April 24, 2013
Kamloops, B.C. - A reception will be held tonight at Hotel 540 to honour the recipients of the City of Kamloops Distinguished Service Award and the Freeman of the City Award. Ambo Dhaliwal, Sandra Blair, Pat Decker, Graham Cope, Jessie Ann Fleming, Trevor Jensen, Niki Remesz and Anthony Salituro were nominated by their peers for their contribution of time and effort to make a difference in our community.
Mrs. Ambo Dhaliwal - Freeman of the City Award
Ambo was born in Vancouver, BC, to the pioneer generation of some of the first migrants from India. She moved to Kamloops in 1952 when she married her husband Saba. Ambo quickly became immersed in her new community, where she has been a significant contributor since then.
In her professional life, Ambo is the administrator at the Burris Medical Clinic, where she has been employed for over 40 years. In addition to her work and in addition to being a mother and grandmother, Ambo has always made the time to volunteer. Ambo began her community service activities with George Hilliard Parent Teach Association - a commitment that has now spanned six decades. Ambo joined the Ladies' Evening Auxiliary to Royal Inland Hospital in 1967, and 45 years later, is still an active and instrumental member.
In the 1970's, working on behalf of the Indo Canadian community, Ambo became an active member of the Kamloops Multicultural Society and served as Vice President for two years. Each year on Canada Day, Ambo along with her family and friends, continue the tradition to celebrate at Riverside Park, serving Indian food and providing entertainment.
Since 1992 Ambo has served on the Kamloops Cariboo Regional Immigrant Services Board. In her past role as secretary, and currently as director, she greatly contributed to the organization and its services to the community.
Ambo remains an active member of the Sikh Cultural Society and has served numerous terms as recording secretary and vice president. These appointed/elected positions attest to Ambo's standing the in Sikh Cultural Society in Kamloops, as she is one of the first women to have served in such capacities.
Ambo's volunteer contributions to both Kamloops and the Province over the years have been wide and varied and include the following:
Ambo's volunteer efforts have been recognized locally by being nominated for the YMCA Woman of the Year, awarded a Distinguished Service Award by the City of Kamloops in 1995 and recently receiving a BC Community Achievement Award and the Queen's Jubilee Medal.
Sandra Blair - Distinguished Service Award
Sandra was born and raised in Kamloops. Sandra attended Westsyde Secondary School where her athletic ability was discovered. After graduation Sandra attended University College of the Cariboo (now Thompson Rivers University) were she received her Bachelor of Business Administration Degree.
Sandra joined both the UCC Basketball team where she received UCC Rookie of the Year and UCC Most Valuable Player for 3 years. She also led the team to Gold in the BCCAA Provincial Championships and they received two time BCCAA All-Conference Champions. Sandra also was involved on the UCC Soccer team, helping the team to become two-time All-Canadian Champions, 4 time BCCAA All-Conference Team, attaining gold and silver medals. In addition, Sandra was a finalist for the BC Athlete of the Year, received Kamloops Athlete of the Year, UCC Scholar Athlete of the Year for three years and CCAA Academic All-Canadian.
Sandra's passion for sports drew her to coach at the BC Summer Games U14 girls basketball team for the BC Interior division and for Sahali Secondary School's Junior Boys basketball teams.
Sandra gives her time to the following agencies:
Pat Decker - Distinguished Service Award
Pat has been married to her husband Tom for the past 54 years, spending the last 50 of those years in Kamloops. They have three children and three granddaughters.
For the past nine years, Pat has been a dedicated volunteer for the One to One Children's Literacy Program at Juniper Ridge Elementary School. She began volunteering for the program when it first started and has been committed to it ever since. For two 12 week sessions each year, Pat spends one and a half hours, one day per week, reading with students who are struggling with some aspect of their reading. In a caring, supportive environment, she shares her enthusiasm for books and reading. By using positive reading strategies, she helps those children rediscover the magic of books.
Approximately 10 years ago the Juniper Ridge Community Association was in danger of folding, a new group of volunteers stepped up. Pat was one of them. Pat became the Block Representative Coordinator, a job she is still doing today. This function requires a lot of devotion and diplomacy, persuading 25-30 volunteers to go door-to-door to collect annual membership fees. Pat receives the cash from the block reps, balances the books and makes the deposits.
In addition, Pat has also volunteered for the Kidney Association, the Heart & Stoke Foundation and was a Brownie & Girl Guide Leader.
The City of Kamloops and the community of Juniper Ridge in particular, are proud of Pat's dedication and commitment to volunteering for the betterment of our community.
Graham Cole - Distinguished Service Award
Graham attended the University of British Columbia and achieved his Financial Planner designation. Both Graham and his wife Sandy play soccer, as do their two children, Iain and Erin who are involved in Rep soccer.
Graham has been the President of the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association, the largest amateur sport organization in Kamloops. It is a voluntary position that he has occupied for the past six years. With the participation of 3,700 youth players and 500 adult coaches and manager, the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association requires a great deal of attention.
