News from Kamloops

April 19, 2012

Citizens recognized for their contributions to the community

Kamloops, B.C. - Last night a reception was held at Hotel 540 to honour the recipients of the City of Kamloops Distinguished Service Award. Harvey Fraser, Lynda MacKenzie, Acacia Schmietenknop and Ruth Williams were nominated by their peers for their contribution of time and effort to make a difference in our community.

Click on their names below to learn of their accomplishments.

» Harvey Fraser

Harvey was born in Gravenhurst, Ontario in 1930. He was first introduced to canoeing in Muskoka Country at five years of age by a World War I veteran who had lost his leg while in combat.

Harvey travelled to BC in 1950 and arrived in Kamloops in 1955. Five years later he married his wife and together they raised their two boys, Danny and David.

In the late 1960s, Harvey and Adolf Tuffle started Interior Canoe Outfitters and did canoe tours throughout the interior of BC. From 1968 to 1986, Harvey and Ferdy Wenger designed and built canoes, including the Thompson Cruiser, a Harvey Fraser Canoe.

In 1966 Harvey was appointed to the BC Voyageur Team that raced across Canada in the 1967 centennial. His team finished second and was recognized at Expo 67 held in Montreal. Harvey completed many river adventures including the canyon of the Liard River in 1972. He designed canoes and paddles that were in great demand all over the world. The Thompson Guide Special became a sought after canoe by paddlers all over North America.

Harvey was involved in the scouting movement through Scouts Canada, teaching canoeing skills and safety. For 15 years, Harvey taught canoeing at the slough at McArthur Island as part of the City of Kamloops Parks and Recreation program.

Harvey worked as a carpenter and partner with Wilson & Dalgleish Construction helping to build landmarks in Kamloops, such as: the Overlander Bridge, Woodwards Building, Riverside Park Rose Garden, Pedestrian Overpass Bridge from Lansdowne to Lorne Street and the BC Tel Building on the Corner of Third Avenue and St. Paul Street.

Being an avid canoeist and racer, Harvey spent a life dedicated to the sport. Over the years, he shared his passion with many others and even helped to create the Dick Hart Memorial Park in Heffley Creek. The Thompson River Paddle Sports Club's annual Kamloops Canoe Race has been re-named to the Harvey Fraser Marathon Canoe Classic.

Harvey is truly an ambassador to the paddling community, and all who drop into his home are rewarded with friendliness and great stories.

» Lynda MacKenzie

Lynda has spent a great deal of her time volunteering her time for the betterment of Kamloops. Lynda was the driving force for organizing and initiating the first Rotary Food Drive for the Kamloops Food Bank, and continues to volunteer for this worthy cause every spring and fall.

Lynda is a Board of Directors member for the Kamloops Food Bank. Lynda is involved with organizing and volunteering four times a year at PIT Stop at the Kamloops United Church, which involves preparing the menu, purchasing food, coordinating volunteers to work at the event and to work herself at the event.

Another organization that is close to Lynda's heart is the Variety Show of Hearts. Every February Lynda not only volunteers at the event, but is actively involved with several fundraisers within the community to raise funds for this worthy cause.

For the past three years, Lynda has assisted with the planting and maintenance of five garden plots at Crestline Gardens on behalf of Rotary Daybreak, where all of the produce is donated to the Kamloops Food Bank.

Lynda is a member of the Sagebrush Quilters Guild, making quilts to donate to the Kamloops Woman's Shelter, Ministry of Children and Families for kids in foster care and patients in the Royal Inland Hospital Cancer Clinic. Lynda was involved in organizing quilt auctions to raise money for female cancer patient support, which have collectively raised $50,000. This money went to support a women's exercise program in Kamloops (Sensational Survivors) to bring Inspire Health to Kamloops and provide patient support.

Lynda is a Board of Directors member for Daybreak Rotary and currently is the Chair of Service Projects and Fundraising.

In addition to all of the other various fundraising and volunteering that Lynda is involved in for our community, she also canvasses for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and participates in both the Walk for Memories and the Relay for Life.

» Acacia Schmietenknop

Acacia began volunteering and giving back to her community at a young age. In 2008, Acacia was a candidate in the Miss Kamloops Ambassador Program in which she won congeniality, talent, public speaking and the Miss Kamloops title. Acacia continues her involvement with the Miss Kamloops Ambassador Program, and currently holds the position of Vice-President where she is the Candidate Coordinator. She assists the candidates with resume building and public speaking and is the media liaison for the program.

Acacia is a member of the United Way Youth Club, first year board member for the Kamloops Community YM/YWCA and actively volunteers in the Strong Kids Campaign and the Y Women's Shelter. Acacia is a Youth Ambassador on the TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board where she assists in the decision making process of fund allocation for various community programs.

Acacia is the President of the Youth Community Assessment and Action Network (CAAN) where she is involved in planning and organizing safe, interactive activities for youth in Kamloops. Acacia is involved in the planning for events such as: Youth Awareness Day, Battle of the Bands and the Student Resource Manual which teaches students about bursaries, scholarships and how those students can get involved in community activities and organizations.

Acacia is the Fundraising Chair for the Kamloops Fusion Rotaract, where she volunteers and organizes events such as: Basics for Babies, Rotary Community Garden and Toys for Kids.

Acacia is the Vice President of Programming for Students in Free Enterprises (SIFE) at Thompson Rivers University. The purpose of SIFE is to increase the standard of living and quality of life of the community by running different programs. In Acacia's first year with SIFE, she ran an international business plan competition and represented TRU and SIFE at the 2011 Regional and National Expositions. Now in her second year, Acacia holds the position of Vice President of Programming, and partners the SIFE programs with various community organizations to fulfill the needs of our community. The SIFE program teaches grade 6 & 7 students about our environment, resources and environmental economics. Acacia is constantly working on expanding the SIFE program to reach and target groups such as young mothers and Aboriginal adults to get their GED, assisting with the Seniors Outreach Centre and the Kamloops Correctional Centre inmates on the Street School Program.

» Ruth Williams

Ruth has been a leader in the social and economic development for First Nations peoples in British Columbia for 30 years. Ruth has been involved in dozens of organizations over the years and has almost invariably assumed the leadership role.

Currently Ruth is a Board member of: the First Nations Health Society, the President of Kamloops Native Housing Society, First Nations Market Housing Fund and Thompson River University.

Some of Ruth's accomplishments include:

Ruth is presently the CEO of All Nations Trust Company and prior to being appointed Chief Executive Officer, had been President since the company's inception in 1984.

In 2011, Ruth was inducted into the Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame with the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business. In 2010, Ruth received her Honorary Doctorate with Thompson Rivers University, and in 2009 Ruth received a Canadian Aboriginal Business Leadership Award.

The City of Kamloops appreciates everything these citizens have done to contribute to the health and wellness of our fine community.

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Media Contact:
Mayor Peter Milobar
City of Kamloops