Hope Air lifts lives
Kevin Rothwell - May 18 - Get Involved

Image: Kevin Rothwell

Kelowna’s Dave McElroy relived the highlights and trials of a 68-day air odyssey from Kelowna to the tip of South America and back, Wednesday night.

The Give Hope Wings flight raised awareness and funds for Hope Air, which transports patients to needed care at the coast – for free.

McElroy was joined by two other pilot buddies from Ontario and Saskatchewan in their homebuilt aircraft. While speedy, they only have four hours flying time, so logistics were everything.

“It was more fun than adult humans should be allowed to have,” McElroy quipped during Wednesday’s fundraiser at Okanagan College. “We were basically adopted by the entire South American general aviation community.”

More than $530,000 was raised, including contributions Wednesday of $5,000 from First Choice Hair Cutters and $1,000 from RBC.

Hope Air CEO Doug Heller-Hobson says it was the biggest local fundraiser in the organization’s 32-year history and will fund 2,000 flights.

“To put this in perspective, they raised enough money for 2,000 flights, last year there were 1,400 Hope Air flights from Kelowna, so they raised enough to cover all those and nearly half of this year,” said Heller-Hobson.

Vernon’s Leila Ward was a Hope Air patient. “I had 20 more years of breathing that I wouldn’t have had, thanks to Hope Air,” she said.

Ward has flown 13 times with Hope Air for specialized treatments in Vancouver.

McElroy is enjoying some time at home, finishing a book about his solo trip around the world and planning his next great aviation adventure.

Breakfast for a cause
Darren Handschuh - May 17 - Get Involved

Image: File Photo

Get breakfast while helping out a good cause this Friday.

The second annual “Breakfast in a Box” fundraiser for the Greater Vernon KidSport Fund.

The event will be a drive-through breakfast from 7–10 a.m. in the old Canadian Tire parking lot at 27th Street and 46th Avenue.

The breakfast will consist of three pancakes, two sausages, a drink box, condiments (syrup, butter and ketchup) and a Tim Horton’s coffee for a minimum $5 donation with all proceeds going directly to KidSport.

KidSport helps provide children between the ages of six and 18, access to sport opportunities and experiences in both team and individual sports.

KidSport believe young people can learn more than athletic skills from sport. Sport’s challenges can teach children the value of leadership, desire, planning, practice, hard work, honesty, sacrifice, dedication, positive thinking and self-confidence.

“Last year was the first year for this fundraiser and the Leo’s along with the Lion’s Club raised $1,385,” said, Shayne Wright, recreation program co-ordinator. “It was a fun morning and people were very generous. We are hoping for a bigger turnout this year”

The Leos are a community-based youth group ages 12 to 18 dedicated to making Vernon a better place.

Leslie Denoncourt
Okanagan Edge Staff - May 17 - Got the Edge

Name: Leslie Denoncourt.

What business or organization are you involved with? MOLT Bin Rentals Ltd.

What is your role with that organization? Owner/operator.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The beauty of all four seasons. We moved here three years ago from Northern Alberta and on one of our first walks through the Gellatly Nut Farm we met up with a nice lady that told us Kelowna is the next
best place to heaven. We have managed to find a home tucked away on the farm loop, our very own little piece of heaven.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My Dad. He passed away before I moved here. He always wanted to live in the Okanagan and would be so happy that I am able to raise my girls here.

What’s your go-to happy place? My backyard, where I can watch my kids swim and play.

What are you most proud of? Being able to break away from the fast pace of oilfield life. We have started living our life closer to nature and with a very different outlook on life. It used to be wishing and waiting for vacation time and days off to run away and travel to better places. I haven’t left the Okanagan since Christmas of 2014, now all my friends and family travel to us.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu for a second time when my girls are old enough; go on an African Safari; and visit Angkor Wat.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Stinky Tofu at a night market in Tiawan.

Latest movie or book: I’ve been watching reruns of Game of Thrones, getting ready for the new season.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My Husband and children.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Well, so far today, we have swam in the pool, smashed some rocks that we were hoping were geodes that we collected on a hike, and planned a BBQ for dinner. I would finish it off with a big cuddle on the couch while watching a movie or show before bed. Pretty perfect day for me.

Head shave raises money
Contributed - May 16 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

The 4th Annual Bands, Burgers, Beers and Balding (BBBB) event took place on Saturday April 7th at the Laurel Packing House, raising an astonishing $48,713 for sick kids across British Columbia.  The donation will be split between the BC Children’s Hospital’s oncology ward and the perinatal unit locally at Kelowna General Hospital.

Event founder, Bernie Ryan, and his team – Adam, Friso Stolk and Emma McDonald – presented the KGH Foundation with a cheque for $22,045 to support the Better Together campaign to open JoeAnna’s House, a home away from home for the families of KGH patients from across BC, many of which are children, who have travelled for advanced medical care.

As the main referral hospital for over 750,000 residents of the British Columbia interior, every year, hundreds of families from across the interior of BC must travel to KGH for specialized medical care.  Finding affordable short-term accommodation close to the hospital has become increasingly difficult, especially during the busy summer months.

“We see JoeAnna’s House as something really positive for our community,” says Ryan, who was awarded the Association of Fundraising Professionals Most Outstanding Volunteer  last year in Vancouver for his leadership in pediatric fundraising.  “Having a sick child is stressful enough, without the added burden of not having a place to stay close by your child’s bed side. JoeAnna’s House will be an immense relief for these families.”

“We have really enjoyed the support of Bernie and the BBBB event,” said Bettina Muller, Events Coordinator at the KGH Foundation.  “It has been really amazing to see how they’ve grown over the past four years, probably because it’s so much fun!”

Indeed, the lively party includes a BBQ, beverages and entertainment, with all proceeds going to the cause.  The highlight of the evening though is always the head shave, with the highest bidder getting their shot at the clippers.

This year was a special one for event founder.  It was his balding swan song.

“Yes. I am retiring from the head shave part,” laughed Ryan, who for the last four years has been the ‘head’lining shavee.  “BBBB will continue for many years to come. It’s time to make some room for some new heads on the roster.”

Thousands raised for charity
Chantelle Deacon - May 14 - Get Involved

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A local business donated all their sales on Saturday to the North Okanagan Hospice Society.

Linda Heng the owner of The Beauty Bar, a nails and esthetics salon in Vernon says giving back to her community is very important to her.

Heng and her team raised $4,162 for the North Okanagan Hospice Society.

“Since we opened our doors August 15, 2016, we have been so incredibly lucky to have such an amazing community that hugely supports us,” Heng said.  “As a new business owner, I’ve always known that I would give back to our community as much as I can and I’m so proud to have a team of women that want to be a part of it all.”

Not only did The Beauty Bar donate all profits made on Saturday, 10 per cent of all gift cards sold last week went towards fundraiser as well.

“We even had a very amazing client donate her own painting for us to auction off for Hospice which went for $100.”

Linda Heng recently won Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the annual Business Excellence Awards held in March.

Heng says she is so lucky to have staff that support her efforts to give back to the community.

The team of women she works with worked for no wage and no commission on Saturday with all of that cash going to charity as well.

“Hospice is an amazing place because the staff go above and beyond for their patients and we all know someone who have been there,” Heng said.

“We want to continue to support local charities since it is our local community that supports us.”

Vantage gives back
Contributed - May 11 - Get Involved

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Vantage West Realty in Kelowna has marked their 10th anniversary with a donation to provide housing for those in need.

The realtors marked the milestone with a celebration with clients earlier this month, where $25,275 was raised for the Karis Support Society through donations and a live auction.

The Karis Support Society provides a loving home and counselling for women struggling with addictions and mental health challenges. The non-profit organization is the only recovery program in the Okanagan to offer safe housing to women and their babies. The three-story Karis Building located in the Central Green development on Rowcliffe Avenue is home to 36 women and 15 children.

Vantage West Realty was founded by A. J. Hazzi in 2008 and has since grown to a team of 30.

“It’s safe to say, how we sell real estate is going to change a lot in the next few years, but why we sell real estate will not change,” says Hazzi. “We want to serve our clients at the highest possible level that you can’t get anywhere else. We truly are trying to build the real estate office of the future.”

In 2017, Vantage West Realty released its the first edition of a new seasonal real estate market study, the Vantage Report. The report delves deep into market trends for 16 distinct neighbourhoods in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country and Peachland.

In 2014, the realty firm opened the doors to its expanded location in downtown Kelowna, introducing its new consultancy model.

Each team member has a unique role in the real estate process: marketing, new clients contact and client experience and frees agents to focus solely on the homebuyer and seller. Agents’ compensation is directly tied to the client experience, with bonuses given for top client ratings.

“Top performers have demonstrated that they have mastered their ability to communicate their competitive advantage,” says Jay Kinder, CEO of NAEA. “They’ve overcome the challenge integrating their online/offline marketing strategies and keeping their brand both professionally and personally relevant to their clients.”

BC SPCA leadership award
Contributed - May 10 - Get Involved

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Kelowna-based SPCA volunteer coordinator Enjulie Bedi is this year’s recipient of the BC SPCA’s Leadership Award, presented to her at the society’s annual awards ceremony in Richmond on May 4.

The Leadership Award was created to recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals who go the extra mile to achieve the society’s goals, and who lead and inspire others to live out the mission and the purpose of the BC SPCA.

In her role at the BC SPCA’s Kelowna Branch, Bedi oversees more than 200 volunteers–offering regular orientations for new volunteers, scheduling shifts and providing training and support. Last year, Kelowna SPCA volunteers logged more than 12,000 hours on behalf of animals in need.

