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Duane Sunderman Memorial Award increases in value

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Billie-Jo Crandall presenting the 2013 Duane Sunderman Award to David Hill at the college awards ceremony in Dawson Creek on April 8.

Billie-Jo Crandall presenting the 2013 Duane Sunderman Award to David Hill at the college awards ceremony in Dawson Creek on April 8.

DAWSON CREEK – Each year, students at Northern Lights College benefit from the many awards administered by the NLC Foundation. While all awards help students achieve their educational goals, memorial awards carry the added significance of honouring someone who has passed on.

“The friends and family who establish memorial awards come from all walks of life, but one thing that binds them is that, in one of the most difficult times of their lives, they are able to come together and create something new and enduring,” said Donna Kane, Executive Director of the NLC Foundation. “The fact that most of the recipients of memorial awards are complete strangers to those who are being remembered makes a memorial award a truly generous act. That these awards are created at a time when people are coping with extreme personal grief makes them even more inspiring.”

One such award is the Duane Sunderman Memorial Award. This award was created in memory of a graduate of the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) program who, on June 13, 1995, at the age of 25, died tragically in a helicopter accident.

Duane moved to Dawson Creek with his wife Billie-Jo in 1993. Both attended NLC, Duane in AME and Billie-Jo in Office Administration. Upon graduation, they moved to Inuvik, NWT, where Duane combined his AME credential with his helicopter pilot’s license and worked as an engineer pilot with Continental Helicopters. Duane was a keen outdoorsman, active in various sports, and always strove for excellence, easily winning the respect of his supervisors, peers, and instructors.

Duane was the son of Lloyd and Marjorie Sunderman of Clearwater, and brother of Marie. In January, Lloyd Sunderman passed away. Lloyd, a licensed Heavy Duty Mechanic until his retirement in 2003, also was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed towing kids on skis and tubes, fishing and coaching on the ball diamond.

At the bequest of Lloyd’s will, a further donation of $10,000 was made to Duane’s memorial fund. In addition to this donation, many of Lloyd’s friends and family also made contributions in honour of Lloyd’s memory. With these new donations, the NLC Foundation Board has been able to provide a matching grant of $5,000. The value of the Duane Sunderman Memorial Award has now increased from two annual awards of $385 to two annual awards of $675.

“The NLC Foundation appreciates the responsibility involved in maintaining these awards, and we will ensure they continue to honour the memory of a father and son whose spirits clearly touched so many,” said Kane.

For more information on the NLC Foundation, check the NLC website at or contact Donna Kane at 250-784-7613 or email