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Kamloops residents recognized for serving the community

Eight people were honoured on Oct. 27 with the City of Kamloops Exemplary Service Award
exemplary service awards
The City of Kamloops Exemplary Service Awards — this one handed to Tara Holmes — acknowledge those who have made a difference in the community through their dedication of time and service. 

The City of Kamloops honoured eight resident with the City of Kamloops Exemplary Service Award. The award acknowledges those who have made a difference in the community through their dedication of time and service. 

The awards were presented in an Oct. 28 ceremony kept small to adhere with COVID-19 safety protocols and included presentations to three people nominated in 2020 as the pandemic prevented a ceremony from taking place last year.

The recipients and comments that accompany the awards:

Christopher Seguin (posthumously): Christopher was a man larger than life, with a drive, dedication, and love for all people. His commitment to the citizens of Kamloops was evident by the initiatives he spearheaded and the time he volunteered to help this community thrive. Christopher was instrumental in fundraising for many causes at Thompson Rivers University. He also donated to help create numerous scholarships and bursaries as he inspired so many others to give back to the community. The countless hours Christopher spent volunteering his time contributed to the success of Rotary Club initiatives, including food drives, family dinners at NorKam secondary and the Starfish backpack program. Christopher also volunteered with the United Way and the Kamloops Marathon and contributed during the 2017 wildfire response. He was a true embodiment of the volunteer spirit and we will remember him forever for it.

Shirley Philpot: Shirley has spent most of her career caring for others and gives her time and talents with passion and generosity. Born and raised in Kamloops, Shirly spent many years in Girl Guides as a participant and a leader, influencing countless young women. Shirley’s positive influence also extends to hundreds of university students at Thompson Rivers University who have participated in her course — Introduction to Community Service-Learning. Shirley’s volunteer time and energy has been spread to several local charities, most notably St. Johns Ambulance.

Tamara MacPherson Vukusic: In 2003, Kamloops received a wonderful addition to our community in the person of Tamara. In the few decades since she arrived in Kamloops with her family, Tamara has volunteered and inspired community-giving in many ways. She has shared her love for writing and poetry by volunteering time to support several reading programs, including School District 73’s one-to-one reading program and the Raise-a-Reader campaign. She organized Word Walk as part of the Unplug and Play program and created an app called Spark! and Spark Story Starters. Tamara is also a proud member of the Two Rivers Metis Society.
Most notably, in March 2020, as the pandemic began,Tamara started Sew the Curve, a collective of hundreds of seamsters from Kamloops and surrounding communities who made and distributed tens of thousands of masks, scrub caps, bags and headbands for front-line health-care workers, community service groups and vulnerable people. She saw a need in the community and she filled it, using her time, energy, talents and ability to organize, lead and inspire.

Aleece Laird: Aleece is owner and CEO of Amplify Consulting. Outside of that role, she is an active community member who is highly engaged as a community volunteer and often brings along her husband and sons to help. Aleece is a TRU alumna and mentors students in the business and economics programs. She enjoys providing insight to her career path and guidance to students. Currently, Aleece volunteers for the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, Marketplace Leaders and The Mustard Seed Kamloops. Aleece truly exemplifies the spirit of service and community with her dedication to volunteering for non-profit agencies, leading local and provincial associations and providing insight as a keynote speaker at multiple events.

Annette Glover: In her 40-plus years living in Kamloops, Annette has contributed enormously to the ongoing success of the BIG Little Science Centre. She formed the BIG Little Science Centre Society, which was provincially registered in 2002 and became a registered charitable organization in 2003. She is currently the society’s acting president. As a volunteer for the BIG Little Science Centre, Annette has helped with promotion, fundraising and volunteer recruitment.
Annette has volunteered with the Kamloops Festival of the Performing Arts for the past 20 years as vice-president and as president, which is her current position. Other organizations benefitting from Annette’s volunteer services include the United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo and the BC Interior Community Foundation. Annette has served as a SD73 board of education trustee and has been instrumental in creating the Gordon Core Scholarship for high school students.

Gisela Ruckert: Gisela has been volunteering in Kamloops for two decades, in which time she has spearheaded some incredible initiatives. Gisela was instrumental in bringing Caremongering to Kamloops when the pandemic struck and quickly connected those needing services to volunteers ready to provide support through the Neighbours 2 Neighbours network. She has also volunteered for Fair Vote Canada and founded the local chapter.
As a passionate leader of climate change and sustainability work, Gisela is a leading member in the Community Alliance for a Resilient Kamloops and a founder of Kamloops 350, along with its successor organization, Transition Kamloops. Transition Kamloops focuses on increasing local resilience and self-sufficiency in food, water, energy, culture and wellness. Gisela works tirelessly for the benefit of Kamloops and her enthusiasm and sense of humour are infectious.

Jan Antons: If there is an event being held in Kamloops, chances are Jan is involved. A compassionate advocate for sports, Jan leads and contributes to more voluntary organization events and programs than can be listed here today, providing opportunities for residents of all ages and abilities to participate in activities, including KidSport, hockey, football and lacrosse. Jan has also volunteered to support Paralympic sports. Jan is probably best known for volunteering as director of ceremonies and special events at the 2018 BC Winter Games. Jan’s leadership, dedication and professionalism are evident to all who have been privileged to work with him — and to countless more who have taken part in sport within Kamloops and beyond. 

Tara Holmes: Tara arrived in Kamloops in 1992 with a personal philosophy centred around community and giving back.
She’s been described as funny and passionately vocal, and as one who exemplifies community spirit through and through. When she is not busy connecting singles through her business, Where the Heart is Matchmaking Ltd., she finds the time to volunteer for several non-profit events, including Boogie the Bridge, RunClub, Rotary RibFest, Terry Fox Run, Operation Red Nose and many more.
Tara also severs as an emcee for charitable events and has been a voluntary mentor. Meeting new people is what Tara likes the most about volunteering. She truly believes in making a positive difference in Kamloops.

For a list of past recipients, visit the Exemplary Service Awards website.