For Gerran Thorhaug, owner and operator of Browns Socialhouse, Rotary International’s motto of “Service Above Self” rings true.
That’s why, when Kalamalka Rotary met Wednesday, Feb. 28, Thorhaug was named as Kalamalka Rotary’s Vocational Award recipient.
“It’s pretty overwhelming for me,” said Thorhaug after having numerous photos taken and interviews done prior to the luncheon. “I feel super humbled.”
According to Dave Deshane, Kalamalka Rotary’s vocational chair, the Vocational Service Award “recognizes an individual in the club or community that exemplifies outstanding professional achievement while maintaining high ethical standards.”
“Gerran is a worthy recipient of the Vocational Award as he demonstrates time after time his business’ commitment to the community,” added Kalamalka Rotary President Ryan Fairburn.
Thorhaug has been in the community for about four years, he said. Prior to moving to Vernon, he owned a restaurant in Terrace.
“It’s only fair that you give back. That has been my philosophy for the past 20 years,” Thorhaug said, noting his involvement in his community through the various restaurants he has owned.
“I think it’s really important that everyone understands they’re part of the Okanagan. You don’t need to be a business owner to make a difference in the community. I hope to be able to lead by example.”
Over the course of his four-year career as owner of Browns Socialhouse in the Village Green Mall, Thorhaug has been a stark supporter of the Starfish Pack Program, the Salvation Army Foodbank, the Upper Room Mission and the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation, among others.
To celebrate Canada’s 150th, Thorhaug asked the community to nominate people who were giving back to the community through volunteerism with the intent to offer each nominee a $25 gift certificate. With the great response, Thorhaug donated more than $700 in certificates before putting all nominees’ names into a draw for a grand prize of $500.
That commitment to his community has begun to rub off on his daughter, his wife Sierra Harris said.
“Gerran is the man who purchases a bag of groceries or a hot meal for those in need, or stops on a busy street to pick up someone else’s litter,” Harris said. “He has raised the charitable bar in our house, inspiring me to donate what I can through my business, and even our daughter Stella is donating her ever-growing collection of Lego.”