Outreach by South Okanagan Division to Local Hospice
Toronto Division members will remember C/Supt. Kevin Harrison formerly i/c IMET in Toronto who spearheaded South Okanagan’s charity project.News in the Osoyoos Times of the giving back by South Okanagan Division, RCMPVA to their community.
Representatives of the Osoyoos RCMP Detachment and the RCMP Veteran’s Association – South Okanagan Division presented $13,800 on Thursday to the Desert Valley Hospice Society. The money was raised at the RCMP Regimental Ball held in Osoyoos at the end of September. From left are Lois Harrison, of the ball committee; Jack Becker, ball committee member; Bea Becker, ball committee member; Kevin Harrison, retired RCMP superintendent, DVHS board member and Osoyoos Area Director of the RCMP Veteran’s Association; Pat Wycherley, DVHS board member also involved in the ball planning; Sgt. Jason Bayda, commanding officer of the Osoyoos RCMP Detachment; Joyce Cronmiller, ball committee member; Ted Cronmiller, retired RCMP sergeant, past president of the Veteran’s Association and a ball committee member; Donna Gordan, executive director of DVHS; and Max Uhlemann, DVHS board member. (Richard McGuire photo)
Shoppers Drug Mart Osoyoos presented a cheque for $6,235 to Desert Valley Hospice Society (DVHS) on Thursday. The money was raised through donations by customers between September and October under the drug store chain’s Growing Women’s Health program. Pictured from left are Savannah Skin, cashier manager at Osoyoos Shoppers, who was captain of the program; Steven Hopp, owner and pharmacist; Donna Gordan, executive director of DVHS; Fiona Wood, secretary with the DVHS board; Kevin Harrison, DVHS board director; Max Uhlemann, DVHS board director; and Pat Wycherley, DVHS board director. (Richard McGuire photo)
The Desert Valley Hospice Society (DVHS) received a boost Thursday from two community fundraising events that took place in the fall.
The Osoyoos RCMP Detachment and RCMP Veterans’ Association (South Okanagan Division) handed over $13,800 raised at the Sept. 30 RCMP Regimental Ball.
Just prior to that, Shoppers Drug Mart Osoyoos gave a cheque for $6,235 that was raised between September and October through the drugstore chain’s Growing Women’s Health program.
Steven Hopp, owner and pharmacist at the store, said the store has been running its charity campaign since 2002 and DVHS has been the recipient for about seven years.
He believes this year’s contribution, in which customers donate at the till, is the biggest ever for the store.
Savannah Skin, head cashier, was also on hand for the presentation. She was captain of this year’s program, which until three years ago was called Tree of Life.
The program was run over four weeks and customers who contributed had an “icon” posted in the store depending whether they contributed one, five, 10 or 50 dollars – a leaf, butterfly, apple or bird respectively.
“We feel Desert Valley Hospice is an exceptionally worthy charity,” said Hopp.
He noted that although the store’s program is now called Growing Women’s Health and DVHS helps the terminally ill of both genders, there are almost always women impacted.
“I think especially in a community like this with the type of population we have and the demographics, hospice care is extremely underfunded,” said Hopp. “It can really make a difference in our community to everybody.”
Kevin Harrison is the retired RCMP superintendent who spearheaded the regimental ball as Osoyoos Area Director of the RCMP veterans. He’s also a board member with DVHS.
He said one of the reasons that DVHS was chosen as the charity for the regimental ball is that several DVHS board members also have RCMP veteran connections.
Board member Pat Wycherley is the daughter of an RCMP veteran.
Ted Cronmiller, another board member, is a retired RCMP sergeant and was previously the local director of the RCMP veterans.
And Harrison is also involved with both groups.
“By all accounts, the ball was absolutely great,” Harrison said. “We are receiving lots of positive feedback to the extent that people are telling us we should do it again next year.”
Because of the amount of work involved, Harrison said another ball would likely have to wait a few years. He suggests that the 150th anniversary of the RCMP in 2023 might be an appropriate occasion.
Harrison said he’s very pleased with the $13,800 raised for DVHS at the event and noted that it comes from the generosity of the business community and private citizens.
Money was raised through silent and live auctions as well as ticket sales.
Sgt. Jason Bayda, commanding officer with the Osoyoos RCMP Detachment, said it was Harrison who brought the idea for the ball to him.
“These things take a tremendous amount of work, so it wasn’t something that I couldn’t even think of doing on my own here,” said Bayda. “But with them (the RCMP veterans) bringing it up and with them really leading the charge and needing very little from me, I knew it would be doable. It was a great cause and something that I was able to jump on right away. My job with this was easy. I just followed them and rode their coattails. It ended up being a tremendous success, so I’m really proud of the work that they did.”
The last regimental ball in Osoyoos was organized 15 years ago by Cronmiller, Bayda said.
Donna Gordan, executive director of DVHS, said the donations would help the society to operate and expand the programs that provide end-of-life care to the terminally ill and also help family members both as caregivers and later in bereavement. RICHARD McGUIRE Osoyoos Times