Mr. Despot was Mayor of the Village of Keremeos for nine years from 2003 – 2011 until he retired from political life. Walter is well known for his work and leadership in his capacity as Chair on the Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District board and worked tirelessly to put the needed upgrades of the Emergency Department of the Penticton Regional Hospital on the top of the list of Interior Health and the province.
Since his retirement, he is still working on this project in the capacity as chair of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation which oversees fundraising for not only the Penticton Regional Hospital but health care facilities throughout the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen. Mr. Despot was also very instrumental in the development of the new modern diagnostic centre located in Keremeos.
The centre includes an emergency department, x-ray facilities, laboratory and a physiotherapy clinic.
Mr. Despot was very involved in the development of the new assisted living and low income housing, the development of Memorial Park, major sewer upgrades on the bench and the new visitor information centre.
Walter has spent many years volunteering his time in the community in such organizations as: volunteer fire department where he served as chief in 1973, 1975, 1977, and 1980; fundraisers for the heritage Grist Mill; and community events as the Keremeos Elks Rodeo, Similkameen Pepper Festival and many more that enhance Keremeos and the surrounding area.