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Posted: October 18, 2016

First Game Changer Awards a great success

Individuals and groups from throughout the East Kootenay honoured for moving their community forward

It was an enjoyable night for all who attended the Kootenay Game Changer Awards this past Saturday, at the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino.

Danielle Cardozo
Danielle Cardozo

The sellout event was a collaboration of local media (Total Country B104, The Kootenay’s Best Rock The Drive; e-KNOW; and Black Press), who took the opportunity to honor individuals throughout the Kootenays for their forward thinking efforts to move each of their communities forward.

“It was a successful evening, with close to 200 individuals in attendance,” said Danielle Cardozo, Chair of the Kootenay Game Changers. “We are excited about the success of the event. Everyone enjoyed their evening, which started with humor and ended with a standing ovation for our Unsung Hero.”

The event honored 45 nominees for the creativity and innovation they brought to their respective communities. Fourteen awards were given out throughout the evening, but a common theme repeated itself during each acceptance speech.

e-KNOW owner/publisher Carrie Schafer
e-KNOW owner/publisher Carrie Schafer

“You could see the appreciation of each nominee, and not a single award recipient failed to acknowledge how deserving each nominee was,” stated e-KNOW publisher Carrie Schafer. “It was a heartfelt and emotional evening of appreciation. We are proud to have been part of such a heartwarming event.”

In the true spirit of honoring the Kootenays, St. Eugene Chef Ronny Belkin and his team created a meal from products sourced from local producers, such as Cutter Ranch, Kootenay Meadows, 3 Crows Farm, Fort Steele Farm, and the Kimberley City Bakery.

“It was a real ode to the Kootenays,” added Leo Baggio, General Manager of B104 and The Drive. “It was another great example of what incredible talent we have in our region, from the producers who raised and grew the food, to the chefs who created the meal with the excellent products. We are thankful to St. Eugene for hosting the event and all of the businesses who supported the first ever success.”

The 14 recipients of the first ever Kootenay Game Changer Awards included:

YOUTH GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Mister Tire

game-changer-1-youth-impactYOUTH IMPACT CENTRE

Youth Impact Centre is being recognized for their work with local youth, in the areas of mentorship, and the health and wellness of local youth. The Youth Impact Centre has provided opportunity for youth to engage in recreation, cooking classes, and career preparation. They have engaged youth in creative initiatives such as Amazing Race Cranbrook and an upcoming trip to WE Day Alberta!

EDUCATION GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by College of the Rockies

game-changer-2-marlene-driscollMARLENE DRISCOLL

Marlene Driscoll is being recognized for her dedication and creativity in gaining emotional investment from her students within the education system. After 30 years within the system, Marlene, pictured left, never ceases to come up with new ideas to engage students and community. She has combined her love for her students, her Ojibwa heritage, and the environment to spear head projects such as a school greenhouse, a recycling program, an outdoor classroom, and an environmental club; and most recently a community garden at Lindsay Park Elementary School. She and her daughter are hosts to each the local school events, National Aboriginal Day and the Ten Thousand Villages sale.

HEALTH & WELLNESS GAME CHANGER -Sponsored by Re/Max Blue Sky Realty

game-changer-3-cranbrook-food-actionCRANBROOK FOOD ACTION COMMITTEE

Cranbrook Food Action Committee is being recognized for their creative work on their Public Produce Garden, an initiative that provides a place for individuals with a gardening passion and individuals in need of produce a place to come together. They are the creators of Cranbrook’s first outdoor Farm to Fork Dinner, to raise awareness of food access issues.

FINANCE & ECONOMICS GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Brothers Insurance


The Downtown Business Association is being recognized for their collaborative efforts to support local economy. Initiatives have included being a collective voice for businesses to address shared issues experienced when doing business within the municipality. It is responsible for creative successful initiatives such as Black Friday, Shop Til You Drop, and many more that support the local economy.

GOVERNMENT GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Paulson Fire & Flood

game-changer-5-city-of-kimCITY OF KIMBERLEY

The City of Kimberley’s Economic Development Department is being recognized for their innovative and creative marketing efforts. Through the collaborative efforts led by Kevin Wilson, pictured left, and local Kimberley City businesses, Kimberley has increased the look, feel, and visitor numbers in Kimberley. Last year, their efforts made quite a stir when they posted their now famous Junction signage letting folks know that Good Times were in Kimberley, and that everything could be found in a different direction.

PROTECTIVE SERVICES GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Rella, Paolini, & Rogers

game-changer-6-street-angelsSTREET ANGELS

Street Angels is being recognized for their innovative approach towards individual and community safety. By providing holistic wrap around services that go beyond food and shelter, to provide emotional, mental, and physical health support, Street Angel has been able to improve the lives of individuals and the community. On a daily basis, their staff is put into a position to develop creative solutions to individual situations. They work collaboratively with a multitude of local businesses and organizations to meet the needs of the community.

