Joanne Kineshanko smiled through her tears as she accepted the 2014 Woman of the Year Award presented by Vernon Women in Business Thursday evening.
She was honoured for her commitment to the family business, Kineshanko Logging, which she built up with her late husband, Terry, her service in municipal government, community organizations, including the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation board and Whitevalley Community Resource Centre and many others.
“I want to thank my mother for the example she set for me, and my family and my husband, Terry, who always supported me,” said Kineshanko.
“This dress I’m wearing was one of Terry’s favourites and I feel like I’m wrapped up in his love tonight. I know he would be so proud of me.”
She took over the company, started in Lumby in 1972, after Terry’s sudden death in 2006.
As part of the forest industry, she has been involved with the Interior Logging Association, Canadian Women In Timber and Forest Renewal BC.
Two of their four children, Jeff and Jon, continue to work in the family business. Kineshanko has 10 grandchildren.
“I was truly amazed when I read your stories and the amount you’ve done to contribute to the community,” the former Lumby mayor told the other four nominees.
“Thank you, to Sue Beaudry, who was my main nominator, and the other people who nominated me. I feel tremendously honoured by everything here tonight. It makes you feel special when you’re able to make your community better. This is just over the top. I can’t believe it. I call Lumby home but really all of the area, the whole North Okanagan is home.
“Thank you to Women in Business for doing this. There are so many women here and in the area who make the community special.”
The other nominees for 2014 Woman of the Year were Beth Marks, Coleen Noel, Margit Schratter and Patti Wood.
“These women are all givers in the community,” said Colleen Barker, chair of the Woman of the Year committee and co-emcee of the event with Shelley Haslett, 2010 Woman of the Year.
Vernon Women in Business president Shirley Higgins welcomed the nominees, their nominators, family and friends.
“What a special evening. Ladies, you are truly amazing. You make Vernon a great place to call home, to live, to work and to play,” she told the nominees.
Guest dignitaries were Vernon Acting-Mayor Juliette Cunningham, Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton, Queen Silver Star with her princesses and Miss Congeniality and B.C. Ambassador Antonia Crosby. Past Women of the Year attending were Betty Selin (1999), Phyllis Simon (2002), Marlene Stark (2004), Michele Blais (2007), Carol Wutzke (2008), Barrita Durward (2009), Mary Williamson (2012), and Ruth Hoyte (2013).
“Thank you Vernon Women in Business for recognizing the accomplishments of so many amazing women in our community,” said Hoyte.
“This is a considerable honour. Many of these women have overcome personal tragedies and chose to use their experiences to help and enhance the lives of others. You get to read your nominations packages afterwards and it’s emotional. Those are moments you remember for the rest of your lives.”
The Woman of the Year is selected by a panel of independent (not members of Vernon Women in Business) community members: Carol Wutzke, Jonathon Jones, Kevin Rothwell, Nola Neilson and Sandra Simao.
All of the nominees received gift baskets and the 2014 Woman of the Year received a fresh water pearl jewelry set from Sweet Smiles Society presented by Barritta Durward, a two-night stay at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort in Sooke, presnted by Lisa Grant, complimentary City of Vernon parking pass presented by Juliette Cunningham, Woman of the Year Trophy and Vernon Women in Business membership, and a floral bouquet.