Local champions esteemed

Residents and local dignitaries were on hand to recognize 'multicultural community champions' on Thursday evening, in a reception hosted by South Okanagan Community and Immigrant Services.

A total of 14 immigrants from 10 countries were recognized for their contributions in the community, as chosen by the region's Local Immigration Partnership council.

SOICS program manager Tahira Saeed said the champions selected are people who have been working with the organization who were willing to share their stories of their new lives in Canada.

Saaed said there's a common theme between the stories of the individuals.

"Things don't come easy necessarily, but they rise to the occasion and build a life here. They choose to stay in the South Okanagan and Similkameen and contribute back to the economy."

Two of those people recognized were Michal and Martina Mosny, a couple from Slovakia who immigrated to Canada in 2011. 

Back home, the pair had operated a boutique winery and Michal worked full time at a major winery. Today, they use their wine expertise in the South Okanagan.

When they made the move, they began doing consulting and management work for vineyards. In 2014, they were approached by investors who helped them open Lunessence Winery in Summerland. 

"We kind of lost three years of our life, working day-and-night on that," Michal said. "We just keep going, whatever comes we take it. We work hard and that's it."

In 2016, the couple also launched their own label at the winery called Winemaker's CUT. 

Michal said they were honoured to be recognized in the community for their efforts on Thursday.

"It's good motivation for others I think. I know it's a lot of work in the new country, but if you work hard you're going to achieve a lot."

The stories of those champions recognized will be shared on several outlets, including Castanet, over a 12-month span beginning this month.

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