The Regional District of East Kootenay recently recognized two more 2019 Volunteers of the Year as Kevin Higgins was honoured in Area C, while Cam Gillies was honoured in Area F.

Kevin Higgins was recognized for his service with various community groups and organizations but also for taking the wildfire risk into his own hands. In his rural community, Higgins collected contact information and personal information from all of his neighbour in a five-kilometre radius, also creating a list of available firefighting equipment to create a channel of information should an emergency arise.

“Beyond just having a list and sharing information, Kevin and his wife Bev also host an annual social gathering so that the neighbours can get together in person, which has really helped strengthen the sense of community in his area,” said Rob Gay, RDEK Electoral Area C Director. “Since moving to Area C from Ontario 13 years ago, Kevin has made an incredible impact in his community, across the East Kootenay and beyond.”

Higgins also created the East Kootenay chapter of Prostate Cancer Canada, serving on both the B.C. and National Boards to support individuals and families facing surgical and medical treatment options, after his own personal journey with prostate cancer.

Amongst his other volunteer duties, Higgins is the Building Manager for Cranbrook Community Theatre and given time to service with Emergency Support Services, the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo, and BC Seniors Games.

Meanwhile, in Area F, Cam Gillies was honoured for his dedicated volunteerism across the Columbia Valley.

“One of his nominators summed it up best when they said that Cam exemplifies volunteerism as he puts in over 1,000 hours of his time each year to support countless community efforts,” said Susan Clovechok, RDEK Electoral Area F Director. “What makes his contribution that much more incredible is that he gives so much while operating a small business and raising a young family.”

Chair of the Technical Review Committee for the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund, volunteer director for the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club, and Invermere Branch Director for Wildsight, Gillies also volunteers in various capacities with the Wings Over the Rockies Bird Festival and the Wild and Scenic Film Fest.

Other volunteer accolades for Gillies include his involvement with the Columbia Valley Hut Society, Nordic Ski Youth Development Program, Columbia Valley Electric Vehicle Carshare, Lake Windermere Whiteway, and the Columbia Valley Radon Awareness Program.

“Cam is a tireless volunteer and a wonderful example of what a difference one person can make,” added Clovechok. “He is known for his kindness, positivity and ability to be focused on creating solutions, all of which help build a sense of community and empower others to get involved.”

Gillies and Higgins were both honoured at their respective Electoral Area F and Electoral Area C Town Hall Meetings in Windermere and Cranbrook.

Cam Gillies (L) is presented with gifts of appreciation by two of the skiers he coaches, Carly Nickurak (LC) and Kate Hale (RC), and Area F Director Susan Clovechok (R) after being recognized as the 2019 RDEK Electoral Area F Volunteer of the Year. (Supplied by Regional District of East Kootenay)