Humanity needs your help
Trevor Nichols - Jun 23 - Get Involved

Image: Kate Bouey
Habitat for Humanity’s Vernon project.

A trio of families eagerly awaiting a generous leg up from Habitat for Humanity are being forced to wait a little longer, as the organization struggles to fund volunteers to help build their new homes.

Habitat for Humanity’s Vernon triplex was supposed to be finished this July, but because the organization is having such trouble finding people to help finish it, it could be delayed by months.

“We’re kind of in a desperate need of volunteers right now,” says Habitat representative Sam Sweet.

Sweet says Habitat is looking for volunteers of all skill levels to help out at the Vernon project. They’re needed to assist in the construction of the home, help clean up, shovel and do landscaping work.

He says Habitat needs “as many volunteers as possible,” and worries that if no one comes forward “it will just take a lot longer to get the families that need them into the houses.”

Meanwhile, Habitat’s Peachland project is also looking for volunteers.

There, the organization hopes to install landscaping features to give the homeowners a little more privacy from the highway, and make the steep hill behind the houses safer for the children that live there.

Each Monday and Friday a group gathers from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and Sweet says three to five volunteers are needed.

Sweet encourages anyone looking to make a difference in their community to get in touch with Habitat for Humanity and give a little of their time in the coming weeks.

“It’s just a great cause. You feel like you’re doing a great thing for your community, and you’re giving a second chance to a family that really needs one,” he says.

A heartfelt donation
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 22 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

A donation from the Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation will help the Kelowna General Hospital buy a new cardio respiratory monitors that will supports the most vulnerable patients in its new neonatal intensive care unit.

The expanded intensive care unit, which cares for infants, was expanded in March of 2016, in an effort to support the need to the growing regional population.

“Over the past 20 years, the number of pre-term births has continued to grow. The expanded NICU at KGH represents a giant leap forward for healthcare in the Southern Interior, providing the most advanced neonatal care unit outside the Lower Mainland,” says Bonnie Wilkie, a nurse educator in the NICU.

The Woodward’s Foundation grant, worth more than $68,480, will add to the KGH neonatal care team’s capacity to monitor the smallest and sickest babies. With a total of seven monitors already funded, the Woodward’s Foundation gift of four new devices allows for each crib in the newly expanded NICU to have a dedicated monitor.

“The neonatal cardiac respiratory monitors are an integral piece of technology for us,” says Wilkie. “They allow us to have a constant view of the infant’s vital signs including heartbeat and breathing. When a baby is in distress, the device alarm activates and alerts us immediately so that we can rapidly respond. These monitors save lives.”

Landon Orr
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 22 - Got the Edge

Name: Landon Orr.

What business or organization are you involved with? Freedom 55 Financial.

What is your role with that organization? Financial advisor.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? There’s so much potential for exploring: mountains, lakes, waterfalls, climbing, big mountain ranges close by, fantastic restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries. The list goes on.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Yvon Chouinard. He’s the founder of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. He’s a 79-year-old billionaire who still runs a massive company, is active outdoors, and is very influential environmentalist.

What’s your go-to happy place? Hiking around the Monashee Mountains near Cherryville, rock climbing
in Cougar Canyon in Vernon, or hanging at the family cabin on Okanagan Lake!

What are you most proud of? My lady, Devyn. She’s currently in the midst of schooling for her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. It’s essentially a full time job of studying on top of working full time as an accountant at a local firm. I’ve never seen anyone with so much
stamina, it’s amazing.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Achieve financial freedom so I can conquer all of the items on my bucket list;
2. Scuba dive with sea lions of the coast of Tofino;
3. Road trip all the way down to the southern tip of South America, bouncing around to as many places as we can along the way.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I was at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand when they brought out these short white worms as an appetizer before lunch. Not much taste, very weird texture. Wouldn’t recommend but would also probably eat it again.

Latest movie or book: The Emperor series by Conn Iggulden. It’s historical fiction about Julius Caesar’s life. It’s amazing. He also has one for Genghis Khan called the Conqueror series. The things those people achieved in their lifetime is insane.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? A monetary gift from my Nana and Papa when I graduated from Okanagan College. Not for the money itself but what it did, which was allow me to go for a two-month solo backpacking trip through Southeast Asia.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Round up as many loved ones as I can, head out to the family cabin, and have one last day by the lake.

Thousands raised at Swing Away
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 21 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

On June 8, 22 ladies took part in the Ladies Spring Golf Clinic at The Quail, as part of United Way CSO’s Swing Away for United Way event.

