Robert (Bob) Hayes has contributed extensively to the cultural life of the Central Okanagan, particularly through his commitment to the Okanagan Historical Society (OHS), the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society (KDGS), and the Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society (LCHCS), but also to numerous ad hoc heritage committees.
The LCHCS is supported financially by the District of Lake Country in its efforts to build a significant cultural institution in Lake Country. As Director of the LCHCS, Bob brings huge value and credibility to this Museum project through his individual efforts and his public profile. He is an active Director, who has played a significant role on the constitution and lecture committees. He volunteers frequently to staff the Museum, writes for the Museum blog, edits articles written by others, introduces and thanks guest speakers, and enthusiastically volunteers for all manner of tasks. Bob has also contributed significant materials to the archives of the Lake Country Museum. He is a descendant of pioneer families and he has collected journals, photographs, maps and stories of those families, much which will become part of the Museum collection.
Bob’s continuing comprehensive work on cemeteries in the Central Okanagan is also critical to recording our heritage. He and his team continue to discover and record dozens of graves in local graveyards and also isolated burials. Bob is writing short biographies about these pioneer residents, which will be included in the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society publications about early burials in the Central Okanagan. His campaign to write the biographies of all of our WW1 and WW2 war casualties is strongly supported by the Okanagan Military Museum, the Royal Canadian Legion and the Lake Country Museum.
When the Ellison community wanted to celebrate its centennial in a meaningful way, Bob took responsibility for interviewing old-time residents and for editing the publication, The First 100 Years of Ellison School and District, incorporating those interviews. His work with the Ellison centennial project is a good example of his value to one entire rural community. In the past few years he was also the primary researcher and co-editor of two other books on heritage: Our History, Our Heritage; and Kelowna Street Names – their Origins, which together took years of meticulous research by teams of local historians. These publications hold places of pride in institutional and private libraries throughout the region.
Bob continues as a judge in the annual Historica competition for public school students and he continues to bring great honour to the veteran community.
Because he is involved in so many heritage organizations he frequently brings materials from one group to another to facilitate its work. He shares his knowledge by publishing his findings, lecturing and giving tours. His commitment extends over many years and is ongoing. Bob is exceptionally deserving of this award.
Lake Country Museum and Archives is proud that once again one of its Directors has been honoured with the Central Okanagan Heritage Society‘s Distinguished Community Service Award. In 2013 Okanagan Centre resident Rosemary Carter was also awarded this honour.
The Lake Country Historical and Cultural Society would also like to congratulate the other winners of the heritage awards, especially The Friends of Fintry and their curator, Dan Bruce (who is also the curator of the Lake Country Museum & Archives). Much wonderful work has been accomplished under the leadership of the Fintry Board of Directors and their curator.