Dear Editor,

As you have probably noticed, there were major changes in staffing at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce in November/December and Marie Birney and Heather Overy want to take this opportunity to say farewell (but not goodbye) to the local businesses and communities that they worked and socialized with over the past 11 and six years, respectively.

Life has a way of changing routines and indeed, 2010 turned out to be a year of change for Marie and Heather. Heather took an extended leave of absence from the Chamber when her husband suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in July.

The loss of a family member is devastating, and both Heather and the Chamber agreed that she needed time to work through the grieving process. After much deliberation she decided she was unable to return to the Chamber and perform her duties to the maximum benefit of the board and membership, and an amicable arrangement with the Chamber was made.

Marie, on the other hand, had planned her retirement for quite some time, but could never follow it through (the membership would not let her!). After much soul-searching and 11 years of working with the members and local communities in her role as centre manager, Marie made the decision that November 30th was her last day.

The board of directors held a farewell luncheon for Marie and she was presented with a lovely gift in appreciation of her many years of service and commitment to the Chamber and Visitor Centre as one can imagine, many tears fell during Maries words of acceptance to this recognition.

Marie and Heather are still residents of the Columbia Valley and look forward to seeing many of you as they go about their day-to-day activities. They thank everyone for their support, confidence and guidance given over the years, acknowledging that it was an extremely rewarding experience to work with the membership and communities to actively endorse and promote the economic growth and development in the Columbia Valley. And yes, theyll still be shopping locally!

Heather Overy and Marie Birney