Professional instruction was given by a golf pro, who helped improve the ladies short and long swings with appetizers and refreshments to follow.

According to the United Way, the “fantastic afternoon” helped raise more than $1000 for the community.

“Thank you to everyone who made yesterday a huge success,” the United Way said in a statement, extending a special thank you to Kayla Caruana and the Investors Group for their support of the event.

Marnie Burnett
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 21 - Got the Edge

Name: Marnie Burnett

What business or organization are you involved with? El Taquero – Taqueria and Catering

What is your role with that organization? Owner/operator

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The people. When we first moved to the Okanagan three years ago, many people “warned us” that it would take a long time to make friends in Kelowna. However, we have met so many lovely people in the area and have never found this to be the case.

There is such a humungous sense of community and support for small business in the area. We couldn’t feel more fortunate with the relationships and the friendships we have gained.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My husband’s late father. He passed when my husband was young and Israel (my husband) has always lived his life trying to be as good of a man as his father was. I would love nothing more than to converse and convey how wonderful a father, husband and business operator his son is and to have him share his pride with my husband.

What’s your go-to happy place? Hanging out with my kid. Running a restaurant is hard work and long hours. When I get to escape and have some quality one on one time with my daughter Matea, I couldn’t be happier. Where? Anywhere really, but usually hunting for bugs, exploring the outdoors, learning something new or baking cupcakes. On the rare moments when I get to go home to Saskatchewan, it is sitting in the boat on a sunny day fishing with Dad.

What are you most proud of? Our families. All of them: brothers, sisters, inlaws, steps, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We have such a diverse group of people in our families and I am proud every day to be connected to them all.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? That’s a tough one. So many things in the world to see do and
experience. Here goes:
-South Africa;
-Scuba Diving;
-Learn to Fly.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Anyone have toddlers? Pretty sure it was easter egg soup with cheerios, almond milk, yogurt and mini eggs, yum. Other than that, it would have to be Escamoles in Mexico City, A delicacy equivalent to caviar. What is it? Ant larvae. Uh huh! Hubby didn’t let me know until I tried, I do have to be honest through, it was quite tasty.

Latest movie or book: My short term goal is to read one or go to one. I skim the net late at night and netflix and chill when I can.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My daughter. Period.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With as much family as I could round up, preferable in one of two places: southern Manitoba at our family farm or Israel’s family ranch outside Mexico City. It really is quite amazing how similar the two places, and our family gatherings, are considering the cultural and geographical differences. Both places are near and dear to me.

Fundraiser for teen
Kate Bouey - Jun 20 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed.
Road hockey fundraiser to be held for teen fighting cancer.

A road hockey fundraiser is being held next Sunday on the grounds of Clarence Fulton Secondary for Garrett Adams, a 17-year-old goalie, who’s been diagnosed with lymphoma.

“We would like to help Garrett and his family with a fundraiser to help alleviate any financial strain this will put on them,” said a Facebook post from Rhonda Becker, a friend of the family, who is with a group organizing a road hockey tournament, an auction and a BBQ.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help the family with costs as they travel to the coast and back for medical appointments.

“We are looking for silent auction items for a fundraiser to help the Adams family while their son, Garrett, takes on his ugliest opponent yet. He is an amazing goalie. At the young age of 17, Garrett has just been diagnosed with cancer. We are holding a road hockey tournament and a silent/online auction on Sunday.”

Adams has loved the game of hockey since he was old enough to hold a stick. He was a nationally recognized ringette goalie and the recipient of the midget house league ‘Senior Goalie of the Year’ award from Vernon Minor Hockey for the 2016-2017 season.

Life has changed dramatically since the diagnosis. Adams has had to leave his job, school and cannot participate in any strenuous activities that could cause his body strain.

However, Becker said Adams has a positive attitude and recently attended grad activities.

Auction items are greatly needed for those who are willing to donate them, she said.

“We are also looking for participants for the road hockey tournament.”

Those interested can sign up online. For those who cannot make it, the GoFundMe page will also support the initiative.

“I hope the hockey community and anyone able to support this family can come out to play and support Garrett,” said Leigha Horsfield, another family friend.

A by donation BBQ will also be held at the school at the same time as the tournament.

The event takes place at Clarence Fulton Secondary on Sunday, June 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

David Michaud
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 20 - Got the Edge

Name: David Michaud.

What business or organization are you involved with? Penticton Vees Junior A hockey club.

What is your role with that organization? Director of player development and corporate sales.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Without question, the scenery is my favourite part of living in the Okanagan. There are very few places that don’t offer a stunning view. The chance to get outside and experience all the valley has to offer is another huge perk. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love sipping a glass of wine on a patio with good friends and good food, starting at a beautiful lake? I hear the hockey is pretty good in Penticton, too.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose, and why? That is a tough one. There are so many people who are leaders in sports and business that I admire. If I was backed into a corner and had to choose I’d probably pick former Yankee captain Derek Jeter; he’s a winner.

What is your go-to happy place? A long stroll on the KVR Trail always get my mind right.

What are yo most proud of? Building a team that went to the National Midget Championships in 2013-2014. The process of building a team and making it all the way to the end is a tremendous feeling. Hopefully this Vees squad can get me to my second national championships this year.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

-Win a national championship;

-A couple of weeks in Santorini, Greece would be nice;

-A quiet cabin somewhere.

What the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I went to a Spanish restaurant in Philadelphia during the NHL draft with a group of people from Sweden. There were a couple of things I ate that I was unsure of. Thankfully their English wasn’t strong enough to explain what I was eating.

Latest movie or book? Relentless, a book about Ted Rogers. It’s been a while since I watched a good flick.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Easy. My first hockey net was I was seven years old. Every young Canadian boy should be able to shoot pucks in a net.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I’d be at that cabin on the wish list with my puppy Murphy.

Support for OSNS
Deborah Pfeiffer - Jun 19 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

The 4th annual Wildstone Colours 4 Kids Run, last Sunday in Penticton, was a resounding success.

There were nearly 750 participants and money raised for the OSNS Child Development Centre was $15,086, up $5,000 from last year’s event.

Hockey superstar Duncan Keith also joined in the festivities, signing autographs and dousing kids in colour along the route.

“The support of the community and the corporate citizenship displayed by Wildstone is overwhelming,” said OSNS executive director Manisha Willms.

Wildstone presented the OSNS with the proceeds on Friday afternoon.

Alison Yesilcimen
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 19 - Got the Edge

Name: Alison Yesilcimen

Employer: AY Enterprise

City: Kelowna

Occupation: CEO with a passion for growing companies, developing people and driving results.

Tell us about your job: I’m so lucky! I conduct results-based advisory services to a diverse portfolio of SME clients ranging from technology to manufacturing for the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust. I’m also an Executive in Residence (EiR) at Accelerate Okanagan providing proven methodologies that help commercialize early-stage tech companies.

Tell us about yourself: I’m a motivational leader who loves to set goals, work hard, and celebrate the success with a round of high fives. I’ve learned over the years that “failure” is not even trying something so I constantly push myself to have the courage to dare greatly!

What do you do for fun? I enjoy writing children’s books and have recently published Pretty Kitty in the City. It’s a fun rhyming book that has a tendency to cause both adults and children to giggle.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to? I put the Grrrrr in Tigger!

Latest movie or book: The force was with me when I went to see Rogue One.

What’s your go-to happy place? Clinking wine glasses at home with my best friend in the whole wide world…my husband Kenan.

Earth Wind Fire returns
Madison Erhardt - Jun 16 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed.
Kelowna vocalist Anna Jacyszyn is lending her talents to The Nature Trust of BC’s ninth annual Earth Wind Fire event.

B.C.’s ninth annual Earth Wind Fire event celebrates food and wine in support of land conservation in the Okanagan.

Guests will enjoy the culinary talents of well-known chefs such as Rod Butters, Bernard Casavant, Jesse Croy, Ross Derrick, Willi Franz, Kai Karoll, Stu Klassen, Jeremy Luypen, and Iain Rennie, all members of the Canadian Culinary Federation.

A live auction will feature outdoor and culinary adventure packages, tours of local wineries, original paintings, jewelry, spa days and fishing gear, to name a few.

Proceeds from the June 24 gala at the Delta Grand Hotel will help acquire an 86-acre parcel near Skaha Lake that will add to an existing complex of conservation lands and provide critical habitat for bighorn sheep.

“It takes you only a few steps to recognize how beautiful this location is and why it is so important that it remain in a natural state,” says Nicholas Burdock, land conservation co-ordinator for The Nature Trust.

Tickets for Earth Wind Fire are $175 per person. You can order online at or call Robin Rivers at 1-866-288-7878.

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