For two hours, Mollie Bono waited to hear her name called.
Bono, a Vernon School District trustee, was a finalist in the Community Builder category in the second annual Morning Star Community Leader awards.
Bono was the last to have her name called, as she was named the winner of the evening’s biggest honour, the Leader of the Year.
“I was absolutely shocked,” said Bono, who accepted her award at the gala evening, hosted by The Morning Star at Durali Villa. “I’m very humbled to be recognized like this.”
Bono has many roles in the community: educator, storyteller, activist, feminist, artist and grandmother. With Canada undergoing an important process with First Nations communities, Bono – a member of the Okanagan nation – is an important local bridge between cultures in this very necessary journey towards truth and reconciliation.
The Community Leader Awards were created to recognize and honour the commitments and efforts that are essential to the North Okanagan’s growing communities.
The response from the community was overwhelming again this year for the awards with more than 70 nominations.
“I would like to thank all of our community partners for all their efforts, including pouring over all the nominations and then selecting the 31 outstanding honourees,” said Morning Star publisher Ian Jensen. “The selection process was not an easy task with so many deserving individuals.
Coach: Schelley McRae, Vernon and Lumby Figure Skating Clubs;
Mentor: Geordy Reid, counsellor, Charles Bloom Secondary School, Lumby;
Courage: Katie Moore, Kindale Developmental Association;
Above and Beyond: Kelly Fehr, John Howard Society;
Emergency Service: Vernon Jubilee Hospital emergency department;
Service Organization Volunteer: Dr. Carmen Larsen, Kalamalka Rotary Club;
Volunteer: Nancy Wilde;
Youth Volunteer: Jacob Molitwenik;
Environmental Leader: Dr. Michael Carlson;
Community Builder: Bill Tarr.
The full list of nominees and winners, plus photos from the gala evening, will be presented in a special booklet that will appear in the June 18 edition of The Morning Star.
Photos and video from the event can be found at the Vernon Morning Star’s Facebook page.