The Nelson Regional Sports Council helped celebrate the volunteer efforts of 10 people by presenting them with Community Sport Hero Awards at a ceremony held in the Adventure Hotel.

Nelson honours 10 sports heroes

The Nelson Regional Sports Council helped celebrate the volunteer efforts of 10 people by presenting them with awards.

Ten Nelsonites were honoured on Friday night as part of National Sports Day in Canada.

The Nelson Regional Sports Council helped celebrate the volunteer efforts of  theses 10 people by presenting them with  Community Sport Hero Awards at a ceremony held in the Adventure Hotel.

Sport makes up the largest part of the voluntary sector by virtue of some 34,000 organizations and 5.3 million volunteers in Canada.

“Tonight we honour 10 community sport heroes here in Nelson, each one who has a special story of their commitment to the community,” said Mari Plamondon, vice-chair of the NRSC.

As she announced the winners, Nelson Mayor John Dooley handed out the awards.

The 10 recipients are:


Bill and Joan Woikin — Special Olympics:

Bill and Joan are a team unto themselves. You couldn’t find better advocates for Special Olympics and their son Ryan and his many friends.

For as many years as their son Ryan participated in Special Olympic sports such as swimming, soccer, bocce and bowling Bill and Joan supported the local Special O group in Nelson in various ways including being board members for the last 27 years.

Sadly Ryan passed away two years ago but managed to attain the gold medal for swimming at Nationals in Ontario the year before.

Bill and Joan continue to dedicate themselves to the local club – and not just in spirit. Over the years fundraising has been their greatest contribution. Joan still continues to organize the annual bake sale and silent auction while both Bill and Joan regularly “Spin the Wheel” at Save On Foods on various weekends. However, their flagship event,  the annual Music in the Park in August, is in it’s 27th year, raising thousands of dollars in that time.

In recent years Bill and Joan keep threatening that each year will be the last – but they continue on nonetheless.


Larry Bickerton ­— Cyswog’n’ Fun, Climbing:

Larry has been involved with the Cyswog’n’fun Nelson Triathlon for 32 years either as a participant, race director or treasurer and has finally retired from being the race director. Larry really cares about this event and has done a marvelous job over the years. The event has been successful every year (baring some cold water temperatures which he can’t do much about).

As Larry’s track record will show, no one could accuse him of being idle. Besides the triathlon, Larry was an officiator in the swim club, coach in baseball, and VP and treasurer for the speed skating club.

Now, as a retired dentist he is as busy as ever with as much time dedicated to sport as ever. He is now championing the creation of the climbing wall at Selkirk College, helping to build the wall and set up the organization. He works tirelessly at his interests within the community.

Larry also enjoys climbing, hiking, cycling, surfing, cross country skiing and being in the great outdoors. He also enjoys traveling and usually combines travel with some sport activity. If you ever see Larry standing still – check to see if he is breathing.


Scott Jeffrey – Glacier Gymnastics:

Scott has been an active volunteer with the club for the past 10 years including roles as club president during a time of the club’s major organizational redevelopment process and facility construction renovation. Both major undertakings that Scott handled very energetically and graciously.

Scott participates in many other sports both personally and with his family Ailis Lawrence-Jeffery (an ex club president herself), son Christopher and daughter Victoria.

He is an active skier and climber and also volunteers his time with the Whitewater ski team and the Kootenay Climbing Association.

While this nomination is put forth for the work he’s done with the gymnastics society, he truly is community minded and has made a major impact in the development of sports facilities in Nelson that will have a positive impact on the community for years and years.

Glacier Gymnastics Club is proud of the work that’s been accomplished with our facility. We are even more proud to have Scott as President and are glad that he is being recognized through this award.



Morgan LeBlond — Swimming:

Even though Morgan has never seen herself as a sporty kind of person her volunteer efforts on behalf of the Neptune Swim Club belie her own notions of what a sporty person is and does.

As the real powerhouse and backbone of the Neptune’s club operations she is the first to advocate on it’s behalf. From website updates to team and board policies — and caringly talking to parents in-between she is truly involved in pretty much every aspect of the club.

On top of this she raises four daughters and home-schools two of them part time.

With husband Paul being chair of the Neptunes and all four daughters Neptune swimmers it is not hard to imagine the conversation around their dinner table. Extending that family affair into the community is a sure way for a thriving community to continue — and with Morgan at the helm, it cannot fail.


Dorothy Hatto — Dragon Boating:

Dorothy Hatto epitomizes “SportsWomanShip”.

As president, paddler, boat repairer, coach, steersperson extraordinaire and executive member Dorothy has done everything needed to keep a big boat on the water, ensuring that the boat is moving (and in the right direction), and that members are participating on and off the water.

The real magic of Dorothy however, comes from who she is and how she makes everyone around her feel. People that spend time with Dorothy, feel good-not just about themselves, and where they are at now- but she makes us feel good about our potential, about our possibilities as individuals and as members of a club that connect through sport.

The KRD vision is “Empowerment, Health and Wellbeing for all Women”. Dorothy encourages us to challenge ourselves and try. Give it a go. Many of the KRD members (80 women ranging in age from 30 to 85 ) have felt Dorothy’s magic….we have grown positively because of her confidence in us as women, as team members and as dragon-boaters!


