A Vernon entrepreneur has been recognized with a B.C. Country Music Association award for his humanitarian efforts in supporting Canadian troops in Afghanistan and their families.
Barry Stecyk, owner of the locally-based HevyDs Old Fashioned Kettle Korn, picked up the award for his spearheading of the project We Salute Our Heroes and the recording of the song, Standing Strong and True (For Tomorrow), which also won the SOCAN Songwriter of the Year award at the BCCMAs.
In attendance at the awards ceremony this past weekend at the Red Robinson Theatre in Richmond, Stecyk said he was honoured to receive the award.
“It was very humbling to accept this award like that, especially from the B.C. Country Music Association as they were partly responsible for getting the song and the artists together. Primarily half of the artists on the song and video came from B.C.,” said Stecyk, adding, “The awards part of this thing is not exactly my cup of tea. Even in accepting it, I would have rather had someone else receive it. It’s about the artists and the cause and not about me.”
Written by Ron Irving and Tom and Lynda McKillip (the parents of B.C. country sensations One More Girl, who just signed with Lady Gaga’s label Interscope and won Group/Duo of the Year and the Fan’s Choice at the BCCMAs), Standing Strong and True (For Tomorrow) was recorded last year during the Canadian Country Music Awards week in Edmonton.
Besides One More Girl, the song features some of the who’s who of the western Canadian country music scene, including Terri Clark, Michelle Wright, Beverley Mahood, The Higgins, Aaron Pritchett, Crystal Shawanda, Chad Brownlee, Dean Brody, Jaydee Bixby, Ridley Bent and Emerson Drive, to name a few.
Stecyk has been involved in supporting the troops through a number of projects over the past four years, starting with free downloads of music through bags of his HevyDs popcorn and a day-long concert held in Vernon in the summer of 2007.
His efforts expanded to a promotion through a major media outlet to feature artists and offer free downloads of their music every week (some of those have included Vernon artists Andrew Allen and Channel Eight.)
“It was my effort to help independent artists in B.C. and help them get exposure,” said Stecyk, adding the download project will wrap up at the end of this year after a two-year run.
“I need a break,” he explained.
In the meantime, Standing Strong and True (for Tomorrow), released on EMI Music Canada, has raised several thousand dollars through radio play, downloads and donations to the Military Family Fund and Boomer’s Legacy, which help fallen soldiers and their families.
In addition to this latest award, Stecyk travelled to Ottawa last year to meet with Gen. Walt Natynczyk, defence staff chief of the Canadian Forces, who presented him with a coin of excellence for his efforts.