Not even a global pandemic can keep the Campbell River Mirror from celebrating those among us who make a positive impact on our community.
The third annual event – presented in partnership with MOWI – took place Sept. 30, although it looked a little different than the first two.
Normally, the community is polled to find the difference makers in and around Campbell River, a panel of community partners narrow the nominees down to a group of finalists, and they are all invited – along with their guests – to a big two-hour gala at the No. 1 Fire Hall with 200-or-so other wonderful people.
This year, obviously, that couldn’t happen.
Instead, they were invited in small groups – by category – to be recognized and thanked for what they do, over the course of an entire day.
“We know you don’t do what you do in order to be recognized for it,” Mirror publisher Artur Ciastkowski told the groups as they arrived at the fire hall. “But we feel that with all the uncertainty in the world right now, it’s never been more important to celebrate the people like you who make a positive difference in our community.”
The recipients of this year’s top honours were as follows:
Animal Ambassador: Warren Warttig
Arts Advocate: Bill Henderson
Coach: Kelly Uzzel
Community Builder: Carol Chapman
Community Volunteer: Paula Anderson
Courage and Bravery: Brandon Archibald and Nicolas Wall
Diversity and Inclusion: Inclusion Band
Educator: Bill Alder
Emergency Services: Const. Jackelynn Biller
Environmental Leadership: Chuck DeSorcy
Healthcare Hero: Dementia Dream Team
Mental Health Advocate: Kerry Hammell
Seniors’ Champion: Marlene Jordan
Youth Volunteer: Ryver Santos Cegnar
And for the last award of the day, Carol Chapman was named the 2020 Hero of the Year.
Chapman was recognized as a Community Builder by the City of Campbell River all the way back in 2008, and she certainly hasn’t slowed down since then.
And yet she refuses to take credit for her efforts.
“We couldn’t do what we do without all the amazing residents who live in this community. This is for all the people of Campbell River,” Chapman says, lifting her statue in the air, “and for everyone who tries to make a difference. We can make a difference one person at a time. I love my Campbell River and everybody that makes it happen. My heart and soul is in this community and I’m very, very blessed.”
And while only one person could be named the top honour in each category, Ciastkowski says everyone who was named a finalist – and everyone who was nominated, in fact – is a hero in their own right, for doing what they can to make a positive impact on the world around them.