FAMILY GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Ostash Exteriors


game-changer-7-community-connectionsCommunity Connections Society of Southeast BC is being recognized for their collaborative efforts that have allowed their organization to provide 16 different programs to local residents. Community Connections has helped to build a culture of collaboration within the community, so that clients come first and services are delivered efficiently. They are partners with the Cranbrook Food Action Committee and the Early Childhood Development Committee. They are also involved in community events such as Walk in a Mile in Her Shoes and the very successful annual Children’s Festival.

ARTS & CULTURE GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Ktunaxa Nation Council

game-changer-8-centre-64KIMBERLEY CENTRE 64

Kimberley Centre 64 is being recognized for its outstanding efforts in the community of Kimberley arts scene. Creativity and innovation are the backbone to the work their members have done to create or support events such as Kimberley Art Walk, Art on Deer Park, Symphony on the Mountain, Live at Studio 64, Kimberley Kaleidoscope Festival, and Kimberley First Saturdays. They have successfully worked to ensure that arts and culture have become part of Kimberley’s community culture as a whole.

FIRST NATIONS GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Teck Coal Ltd.

game-changer-9-robert-williamsROBERT WILLIAMS

Robert Williams is being recognized for his considerable efforts within his community of Aq’am. Williams work within the community span throughout language, culture, land, and economy. Robert, pictured left, is the owner of Tipi Mountain Native Plant Nursery, and Tipi Mountain Ecological Services; which service to preserve the land. He is a vital part of community camps, providing spiritual guidance and building traditional sweat lodges. He has been heavily involved in the Land Code process, which has given Aq’am the ability to dissolve parts of the Indian Act from their community.


Bill Swan of Groundswell Network
Bill Swan of Groundswell Network


The Groundswell Network Society is being recognized for their outstanding dedication and forward thinking efforts in the area of environmental sustainability. Groundswell has built a 300 sq. ft. greenhouse and a 12,000 sq. ft. permaculture garden beside David Thompson Secondary in Invermere. They have created over 100 courses, events, and programs through their organization. They are most proud of their grassroots Farm to Fork high school chef training program, which is sustained by the greenhouse and garden.

SPORTS & RECREATION GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Cranbrook Dodge


game-changer-10-elkford-mbBlaine and Jodi Borys, of Elkford Minor Ball, are being recognized for their outstanding dedication to establish a ball community in Elkford. In 2008, there was no Minor Ball organization in Elkford. Through creative initiatives and incredible effort, Blaine and his daughter Jodi, stepped up to create an organization and were able to raise the funds for significant work to be done on the existing unused diamonds. Nine years later, this past summer, Blaine coached the Elkford Thunder Girls U16 team to Provincial Gold. As a result of their work, the community renamed Elkford’s Elk Parks Ball Diamonds to the Blaine Borys Ball Diamonds.

TECHNOLOGY GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Genex Marketing

game-changer-11-mount-baker-roboticsMOUNT BAKER ROBOTICS TEAM

Led by Mount Baker Teacher, Bill Walker, the Mount Baker Robotics team is being recognized for it’s incredible achievements in technology. In particular, the past couple of years, this has included bronze, silver, and gold at the Provincial Robotics competition, and bronze twice at the national level. While their focus is technology, the team takes pride in take a collaborative team approach, which is why they believe they are successful.

TOURISM GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Fly Fusion Magazine

game-changer-12-tourism-radiumMUSIC & MARKET ON MAIN

Radium Hot Springs Music & Market on Main is being recognized for it’s creative ability to capture the tourism sector by combining the sectors of arts and economy. The weekly events in Radium, which was developed to entertain locals and tourists, has turned into a significant attraction in the downtown of Radium. In it’s tenth year, it has been able to continuously grow, and now garners a crowd of up to 600 people each Friday night.

UNSUNG HERO GAME CHANGER – Sponsored by Jim Pattison


Kootenay Game Changer AwardsTom White is being recognized for his coaching efforts within the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club and his work to create the successful annual Charity Boxing Challenge. Through his coaching he has been able to positively change the lives of the individuals he has trained. Now in its fourth year, the creative and sought after Charity Boxing Challenge has provided entertainment, and more importantly multiple families with support leading up to the holiday season. Tom is known in the community for providing support for community groups and events.

Lead image: Tom White, right, was presented the Unsung Hero Game Changer award by Leo Baggio, General Manager of B104 and The Drive. Carrie Schafer/e-KNOW photos


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