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Jim Hurtado – 2011 Road Rescue Volunteer of the Year!

1 Jun

Jim Hurtado has been a volunteer with the Vanderhoof Volunteer Extrication Association (VVEA) since its inception in 1978.

He has played an integral role in the VVEA as a volunteer, donating hundreds of hours to support training and fundraising to ensure the association’s viability and substantial growth under his leadership.

The costs of purchasing and maintaining equipment are substantial, but Jim has secured funding to replace the road rescue truck three times, most recently in September 2010.

Jim possesses a great deal of compassion for his fellow volunteers. No matter what the call was, Jim was there to greet the team that had ventured out – invariably on bad roads, at any time of the day or night. He was also ever-present to meet the team after they returned to the fire hall following calls, knowing that moral support was a vital part of ensuring volunteer responders were okay.

Jim recently retired from the VVEA, so it is only fitting to recognize his 31 years of dedicated volunteer service. Jim Hurtado is the 2011 Road Rescue Volunteer of the Year.


Wayne Salewski: Hometown Hero!

31 May

“Stewards Conserve, Restore, and Protect”

This is a perfect description of Wayne Salewski, Volunteer Vanderhoof’s nominee for Earth Day Canada’s Hometown Hero. Wayne was a top three finalist for the prestigious award, a huge honour in environmental circles in Canada.

Wayne sees himself as part of the ‘grey to green’ generation: recently retired from a career in forestry and fire management, Wayne is busier than ever in Vanderhoof with various stewardship projects.

Wayne is the leader on the Murray Creek Rehabilitation project. His vision for the project came to him 25 years ago when his children couldn’t catch a rainbow trout in the creek; at that time, Wayne knew something was wrong and committed to do something about it.  The project is focussed on improving land and agriculture management practices and undertaking stream restoration in the Murray Creek watershed, a small watershed that is a tributary to the Nechako River.

The Murray Creek project is the first visible program in this region to introduce water stewardship needs and practices to the agricultural community. It is demonstrating that stewardship practices are not onerous because of time and expense but rather an important program that will continue to give this industry the social license to operate on the land base.  This project has engaged community politicians and leaders, creating opportunities for discussion at public gatherings as this idea is advanced to include adjacent streams and watersheds.

Wayne has led a number of projects that involve local school students including the Nest Box Project for Birds, Salmonoids in the Classroom, an archery program, the Murray creek stream rehab project and the White Sturgeon Recovery Program.

Wayne was instrumental in creating working partnerships with government agencies, universities and organizations like the Fraser Basin Council that are united in moving forward these types of programs because of his success with Murray Creek.

Recently Ducks Unlimited partnered with Vanderhoof Fish and Game Club, with Wayne as the project leader, to purchase the Redmond Pit Wetlands, west of Vanderhoof. He wants these partnerships to continue and sees the opportunity to do further work in wetland areas including those adjacent to McLeod and NVSS. He would like to build teaching and viewing platforms in this wetland area. The School District Board has expressed its appreciation for Wayne’s work and dedication in making so many “hands on” learning experiences happen for district students.

As a director of the BC Wildlife Federation, Wayne is the provincial Chair of the Enbridge file for BCWF and spokesperson regarding the Enbridge Pipeline project.  His passion for protecting the environment was evident when he spoke at the panel sessions for consultation on the northern pipeline project stating, “We have concerns about the ability to move this oil across this province and up and down our coastline and want to state that we will not accept one spill or accident that damages the heritage for our children. We’ve all seen how quickly these events change our environment and it’s simply not acceptable.”

“I’m very proud to be a British Columbian, I’m very proud of the environment that we have and I’m very proud of the heritage that we have in this province.”

Vanderhoof agrees with you Wayne.  Congratulations – you are truly our Home Town Hero!

Volunteer Vanderhoof, the organization that nominated Wayne Salewski for the Hometown Hero Award, National Earth Day awards is part of a larger community initiative, the Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces Program (WICWP) Demonstration Project, funded through the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia. The WICWP project is facilitated by the Good Neighbours Committee represented by the District of Vanderhoof, Saik’uz First Nations, Regional District Bulkley Nechako, Area ‘F’, the College of New Caledonia – Nechako, School District No 91 and the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce.  Part of The GNC mandate, as supported by the WICWP, is to live in community that is welcoming and inclusive. A welcoming and inlcusive community promotes the full participation of all residents in the soical, cultural and economic life of the region without discrimination. For further information on the Good Neighbours Committee and the WICWP Demonstration Project,

Way to go, Dave Carpenter!

30 Apr

Local resident Dave Carpenter is an honest resident who did the right thing! While working for the District of Vanderhoof, Dave found a wallet containing a significant amount of cash.  Dave immediately contacted the phone number found in the wallet, and provided peace of mind to a local low-income resident.

Way to go Dave!

See the full story here.

Royal Family Connection to Vanderhoof

28 Apr

While the Royal nuptials are in the news, I want to share Vanderhoof’s connection to the Royal family.

Our very own Jerry Petersen, Regional District of Bulkley Nechako Area F Director, was a recipient of the Commemorative Medal for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee.

The awarding of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002 recognised Jerry for his outstanding and exemplary service to our community and region.

Congratulations Jerry and thank you for all you do!

Vanderhoof’s Greg Kodila is Murray Ridge’s Ski Patroller of the Year – Again!

14 Apr

Greg has been one of the volunteer patrollers at Murray Ridge since 2008, and this year, he was voted Ski Patroller of the Year by his peers for the second time. The first time was during the 2008-09 season, Greg’s first year as a patroller. This year, it was a tight race, but he managed to earn top spot again.

“His strengths are his commitment, his willingness to help others, his dedication to constantly improving his first aid skills, his expert skiing technique and his friendly and outgoing nature,” says Alex Michaels. For full story see the Caledonia Courier.

Well done Greg!

Nechako Valley Secondary Wins Green Award

13 Apr

NVSS leaves competition green with envy. Out of 139 projects from 39 School Districts, NVSS’s ‘Enviro-Vikes’ were one of 10 high school teams in BC – and the only secondary in the northern half of the province – to win a 2011 BC Green Games Award from Science World. Congrats!

David Martens and Sons Recognized by Superintendents Association

9 Apr

David Martens and Sons has been recognized by the BC School Superintendents Association for its role in supporting and hosting Project Agriculture. Project Agriculture is a career awareness opportunity for students throughout the school district. It is an excellent example of how early learning can be personalized based on student interest. Participants receive hands-on exposure to the many aspects and opportunities in agriculture in the Nechako Valley, the second largest forage producing area in British Columbia. For the past 20 years, community members have volunteered their time and resources to showcase agriculture as a valuable resource in our region, and the province.

The Martens family will receive the award on behalf of all those who have contributed to Project Agriculture. It will be presented during a banquet in Vancouver on April 20, 2011. The only other person to receive the award this year is artist Robert Bateman.

The BCSSA Award of Recognition is presented to individuals and organizations for their contributions made to enhance public school education in British Columbia. The contribution may be of a local nature (i.e., to a specific district or districts) or of a general nature which has had a province-wide impact.

Well done!