Penticton Beach Cruise’s Wayne Wood garners Rotary Unsung Citizen Award

Wood driving force behind success of Beach Cruise taking place June 24-26

The Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise honoured Wayne Wood, a tireless, community-minded volunteer, with the Unsung Citizen of Penticton Award at its meeting on Tuesday, April 5. The award is given to recognize area residents who quietly undertake impactful altruistic deeds that serve to enrich our social tapestry and create a more vibrant, cohesive, and inclusive community.

An awardee also becomes a ‘Paul Harris Fellow.’ The title, named to commemorate Rotary’s renowned founder, constitutes the highest distinction that the international service movement can confer on a non-member. Bestowing PHF recognition requires that our Club donate US$1,000, in the name of the recipient to The Rotary Foundation to further its many laudable humanitarian and educational projects around the globe.

First and foremost, Wood, a retired Pen-Hi teacher, is being commended for his leadership provided as the longstanding president of Peach City Beach Cruise. The annual event has grown in popularity with Wood’s steady hand at the wheel to become western Canada’s premier, three-day car show. It takes place June 24 to 26.

The Beach Cruise typically attracts 850 car entries and over 8,000 visitors. The event serves as a real boon to the local economy, bringing in an estimated $1.5 million to kick off the summer tourist season.

“Our organization’s main goal is to hold the best car show possible with any proceeds being donated to worthy charitable groups, such as BC Children’s Hospital, SD67 Breakfast Program, Okanagan Motorcycle Riders Toy Run and SD67 Automotive Trades Bursary,” said Wood.

Wood’s incredible ability to focus on the tasks at hand and provide timely, hands-on solutions to pressing issues place him at the epicenter of the Beach Cruise planning team.

“Clearly, Wayne is the driving force behind the highly successful Beach Cruise, but his sincere modesty and gratitude compel him to impulsively assign credit to the 12-15 directors and 350 volunteers around him,” said Ray Lamothe, vice-president of PCBC.

Wayne Wood (sitting behind driver) has just been awarded Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise with the Unsung Citizen of Penticton Award. (Kristi Patton Western News file photo)

An avid skier, Wood joined the Apex Volunteer Ski Patrol in 1998, and has had a massive impact on the program from the get-go to this very day. Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) were added to the training program at Wood’s initiation. Shortly after receiving medical approval, a person’s life was saved, thanks to having the training in place.

Even when wintering in Arizona after retiring as a highly respected physics/computer sciences teacher at Pen Hi in 2006, he continued as a valued dry land instructor in the fall and would return mid-March to actively patrol.

“I have been with Wayne during some critical incidents and have witnessed firsthand how his quiet dignified demeanor and consummate professionalism have had a calming influence,” said Paul Hirschfield, Past Director, Apex Ski Patrol.

“Volunteering affords me the pleasure of meeting and working with many interesting, like-minded people from all walks of life whose paths I would not normally cross,” said Wood.

Over the years, he has provided first aid support at Grand Fondo events and Three Blind Mice mountain bike competitions while he and his wife, Valerie, have eagerly helped at Ironman and, most recently, as volunteers at COVID-19 Immunization Clinics.

Ivan McLelland, the late Alan Dawkins, Tracy Fehr, Bob Anderson, Jean Kearney, Sandra Richardson and Harvie Barker are prior recipients of the Unsung Citizen of Penticton Award.