Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

President's Award

The President's Award is presented to a non-coaching volunteer that is dedicated to planning, organizing and operating sport programs, fundraisers or competitions.

This volunteer is an asset to the Local Committee or sub-committee and is always willing to take on a leadership role to ensure that the athletes and volunteers have the best experience possible. This volunteer donates countless hours and always has the best interest of Special Olympics BC in the forefront.

2017 President’s Award recipient: Joan Gerhardt

A Special Olympics BC – Kelowna volunteer of more than 20 years, Joan Gerhardt has played a critical role in raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics in her community. Gerhardt is an inspiring leader who is the driving force behind her Local’s most important fundraising event, and she is the deserving winner of SOBC’s 2017 President’s Award.

Pictured at right: Gerhardt (left) receiving her award from SOBC – Kelowna Local Coordinator Sue Foisy

“Joan is respected as a trusted, highly motivated supporter of Special Olympics athletes and the Local in her roles as fundraiser, leader, coach, mentor, and friend. During the course of reaching out to fellow SO volunteers, athletes, and community leaders, Joan has universally been described as being well deserving of this nomination and that it is long overdue,” her nominators wrote.

In 2005, Gerhardt took on the task of organizing SOBC – Kelowna’s annual golf fundraiser. More than 10 years later, Gerhardt has developed the tournament into a highly effective fundraising event that provides opportunities for community business leaders to support SOBC – Kelowna and highlights the personalities and achievements of the Local’s athletes. Gerhardt’s nominators say the tournament is the “feel-good Special Olympics-focused event of the year for our community and athletes,” and it raises funds that play an important role in supporting the Local’s empowering programs.

Along with her involvement in the golf tournament, Gerhardt has served as Treasurer with SOBC – Kelowna and has been coaching with the Local for more than 20 years. As coaches, Gerhardt and her husband Wulf have built a thriving cross country skiing program and have developed a close relationship with Telemark Nordic Club that has proved beneficial to athletes. The couple has also started up a bocce program with SOBC – Kelowna that has become very popular with the Local’s athletes.

Thank you, Joan, for your leadership, commitment, and hard work!

Sincere congratulations to all of the 2017 President’s Award nominees:

  • Phyllis Baudais, SOBC – Comox Valley
  • Andrea Boyes, SOBC – Victoria
  • Sami Fields, SOBC – Vancouver
  • Sally Masters, SOBC – Kimberley/Cranbrook
  • Lisa McPhedrian, SOBC – Richmond
  • Grace Todd, SOBC – Port Alberni
  • Arlene Vanderniet, SOBC – Grand Forks

 Past President's Award recipients: