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Sparwood sport heroes recognized

Sport Hero award recipients, and honured guests pose for a photo.  - Jenna Jensen
Sport Hero award recipients, and honured guests pose for a photo.
— image credit: Jenna Jensen

Eight Sparwood individuals were honored and celebrated during the Sport B.C. Community Sport Heroes Awards presented by Teck. The individuals were nominated by residents of Sparwood for their long-time dedication to enriching the lives of others through sport.

A crowd of supporters were in attendance and honourable guests included, Sparwood Mayor Lois Halko and Bill Bennett Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. "I am so thrilled that Sports B.C. selected Sparwood, giving us the opportunity to recognize these eight worthy individuals. Even though eight are recognized today this is just a start, there are many, many more people worthy of this award in Sparwood. These volunteers contribute so much to the cohesiveness of the community, as well as promoting active and healthy lifestyles in all the lives that they touch. To have them recognized with this award is just awesome," said Mayor Halko. "We really want to thank all of the volunteers. You do so much in helping the kids succeed and they are the future of our community," commented Tammy Ogden, Community Liason Teck Coal.

First to receive an award was David Endicott. David  has been President of the Sparwood Curling Club for over seventeen years. He was recognized for donating many, many hours to organizing leagues, volunteers and bonspiels as well as attending Curl BC regional meetings in Cranbrook. On his own time, he has taken various courses geared towards coaching young children. David  has given up one or two nights a week to coach two different age groups of young curlers and has volunteered at the Sparwood Curling Club to teach individual school classes during the day. He has given up many weekend to take his teams to High School playdowns, Junior or Juvenile Playdowns or fun bonspiels, even travelling as far as Prince George. He has headed or organized many fundraising events for the Sparwood Curling Club and if there are no volunteers he does the job himself.

Second, was Michel Thibeault. Michel was the assistant coach to the Senior Boys basketball team and in 1998 created junior basketball programs for both males and females. In 1999, Michel coached Mountain View Elementary School soccer and basketball until 2004 and in the same time period coached the junior girls basketball at Sparwood Secondary School. In 2010 his coaching skills were rewarded when both teams won the East Kootenay Championships. Michel has devoted countless hours of coaching so youth can achieve the skills required in all different levels of sports.

A well recognized face in the community was awarded next. Cindy Thummerer has  coached both school and community soccer for 10 years and during this time, she assisted all age ranges in our youth from 4-19 while also continuously serving on the community soccer board. Soccer is not the only sport Cindy has been is involved in, she was an executive member of Sparwood Minor Hockey for 8 years, serving as registrar for six of those years and also has coached elementary school running club for eleven years, a program that transitions into cross country running in the Spring. Additionally, she has coached the High School cross country running team for four years, Track and Field for eight years and has intermittently coached Elementary School Volleyball and Basketball.

David Wilks has been involved in coaching amateur sports in the Sparwood community for 18 years. He has coached basketball at Mountain View School for ix years and has since coached Bowling for the Sparwood youth. In the Spring of 2012, his ten year old girls bowling team were finalists in the National Bowling Competition in Newfoundland. Being a member of parliament, he is very busy but has always made as much time as possible for sport in Sparwood. Several, Sparwood Youth Bowling team members accepted the award on behalf of Wilks as he was unable to attend the event.

Kelvin Hughes has been a mainstay in his contribution to amateur sport in Sparwood. For the past eight years he has dedicated volunteer time to coaching both hockey and baseball teams. He has served on the Minor Hockey Board for the past eight years, coached hockey, from initiation to Bantam Rep teams for the past seven years and he has also been on the East Kootenay Hockey Board for the past five years. Karen Hughes accepted the award on his behalf as he was unable to attend.

Pete Templin was also recognized for beings a  very important volunteer for the amateur sport of Basketball in the Sparwood community. He has coached basketball for four years at the elementary school level and following that for the past eight years at the Senior High School level. Because of his pursuit of excellence and through his commitment to the sport, he has accompanied the Senior Boys team to Provincials playoffs six times.

Holly Johnston has assisted in developing amateur sport in the community through her volunteer involvement in coaching. Holly has coached both elementary and senior high school volleyball and basketball for nine years. For the past three years, she has also been involved with an Elk Valley team which includes senior youth from the surrounding communities. This advanced team is in pursuit of a higher level skill set and they travel broadly for tournaments. In between her involvement with basketball and volleyball, Holly has also coached soccer.

Karen Hughes has been involved as a volunteer in many of the community amateur sporting programs for the past  nine years. Because she assists with so many various sporting programs, she volunteers year round. Karen has coached High School Volleyball and Basketball for five years. She has also served on the Board and coached the community soccer program for nine years. She has been a member of the board of the Sparwood figure skating association for five years and lastly, she rounds out her year by coaching swimming.

"I have learned many skills through sports, such as determination and loss. I have so much respect for people that help and encourage kids in sports. I personally, wouldn't be who I am today without the people who volunteered in sports when I was involved. I want you to know - you really do make a difference," said Bennett.

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