Greg Norton, a well-respected farmer from Oliver who passed away in February, will always be fondly remembered by the community.
A Spirit of Oliver Award posthumously awarded to him on Friday morning proves that.
Mayor Ron Hovanes presented the annual awards, now in their 13th year, to a full house at the Oliver Community Centre on Friday morning.
Norton was known for his involvement in local agriculture, sitting on regional district, Parks and Recreation and BC Wildlife Federation boards, and his advocacy for migrant workers through Loose Bay Campground.
“As a public servant, he gave tirelessly to the South Okanagan. He was also a great family man,” Hovanes said. “So many people counted on Greg’s help and he always delivered … Greg loved the Okanagan; he was a great steward of the land.”
Norton’s daughter, Sara Shaw, and granddaughter Deirdre accepted the award on his behalf.
The youth award went to Southern Okanagan Secondary (SOSS) student Simi Gill, which Hovanes said was “well deserved.” He listed her involvements including the Oliver Ambassador program, volunteering at Oliver Elementary School, McKinney Place candy striping, plenty of volunteering at SOSS and much more.
“It goes on and on,” Hovanes said. “If there was an event in Oliver, you saw Simi.”
Highway to Healing, which helps children in the South Okanagan get access to needed medical treatment that’s not locally available, took home the group award. The program was started by Rotary Club members in 2013.
Amanda Workman and Randee Ede behind the new Tots Playground took home the community builders award. The pair raised funds for the playground which officially opens on April 29.
The heritage or pioneer family award had no nominations and was not awarded this year.