Canfor-Vavenby helps United Way in a big way

Employees at Canfor-Vavenby have set a record with their donations to the United Way this year

Amy Berard (l)

Amy Berard (l)

Keith McNeill

Employees at Canfor-Vavenby have set a record with their donations to the United Way this year – and they could be in line for having the most donations on a per capita basis in the company.

One motivator might have been sawmill superintendent John Stone’s offer to have his moustache shaved off if the campaign raised over $34,000.

Stone reportedly has had his moustache ever since he was old enough to grow it. Apparently his wife has never seen him without it.

This year’s United Way campaign at the Vavenby division brought in $34,400, said human resources manager John Gerber.

This compares with not quite $24,000 in the 2014 campaign.

In previous years, Vavenby has been in a three-way race with Chetwynd and head office to having the most donations per capita, but has never won.

This year they hope to win the Polar Cup, but won’t know for a while yet, when the results from all the other divisions are in.

Besides John Stone’s offer to sacrifice his moustache, other senior staff put their hair on the line and lost out.

Gerber and planer supervisor Neil Morris said they would get their heads shaved if the total reached over $30,000.

Mark Zurek, the maintenance supervisor, said he would let his head be shaved if it reached $32,000.

Division manager Steve Planeta held out for $33,000.

Look for before-and-after photos in a future issue of the Times.

Most of the money raised came from payroll deductions.

To encourage deductions, events were held such as a pinwheel. Employees got to throw darts to win prizes based on the amount being deducted from their paycheques.

People from groups that have benefited from United Way funding spoke to the crews about what the money was used for.

Two videos highlighted programs in the Clearwater area: Everyone can Play and the walking trails.

There also was a raffle for a barbeque from Home Hardware. This was won by Maureen Kelly, a planer-mill employee for two years.

“The campaigns have done well since we re-started,” Gerber said, referring to a shutdown that ended in 2011. “I think being laid off for two years made a difference on people’s outlooks. Other people helped them and now they want to pay that back … and they want to see us get our heads buzzed.”

The United Way for the Thompson-Nicola-Cariboo really appreciates the support it has been getting from UnWay HHCanfor-Vavenby, said Amber Harding, manager of communications.


She noted that there is a North Thompson community input council that helps decide how the money raised in the valley is spent.


Left: Canfor employee Maureen Kelly (r) checks out a barbeque she won in a raffle held as part of the recent United Way campaign at Canfor-Vavenby. In the photo are (l-r) Jennifer and Lorne Selbee of Home Hardware, United Way communications manager Amber Harding, sawmill supervisor David Ash, and Maureen Kelly.