Kathy Holmes of Ladysmith is one of 35 British Columbians who will receive a B.C. Community Achievement Award. Holmes

Provincial government recognizes Kathy Holmes for her community service

Ladysmith resident Kathy Holmes is receiving a B.C. Community Achievement Award in recognition of her volunteer contributions.

Ladysmith resident Kathy Holmes has been named as a recipient of a 2013 B.C. Community Achievement Award (BCCAA).

Holmes said she first learned of the award three weeks ago and is “still humbled and shocked” by the recognition her community service career has earned her.

Holmes returned a phone call from the B.C. Achievement Foundation (BCAF) presuming they had contacted her to solicit a donation.

When she discovered instead that she’d won an award, Holmes said she was “so dumbfounded, I didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t what I was expecting.”

Holmes was asked to keep the news confidential until the BCAF publicized its list of award recipients, but she couldn’t resist sharing the news with at least one person.

“I said ‘yes,’ and then I phoned my son right away,” Holmes added, laughing. “He’s in Toronto. Who the heck’s he going to tell?”

Holmes said she grew up in a family where community volunteerism was a routine part of life.

“It was just expected that you had fun volunteering and contributing to your community,” Holmes said.

As a result, Holmes views her volunteer commitments as anything but tedious.

“When I volunteer, I do it actually for selfish reasons because I really love doing it and I get a lot of pleasure out of it,” she said. “So in a sense, it’s not a grind. It’s just a whole bunch of fun for me.”

Holmes has called Ladysmith home for the last 19 years.

She worked with the Chronicle’s advertising and sales department for 10 years, earning design awards for her ads.

Holmes now serves as both president and media liaison for the Ladysmith and District Arts Council, and she sits on the board of directors with the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce (LCOC).

She has helped organize Paddlefest, Ladysmith Days, Arts on the Avenue, Oktoberfest, the Home, Garden and Business Show and the Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards.

In her spare time, Holmes runs a national charity that raises money to provide fire halls with oxygen masks for pets.

When helping to organize an event, Holmes says she’s “a wreck” the day before an opening, second-guessing her own planning and preparations.

But those doubts quickly evaporate on opening day.

“The minute the gates open and things start, it’s just bliss,” she said. “It’s like magic when you see people coming and enjoying an event.”

Rob Waters, president of the LCOC, signed off on Holmes’ nomination to the BCAF.

Waters says he was representing “a number of people in the community that really wanted Kathy to receive some recognition for her volunteerism” when he submitted her name for consideration.

“She’s been very, very active in her many different volunteer positions in the community,” Waters added. “She’s tireless when it comes to representing the art gallery locally and [at] many of the chamber functions. There’s a multitude of different events that the chamber puts on in the community and Kathy is always anxious to put up her hand and help.”

Now that she’s been selected, Waters said Holmes’ supporters are “delighted — she’s very deserving.”

Holmes is one of 35 British Columbians to receive a 2013 B.C. Community Achievement Award.

This year’s award recipients were announced via a press release issued by Premier Christy Clark’s office on Feb. 18.

“Communities are built by people who step up to the plate and contribute,” said Clark. “On behalf of all British Columbians, I would like to thank and congratulate the outstanding individuals named today for their contributions. British Columbia’s biggest strength is people like them.”

Keith Mitchell, chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, said the “community achievement awards honour individuals who have made a significant contribution either as volunteers or in the course of their work. We’re privileged to showcase and celebrate the contributions of these exceptional British Columbians.”

Award recipients will be recognized through a formal presentation at Government House on March 14 where they will receive a certificate and a medallion designed by Robert Davidson, B.C. artist and protege of the late Bill Reid.

Holmes said she plans to attend the ceremony in Victoria with friends.

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