Nicola Valley Women in Action honours eight locals

By on March 8, 2018
(From left, names of 2018 honourees in bold) Keri Cook, Jody Loewen, Felicity Peat, Rena Jones, Carrie Ware, Becky Puterbough, Ariel Swayze, Pam Reimer, Melissa Pinyon and Lisa DeWinter-Garcia. Missing: Krista Minar. (Photo contributed)


For the fourteenth year in a row, the Nicola Valley Women in Action (NVWIA) group marked International Women’s Day by recognizing the accomplishments of eight local women.

“It’s my impression that many of the women who have been nominated are often behind the scenes,” explained Megan Fulcher, NVWIA board member and spokesperson.

The NVWIA group took nominations from the public before settling on this year’s honourees, who come from diverse backgrounds — from accounting, to personal training, to teaching.

While many of the nominees are involved in ambitious business or community-based endeavours, Fulcher said one trend throughout the nomination process was that women were recognized for the small but meaningful interactions they had with their peers on a day to day basis.

“It’s not necessarily grand gestures. It’s those small moments that happen every day,” said Fulcher. “It’s the smaller moments that have the bigger impact.”

Here are this year’s NVWIA honourees, along with a snippet describing why they were recognized.

Keri Cooke: “works with Ask Wellness and is always a pleasure to be around. She is always prepared and on top of her game, and when  something needs to be done she pitches in and helps complete it.”

Carrie Ware: is “involved in various community projects — she donates time and money to various causes, is a big part of organizing the Country Christmas Parade and has co-authored a book about inspirational women.”

Felicity Peat: “works hard to offer public programming to our community, she is aware of and addresses accessibility difficulties and is a great boss who welcomes and encourages creativity and pitches in to see a ‘brainstorm’ come to life.”

Lisa DeWinter-Garcia: “Lisa single-handedly kept the outdoor rink open throughout the winter for the last two seasons — she opened and closed the rink, operated the lights and ensured safety standards were met. She is also a long standing volunteer and organizer for Merritt ball that keeps those diamonds busy all spring and summer.”

Rena Jones: is a home care nurse with the Scw’exmx Community Health Services Society. In the words of her nominator: “she is a fearless Scottish lassie who has inspired me to let my light shine.”

Becky Puterbough: is “a Grade 6 teacher from Diamond Vale Elementary who invests extra time with students, and with the school’s leadership group. She was a major part of the movement to sponsor and support Syrian refugees in their relocation to Merritt.”

Ariel Swayze: is “a hard working advocate for environmental protection through her work at Highland Valley Copper, who lives a healthy lifestyle and motivates others to as well through her online fitness group, personal training, and kickboxing classes.”

Krista Minar: “She is a mother, firefighter and a personal trainer  who is new to our community but already making a difference. She brought us the 2018 Health & Wellness Fair, three-hour fitness challenge, body love scholarship and a sizeable donation for the Nicola Valley Food Bank.”

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