With a single rose, certificate of recognition, kind words from speakers and congratulations from Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon, 10 women from around the Nicola Valley were honoured for their contributions to the community.

On March 7, in celebration of International Women’s Day, about 90 people gathered at the Civic Centre to pay tribute to the 10 honourees: Cecilia Dumont, Elaine Grant-Gill, Judy Hatoum, Sandra Haynes, May Moses, Bobbi Parkes, Stayce Rogers, Donna Smith, Sue Sterling and Melvina White.

The evening began with a half-hour performance by the Nicola Valley Community Band followed by Guichon’s entrance, which included drumming from the Nlaka’pamux nation drummers.

The old saying “a woman’s work is never done” rang true that night — honouree Elaine Grant-Gill also catered the event.

Each honouree was introduced by a friend or family member who prepared a few words to say about them.

May Moses was called first. Moses, 91, is probably best known for her roots in ranching in the area.

Stayce Rogers, a mother of three, has used her jobs to serve children, youth and women ministries and she is connected to a mission based in Guatemala.

Judy Hatoum has been involved in various Parent Advisory Committee events, and helped fundraise for, design and build a local playground.

Honouree Sandra Haynes has served as a nurse in remote areas of Canada.

Sue Sterling is a woman with many titles. She’s the current president of the Rotary Club of Merritt Sunrise, president of Nicola Valley Therapy, treasurer for the BC Aboriginal Childcare Society, a board member of the aboriginal steering committee for the human early learning partnership research team at UBC, and a mother of three.

Melvina White is the owner of the Merritt Desert Inn and serves as vice president of Tourism Nicola Valley and volunteers with the Merritt and District Chamber of Commerce.

Bobbi Parks is director of Ask Wellness operations in Merritt and has not only helped people with health and housing issues, but also worked with youth at risk as the co-ordinator of the youth mural project in Merritt.

Mother of four Donna Smith was active in sports organizations such as the Nicola Valley Figure Skating Club, Merritt Minor Hockey and coached girls soccer when her children were young. Today, she works part-time with people with special needs at the Ska-Lu-La workshop in the life skills program.

In addition to catering the event, Elaine Grant-Gill is also the president of the Nicola Valley Kennel Club. She’s a member of the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo and Merritt Minor Hockey Association and works at Merritt Secondary School.

Cecilia Dumont works at the Community Policing Office as a volunteer no less than two days a week for about three hours a day, and has been volunteering at Gillis House for the past 19 years three times per week.

Prior to presenting the awards, Guichon made a speech to the crowd.

Guichon said there is still much to improve for the lives of women around the world and in Canada, noting the recent release of the Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry by Attorney General Wally Oppal.

“There are many recommendations in that report yet to be acted upon,” Guichon said, “so there is still much for us women to accomplish. We have come so very far and we in Canada are much, much more fortunate than [women] in so many parts of the world.”

This year is the 10th year the Nicola Valley Women in Action society has hosted an International Women’s Day celebration.

Nicola Valley Women in Action is a voluntary society of individuals who are concerned about conditions facing women and families.