Chris Kolmel — Kayaking and Canoeing:

In 1996 Chris decided to parlay his enthusiasm for kayaking into something he could share with the community. Like most trailblazers, he started with a simple plan; with some of his own kayaks and lots of previous experience under his belt, he held roll sessions in the pool and on the lake, and taught paddling classes.

In 2002 he teamed up with veteran paddlers Dave Knox, Laurie Knox, and Rich Milde, and formed Nelson Kayak and Canoe Club. However, not being one to rest on the legacy of starting the club Chris carried on and remained very active with the club, single-handedly registering and orienting new-comers and returnees, and being the de-facto club representative – all this happening in and around his jewellery business.

Nearly 20 years later, the club is what it is today; a thriving organization that, in partnership with the Nelson District Community Complex, gives the entire community (upwards of 100 paddlers a day) access to our beautiful lake with kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes. One wonders where we might be if a dedicated and passionate paddler named Chris Kolmel hadn’t started churning up the water nearly 20 years ago


Allison Sutherland – Curling:

Allison first entered into curling 18 years ago when she joined the Learn To Curl Program in Nelson. She embraced curling with such zest that she joined two leagues the following season and from that point on, the Nelson Curling Club had found one of its’ strongest volunteers.

Allison has never hesitated to “step up to the plate” to volunteer for whatever job needed to be done. She has done this with strong organizational and communication skills; all this while managing her own business.

Her commitment to the sport of curling is clearly visible through the countless hours she puts in; from painting walls to president of the club, she really has done it all. In recent years, the curling club has seen a steady decline of participation in the sport; Allison has been determined to increase membership through a very solid marketing plan. This plan has taken hours of work as she lays out the promotional material for all leagues.

In Allison’s other life, she is married and has a son. She also enjoys skiing, kayaking and hiking .

Allison, is a committed volunteer, in every sense of the word. She is someone who knows how to get the job done and has been an incredible asset to the club.


Tony Musa — Gentlemen’s Hockey League:

Tony Musa has been the driving force behind a very successful Gentleman’s Hockey League in Nelson that has been thriving for over 25 years. Tony ensures that the league is both financially viable and participant strong. Tony also runs the Nelson Brewing Company team which has been in existence for over 25 years and going strong thanks to Tony’s tireless commitment to fees and players.

The Friday night drop-in hockey that has allowed numerous adults (Nelson newcomers or gents looking for hockey )to get involved in the hockey scene in Nelson is also down to Tony.

But that is not all Tony does, he is very involved in a co-ed slo-pitch team, floor hockey, as well as being an accomplished long distance runner. All this while teaching in Salmo, raising three children and being a great husband.

It is also true however, that Tony’s wife Leona also deserves a huge pat on the back too, since Tony would be the first to say how much work she adds to the mix too.

If you asked anyone who has come into contact with Tony to describe him they would say he is genuinely nice, hard working, selfless, caring and somebody you are happy to be around.


Louise Poole — Nordic Ski:

Louise has been a member of the Nelson Nordic Ski Club since 1997. She was a very active parent when her child went through the programs at the club (fundraising, driving, assisting in coaching, etc.) but she continued with volunteering long after her child left the program. She has organized the Kootenay Cup race in Nelson for the last 10 years and has been a director and Co-Chair for the past three years.

Her valuable skill of securing $5000 equipment grants extends the ability for children ski development to occur at the club.

Without her dedication to tasks like hiring coaches and promoting coaching Nordic sport development would fall short in Nelson.

Her real life job of working in schools promoting health and nutrition is a testament to her life commitment as an excellent role model for sport for life. If Louise isn’t volunteering she’s probably skiing, cycling or competing in triathlons. Poole could not be at the ceremony so her award was accepted by Nancy Quackenbush.


Shane Johnsen — Skateboarding:

If you’ve had the pleasure of going to the Nelson Outdoor Skatepark, you’ve witnessed the incredible result of over a decade worth of literal blood, sweat and tears.

The long, arduous process of securing funding, support and a permanent location would not have been successful without the commitment of an amazing group of devoted volunteers, the Kootenay Lake Outdoor Skatepark Society (KLOSPS). At the helm of this group was the dedicated Shane Johnsen, owner of Tribute Boardshop, Baker Street.

Without Shane’s immense love for skateboarding, the skatepark project would have never come to fruition.

Shane’s support and love for the skate community continues to evolve, dedicating time outside of work to hosting events at the outdoor park, fundraising for the indoor skatepark and making sure young, talented local skateboarders and snowboarders are getting the recognition and support that they deserve.

Johnsen was unable to attend the ceremony so Kim Palfenier accepted the award for him.


One final award:

While there were only supposed to be 10 awards handed out at the event, there was one special presentation made.

Kim Palfenier, executive director of the Nelson Regional Sports Council was honoured for her years of dedicated service.

“Our final award tonight is presented to a person who is tireless in giving, who tackles every task with a sense of humour and a smile… not only has this person dedicated  most of her life to coaching and sports, she has such a love for sports and what sporting activity means to individuals and community she went back to school to get her Masters Degree,” said Plamondon about Palfenier.

After a standing ovation, an emotional Palfenier made a brief speech.

“I do have a very deep love for this community and for the difference sports makes in our lives,” she said noting that when she was younger, sports had a deep impact on her life. She told the crowd that she had been a runaway as a child and program, like KidSport, paid for her to take part in sports.

“And so, I’m very passionate about what sport can do for you.”

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