Taking nominations for worthy volunteers

The ninth annual Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Gala is coming up May 27, and nominations are still being taken.

The ninth annual Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Gala is coming up May 27, and nominations for the many worthy volunteers out there are still being taken.

“We will take nominations until at least the end of the month,” Lori Stolson, from Volunteer Kootenays, said. “We request nominations from the entire community. They can nominate anyone they know that volunteers for them, if they know a neighbour or a friend or a family member.”

She said you can nominate any volunteer you chose to.

Volunteer Kootenays is a service of Canadian Mental Health Association.

This year’s event will also feature a special guest in the way of a Olympic medallist. “We’re having Olympian Clara Hughes as the keynote speaker at this year’s gala,” Stolson said. “She is doing Clara’s Big Ride across Canada in support of reducing the stigma of mental illness.”

Stolson said it worked out that Hughes was on her way through Cranbrook at the time.

“Normally we would have the volunteer gala during volunteer week, which was April 6-12,” she said. “Clara Hughes’ team contacted us last fall and asked us if we would host an event when she came through.”

So they moved the gala to accommodate Hughes’ Kootenay portion of her ride.

The gala is about recognizing and awarding volunteers in the community.

Stolson explained that the committee goes through the four categories and chooses winners based on selected criteria.

Businesses in Cranbrook and the surrounding communities sponsor tables and donate those tables to a volunteer organization of their choice or they allow Volunteer Kootenays to choose the organization.

“Those tickets then go to volunteers so that they can enjoy the evening,” she said.

“There are four categories of awards given out,” she added, listing individual, youth, family and group categories.

The event is held at St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino, which is a big sponsor.

“It’s held in the Pavilion and it holds 250 people and it’s completely sold out, which is awesome,” she said. “It isn’t usually sold out quite this soon.”

She said Investors Group (national) is the premier sponsor and has been an 11 year supporter of National Volunteer Week and Canada’s corporate leader in volunteer recognition.