who makes the effort for a mid-week meal seem fun, the best breakfast you’ve ever eaten or all the ingredients for your favourite pizza chopped just right, you know who to thank.

Let’s raise a glass to the cooks who keep it together.

And a special shout out to Chef Bernard, an award-winning top chef who isn’t too good to play the role of prep cook. That’s right, Chef, I saw you chopping, slicing and dicing in the back recently. Kudos, brother.


We thought we would be proactive here at Ordinary Heroes and send a shout out to all the summer lifeguards that we know will be watching over our kids in the community pools and the sun-burned tourists splashing in our lakes now through Labour Day.

We know they love what they do and we rarely see them spring into action, but when they do, it’s like a well-oiled machine, (pardon the pun sunbathers) but I’ve seen lifeguards assist the young and old and they know just what to do at that crucial time.

Many of them are teens earning a summer living and carrying on their swim training. Baywatch may have made lifeguarding glamorous, but the reality is, these are highly trained rescue specialists who will no doubt save lives this summer.

The next time you hear a whistle blown by the water, respect it and give them a wave or high five for keeping our beaches and pools safe.

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

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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.

Contact Richard at [email protected]

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

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