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Denise McKinlay Honoured with the Chamber's 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Duncan Cowichan Chamber is pleased to announce that Denise McKinlay is the recipient of the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award and will be honoured at the Black Tie Awards at The Chemainus Theatre in May 2023.


Denise has an amazingly long list of contributions to supporting the people and organizations in the Cowichan Region going all the way back to the 1960’s. She started her volunteering career by organizing the signatures needed to help create the Cowichan Bay Fire District. Denise was just getting warmed up.


From the 60’s onward, Denise has served as a volunteer or board member at the Duncan Curling Club, the federal and provincial Liberal Party, Duncan Dabber Bingo, Cowichan Golf and Country Club, the BC Winter Games, the BC Senior Games, as the Cowichan Valley’s representative at the Vancouver Olympics bid announcement, the Cowichan Hospice, and Our Cowichan Communities Health Network to name a few.


Denise is probably best known for her 31 years on the Board of the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation. The Cowichan District Hospital Foundation raises funds to support health care, providing residents with the very best in medical equipment at the Cowichan District Hospital and Cairnsmore Place. Denise has been an integral part of making the Foundation successful. Her tireless efforts, including as Chair and Past Chair, have helped raise millions of dollars to support improved health care in the Cowichan Valley. Speaking about the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation, Denise said, “It's just been a dream. A dream job for me, and I love that you call it a job. Yeah, it is. It's a dream job.”


When asked about why she volunteers, Denise had this to say. "For me, spending my time volunteering is very rewarding. Giving back to my community is not laborious to me, I enjoy doing as much as I can to help others."


Denise has been recognized more than once for her many contributions over the years, including the Queen's Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal in 2003 and the City of Duncan Scroll of Honor in 2013. We could not be happier to add to that list and name Denise McKinlay, the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award for 2022.


The Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is selected by the Chamber President in consultation with the Board of Directors and the previous Lifetime Achievement Honouree. “Denise’s contributions as a volunteer in our community has been wide reaching and extraordinary. Her time and commitment to many events and causes have had, and continue to have, a lasting effect in making the Cowichan Valley a better place for everyone” says Chamber President, Julie Scurr. “Denise is a true lifetime achiever, and I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.”


Our previous recipient of the prestigious award in 2020 was Pudge Bawa, who is sadly no longer with us, however the 2018 recipient, Stormin’ Norm Jackson had this to say. “I know that Pudge Bawa would be so pleased that Denise McKinlay is this year’s Lifetime Achiever. Denise epitomizes what we should all aspire to be in supporting community endeavours. She has been a tireless worker for so many community events and charities over the years and done with class, dignity and very quietly without fan fare. Truly a deserving choice.”

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