Jayme Fowler, Beaver Valley CRN Coordinator, is the recipient of this year’s Village of Montrose Community Service Award. Regional Mentor Heather von Ilberg sent the announcement to the BC CRN with the praise, “She works tirelessly for people in her community”. The award was a complete surprise to Jayme when the Mayor called to inform her that she had won. She reached out via email to her close community friends and colleagues saying, “I am very touched, and wanted you all to know that you all helped me to achieve this with your compassion, advice, strength and guidance”.
The Community Service Award, an initiative of the Village of Montrose, used to be presented annually but the last one was in 2019 due to Covid. Usually awarded in June, there was doubt that the award would be revived this year but the Montrose Council decided to bring it back in the early Fall. The Mayor called and presented it to Jayme in late October. At the time of our interview, it is still unknown as to who nominated her.
Smaller communities were hit harder during the pandemic as most community and government operations are primarily volunteer driven. Jayme feels it is harder to find enough volunteers to support the various community organizations, saying that the pandemic caused a shift in people’s usual habits and activities – either shifting away to more independent activities or not coming back from isolation at all, leaving many of the same people to help run most of the various community initiatives.
Jayme wholeheartedly supports her community and the surrounding area by working and volunteering on many committees through the Columbia Seniors Wellness Society, the Beaver Valley CRN, the Montrose Recreation Commission, and the Rossland Figure Skating Club.
Located in the heart of the West Kootenays, near Trail, Beaver Valley BC is shared by the communities of Fruitvale, Area A and Montrose. The Beaver Valley CRN serves both communities, housed under the Columbia Seniors Wellness Society. The Society was started in 2019 by a local group of people (including Jayme) for seniors in the valley area to address isolation and generally help anyone in need. From the start, the Society has been steadily moving towards a social enterprise model with strong community support.
Among the many events and activities offered by the Society in partnership with the CRN, they began a campaign in 2020 called “Christmas Cheer for Seniors Near” where they identified nearby seniors who lived alone or isolated outside the immediate towns. In the campaign’s first year, community volunteers and students from Heart & Soul Taekwondo helped put together 150+ Christmas gift bags that were delivered by a local paramedic “Santa” in an ambulance. Over the years various local organizations have participated in delivering these packages with the U15 West Kootenay Crusaders Hockey Team scheduled to do the honours for over 200 recipients this season.