The International Peace Garden showed their deepest appreciation for the 15 plus years of dedication Board Member and long-standing volunteer, Rick Felstead, has shown through nominating him for the Volunteer of the Year Award Manitoba.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was just one of multiple awards given out at the April 17th evening ceremony hosted by Travel Manitoba and Tourism Winnipeg. The annual awards celebrate excellence in the tourism industry, recognizing the passionate dedication and contributions from volunteers, businesses, and staff that showcase Manitoba at its finest through events and attractions across the province.

Peace Garden CEO, Tim Chapman, was thrilled to hear Felstead's name called to receive this prestigious award at this most prestigious event in Winnipeg.

"It was incredible, really!" says Chapman. "The Volunteer of the Year award is divided into two categories: Winnipeg and then the rest of Manitoba.  It was just great to be able to spend that evening with Rick and with four other Board members and some of us staff. And we just couldn't have been more proud to not only have Rick nominated, but then when he won the award it was really special!"

Felstead had just completed his final term as Board Member of the Peace Garden, "and so it was kind of bittersweet, but great to see that the province would recognize someone who has done so much for the Peace Garden but has also done so much for Rotary and a variety of other organizations in Brandon," shares Chapman.

A retired gas utilities engineering manager and consultant, Rick Felstead has been volunteering at the Garden for 18 years. He was elected to the Garden’s Board of Directors in 2009 and has served on various committees, including Governance, Planning and Development, and Communications and Membership.

Through his position as the Governor of Rotary International, Felstead was instrumental in raising funds required to create the Garden’s 9/11 Memorial. He continues to initiate improvement and ongoing maintenance to the site.  (Please see photo below)

Felstead remains an active member of Rotary International, serves in the Electrical & Mechanical Engineering Association of Canada, and the Manitoba Branch of the Army Cadet League of Canada board. He is also an executive member of the Central Museum of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery in Shilo, Manitoba.

Rick Felstead is also the recipient of several awards for community and national service including the Queen’s Silver, Gold and Diamond Jubilee medals. 

Chapman says the evening of the Manitoba Tourism Award was an honor to facilitate Rick's receiving the Tourism of the Year Award through nominating this long-time friend of the Garden. 

"We didn't know if he was going to win. But when it was announced in the ballroom in Winnipeg with over 400 people, to see his photos and imagery of the Peace Garden being shared up there with everyone that night, along with other folks who won awards who clearly do great things for Winnipeg and Manitoba, it was just great!"

“Rick is always willing to help out at Garden events,” says Chapman. “He does everything from greeting and guiding guests to directing traffic, helping the gate staff, and ensuring that our visitors have a great time. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious and he’s an outstanding ambassador and advocate for the Garden.” 

"When Rick puts his heart into something he's all in!" adds Tim Chapman.

"Even though he has retired as a Board member we let Rick know that we will be bothering him regularly," Chapman laughs. "We expect to be seeing Rick around the Peace Garden and we'll be connecting with him in Brandon as well."