Two Cowichan Lake residents were recognized for their valuable contribution to the community at the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting, Feb. 21.
Mike Bishop is this year’s recipient for the 2012 Citizen of the Year Award, and Robert Bell received the 2012 Nichole Stock Community Service Award.
Both men attended the meeting and were in awe of being chosen.
“I really don’t know what to say, except thank you very much,” said Robert Bell when he was handed his award.
In the short biography that introduced him, Bell was presented as an ‘unsung hero’ through the countless hours he has spent in over 20 years with the Salmonid Enhancement Society, as a dog-walker and critter-lover in general for the SPCA, as the manager for the Lake Cowichan Minor Hocket Association Midgets when his son, Jeff, was coaching, and for making the most remarked-on Lady of the Lake floats for the parade.
As far as Bell’s family were concerned, it was an honour to be witnessed, and four generations — including his mother, his wife and their children, Bell’s first grandson and one soon to be born — were there to share the moment with the Lake Cowichan resident.
As Citizen of the Year, Bishop was chosen for the immense amount of work he did in spearheading the Summer Nights in 2012, a weekly Saturday night event that brought many community members out throughout the summer.
In taking on the lead role as coordinator of the Summer Nights, Bishop managed to get nine other not-for-profit groups to work together, which in turn helped generate fundraising dollars for those groups as well as providing a musical outlet for local and mainline artists to entertain the community.
“I feel really inadequate, standing here accepting this award,” Bishop began. “I’m just the guy that happened to be there, but it took a lot of people to make this happen. Whether they were a big cog in the wheel or a small one, it wouldn’t have gone on without the participation of everyone.
“It made me so happy to sit there and watch it all come together,” he continued. “I’ve got to say that those Summer Nights are going to be happening again this summer – cause there’s just never a better moment than to see the community come out there, and smile and tap their feet.”
Lake Cowichan residents may not realize that they know Bishop because of the many hats he wears around the community. He has been a long term volunteer with the radio station and other service groups such as the Sea Cadets, and he is also very helpful over the Christmas season as our local Santa Claus.
Although he’s a Nova Scotian by birth, Bishop has made his home in Youbou with his wife, Susan, and their family.