Bedi is also a front-line reception staff member who deals with hundreds of interactions with the public, businesses and supporters.

“Enjulie is really a shining light and an inspiring example to her colleagues,” says Sean Hogan, manager of the Kelowna SPCA. “She is a strong advocate for animals and is the first to pitch in to help, whether it involves caring for a large influx of neglected animals from a cruelty investigation, improving our emergency response for injured wildlife or promoting the welfare of farm animals. She just makes the people around her better, with her upbeat, empathetic and compassionate response to her work.”

Despite her hectic work commitments on behalf of the animals, Bedi finds time to relax and enjoy a healthy lifestyle with biking, yoga and team sports.

Brian McClelland
Trevor Nichols - May 10 - Got the Edge

Image: Contributed

Name: Brian McClelland

What business or organization are you involved with? West X Business Solutions

What is your role in that organization? General manager of interior operations

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? I’m a huge mountain biking fanatic; I’ve had the opportunities as a result to meet some really amazing people. If I had to narrow it down to “one” that would be impossible really, but I love getting outside!

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I have a huge man-crush on Dave Grohl. He’s a rock legend, parent, husband, and all round nice guy. I love people who bring their energy and personality to everything they touch, he’d be the guy.

What’s your go-to happy place? Between 6-26 kilometers up a trail on my mountain bike, or hanging out with the wife and our two dogs at home.

What are you most proud of? I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with some amazing people. I owe a huge debt to the professors at Okanagan College (specifically Blair Baldwin, and Laura Thurnheer) who really gave me the tools to harness my drive and create a positive career.

I’ve been beyond fortunate that I have an amazing better half who keeps me in check when I need a reality check.  I also feel beyond lucky to have worked for Tyler Snitynsky, as he really helped me develop as a person and got me to where I am today.

What am I most proud of? I’m most proud of my ability to keep learning, to keep being a student of the great people I am lucky enough to be surrounded by. I’m proud of myself for putting myself right where I need to be.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-Go visit Scottland, and Ireland;
-Ride my bike in New Zealand;
-Learn to juggle.

Latest movie or book? I recently read Boundaries for Leaders by Henry Cloud. As a new leader, I really enjoyed that book.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? I got a Redline BMX bike from my uncle when I was six. I didn’t realize it then but it changed my life forever. There’s no way I’d be where I am without learning so much through sport.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With my two dogs, and lovely wife in the backyard drinking some beer from Kind Brewing and having a couple steaks.

Piling on the donations
Contributed - May 08 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

All 203 piles that will support the foundation of the One Water Street development’s East Tower are now in the ground, and that’s good news for a local charity.

On Feb. 13, when Kerkhoff Construction and North American Development Group officially broke ground on the project, they pledged to give one dollar from every foot of pile used to JoeAnna’s House.

The charity operates a home for family members who want to stay close to their loved ones while they receive treatment at Kelowna General Hospital.

Today, One Water’s developers handed Doug Rankmore, the CEO of the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, a cheque for $29,435 forJoeAnna’s House.

“The piling is complete with the last of the East Tower’s 203 piles inserted on the first of May. We’ve added it all up, and with each pile measuring 145 feet in length, that’s 29,435 feet. Laid end-to-end, they would stretch five-and-a-half miles,” says Leonard Kerkhoff, the vice president of Kerkhoff Construction.

“As we said at the groundbreaking, community-building is part of the reason we’ve committed to this project, and with so many others in Kelowna who contribute in their own way, we really want to share some of our success with this project and give something back to the community,” Kerkhoff added.

Kerkhoff said the fast-tracking of the project’s West Tower have spurred the developers to start public sales of its units May 26.

Market supports good cause
Chantelle Deacon - May 07 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

A local event is supporting two non-profits at their annual Mother’s Day Market.

The fifth annual Mother’s Day Gift Parade Vendors Market takes place May 12 at the Schubert Centre in Vernon.

“This time around our raffle and admission which is by donation is for The Society for Creative Anachronism here in Vernon,” said Laura-Lynn Scheuerman, organizer. “They are looking to get an archery net so that they can teach people how to do archery.”

The market always supports two non-profits. This year they will also be supporting Boxer Rescue Canada.

“This one is very near and dear to my heart, she said. “I own boxers and I have gotten my dogs through Boxer Rescue Canada before and this is going to help save animals and get them into the homes that they need to be in.”

“They use their fundraising money to pay for vet bills, pull them from pounds, rehoming and transportation costs.”

There will be a raffle fundraiser which is $2 a ticket and there are 35 amazing prizes to be won.

The Schubert Centre is holding it’s annual Mother’s Day pancake breakfast at the same time, making it the perfect opportunity to enjoy some breakfast when you arrive and then do some shopping.

The market features about 30 home-based vendors.

The market runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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