Gary Wright Humanitarian Award

The GARY WRIGHT HUMANITARIAN AWARD was established in honour of Gary Wright, the founder of Friends of We Care, and is presented to a member of the Foodservice and Hospitality Industry who has contributed to the improvement of the community at large.


2016 Winner – Bernice Blomme

The Saari household in Mattawa, Ontario was a busy one when Bernice was growing up.  There were ten children in all, five girls and five boys.  Bernice got the taste for foodservice early in life when she went to work at A&W as a line cook and then was promoted to car hop. No word if there were roller skates involved.

Bernice’s next stop was at the Algonquin Hotel, St. Andrew’s By the Sea, New Brunswick in the summer of 1978 as a waitress.  She then moved to Toronto in 1979 with her Food Service Supervision Diploma from Canadore College in hand.

A 35-year career with Hudson’s Bay Company began at the Canadiana Buffet in Oshawa and when the new Crepes ‘N Greens concept was launched in 1980 in Toronto, Bernice was part of the opening team.  It was a busy year; in July of 1980, she married her high school sweetheart Danny Blomme.

In 1983, Bernice was promoted to Regional Food Services Manager for HBC Restaurants where she worked for the next ten years modernizing food service facilities including Malt Stops to Chicago Franks and buffets to Marketsquares.  She also pioneered new concepts such as the Yogurt Bar and Euro Franks.

Bernice became Regional Licensed Manager for HBC Ontario Region, Retail Division in 2003 and when the Bay and Zellers food services amalgamated in 2004, she took on the newly created position of Food Services Purchasing Manager, assistant to the Senior Purchasing Manager.  Ten years later, the restaurants were closed when Target took over Zellers and Bernice was able to take early retirement.

Anyone who knows Bernice knows retirement hasn’t slowed her down.  The 2009 and 2010 “You Make a Difference” award winner is currently a member of the Ontario Society of Nutrition Management, The Canadian Association of Food Service Professionals and the Restaurant’s Canada Association.  Along with her love of the theatre and family cottage getaways, she has been an active volunteer with Friends of We Care for more than a decade, participating in the Toronto Bowling Challenge, and being an active committee member of the We Care-aoke and the inaugural Dave & Buster’s Trivia Night events.

Friends of We Care is extremely pleased to present Bernice Blomme with the Gary Wright Humanitarian Award in recognition of her contribution to the improvement of the community at large.



Past Winners of the Gary Wright Humanitarian Award:

  • 2015 Mr. Kevin Frankish
  • 2014 Mr. David Abrams
  • 2013 Mr. Don LeBlanc
  • 2012 Mr. Mark Cator
  • 2011 Mr. Eddie Sokoloff
  • 2010 Ms. Carol Moffatt-Bailes
  • 2009 Mr. Brian Orr
  • 2008 Mr. Hugh Kelly, Mr. Dave Wilcox (P)
  • 2007 Mr. Peter Noble (P)
  • 2006 Mr. Terry Lindermann
  • 2005 Ms. Virgina (Gini) Norris
  • 2004 Mr. Jim Grieb
  • 2003 Mr. Jim MacPherson
  • 2002 Mr. Sheldon Kofsky
  • 2001 Mr. Grant Gillard
  • 2000 Mr. Gary Marshall
  • 1999 Mr. Len Lundberg (P)
  • 1998 Ms. Kathy Starr
  • 1997 Mr. Robert McNutt
  • 1996 Mr. Bruce Curtis
  • 1995 Mr. Dick Burgess (P)
  • 1993 Mr. Ted Graham
  • 1992 Mr. Harrison McCain, Mr. Wallace McCain
  • 1991 Mr. Ron Joyce
  • 1989 Mr. Gray Steele
  • 1988 Mr. Bill Farr
  • 1987 Mr. Gary Wright(P)