Graham's commitment to the Association over the time of his involvement has resulted in dramatic improvements in the organizational strength of the association. Under Graham's vision and leadership, the organization has become a well-respected and professional organization.
During his tenure as President, the organization has flourished. The Kamloops Youth Soccer Association is now well-entrenched in spacious offices located in the heart of McArthur Island, the City's soccer hub. The club has a paid staff of six well-qualified and hard working professionals and a budget exceeding $1 million. Player registration has grown, as has participation in the various coach and player development programs it offers.
Participation in the Association's flagship tournament, the KYSA Slurpee Cup, has continued to grow and the association has been selected on numerous occasions to host provincial competitions and high level coaching courses. In October 2013, the KYSA will hosts its first National Championship, as 24 U16 boys and girls teams from across Canada will gather in Kamloops to compete.
In 2011 and 2012 Graham also served as the volunteer Governor of the Thompson-Okanagan Football Club, the interior's lone entry in the BC Soccer Premier League - the highest level of youth soccer in the province.
In addition to his service to youth soccer in Kamloops, Graham also devotes a lot of time and energy volunteering with the Sun Peaks Alpine Ski Club as a Board Member, ski race organizer and course manager.
Either on the soccer field or on the ski slopes, Graham can be found behind the scenes putting in that extra effort to make sure things run to the best of his ability.
Jessie Ann Fleming - Distinguished Service Award
Jessie was born and raised in Kamloops 90 years ago in a house on Fort Street. Clapperton Road in North Kamloops was named after the dairy Jessie's grandfather, George Clapperton, operated there decades ago.
Jessie raised a family of two daughters and one son while living in various areas of the city, including Barnhartvale, Westwold, Campbell Range and Lac du Bois. Jessie has two granddaughters, aged 19 and 22.
Jessie worked at Thrupp Manor until she was 70 years old, when she retired to a full life of volunteering.
Jessie has been involved with the Seniors Outreach Society's Safeway Shopping Program for the past 18 years. She is a volunteer shopping helper for seniors, some of whom are 20 years younger. Jessie's friends say that she is hard to keep up to!
Over the years, Jessie volunteered for:
Jessie participates in Tai Chi classes every week and is the picture of health. Jessie enjoys walking everywhere and says it keeps her young. Jessie is involved and active in our community and keeps a diary so that her memories are kept forever. Those memories include meaningful and valuable contributions to the growth and development of our community and the well-being of the citizens of Kamloops.
Trevor Jensen - Distinguished Service Award
Trevor has lived in Kamloops for the past 68 years and has an active role in being involved in his community.
Trevor can be described by his peers as "always focused on what role he could play in improving the community of Kamloops and in looking for tangible results so that the citizens could benefit by the collaborations he fostered. Trevor in his varied roles, was not afraid to ask the hard questions, was always fair, interested in the views of others and always tried to build consensus through open dialogue and partnerships."
Trevor has volunteered for the following committees:
Trevor was passionate about the work of the Social Planning Council. He was supportive of affordable housing initiatives that the agencies such as the John Howard Society built and saw the value in the drop-in program for sex trade workers. Trevor also worked with North Shore residents in looking for solutions to address drug and prostitution issues in that neighbourhood.
Niki Remesz - Distinguished Service Award
Niki has been contributing countless hours to numerous organizations within Kamloops since relocating from the Lower Mainland in 1996. She has been married to her husband Steve for 17 years and they have a ten year old son.
Niki has been involved in the following organizations since her move to Kamloops:
Niki continues to provide mentorship and consultation to a variety of businesses who can't afford services. In addition, Niki volunteers at her son's school, and at the Pit Stop along side with her family.
Anthony Salituro - Distinguished Service Award
Anthony was born and raised in Kamloops. He attended St. Ann's Academy from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and graduated in 1996.
After graduation, Anthony attended Kwantlen College to complete an Interdisciplinary Design Diploma. He also attended Thompson River University's School of Tourism to study Event and Convention Management. For eight years, Anthony volunteered on the organizing committee for the TRU Foundation Gala.
In 2000, Anthony acted as fundraising coordinator for the Kamloops Hospice where he initiated golf tournaments, door to door canvassing campaigns and other unique fundraising initiatives. Anthony's fundraising efforts and ongoing commitment were instrumental in helping to build the Marjorie Snowden Willoughby Hospice Home.
By far, Anthony's greatest philanthropic achievement is the annual Pink Ribbon Charity Ball, which has benefitted the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - BC/Yukon Region for the past 15 years. When Anthony's beloved Aunt Josephine was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, and from that commitment, the premier fundraising gala in the Interior of BC and longest running community initiative in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation was founded. In 1998 at the first Pink Ribbon Charity Ball, they hosted 140 guests and raised $3,498. In 2012, this event hosted over 425 guests and raised $100,000.
Some of Anthony's other accomplishments include:
Anthony is dedicated to making Kamloops a brighter place to live and shows his generosity and dedication in numerous ways.
The City of Kamloops appreciates everything these citizens have done to contribute to the health and wellness of our community.
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Mayor Peter Milobar
City of Kamloops