The Wally Buono Award was established in 2003 by The Saint Bernard Pass Charitable Foundation for the previous purpose of recognizing the Top Junior Canadian Player in Canada. Recipients must prove their athletic and leadership ability on the field as well as a high level of leadership within their community. The Saint Bernard Pass Charitable Foundation is the Swiss based foundation of Christina Saint Marche and her family.
“Our family has some roots in the Vancouver Island region as our son, Chance, graduated from junior high school at Brentwood College School. The region is a hotbed for amateur football with the powerhouse of the Vancouver Island Raiders being right here in town. It was Raider’s President Hadi Abassi who began planting the seed with the foundation that the Wally Buono Award needed to be in Nanaimo. He is a good salesman and a solid Ambassador for the City of Namaimo” stated Christina Saint Marche. “We are here today because of his efforts in this matter as Hadi has been a good friend to the Wally Buono Award over the years.”
Nanaimo Museum and Sports Hall of Fame General Manager Debbie Trueman had this to add; “The museum is honoured to be chosen as the home for such a prestigious award. The timing of the trophy’s unveiling at the museum is exciting because it coincides with its new designation as an award that includes talented players from across North American. I would like to thank the Chance Saint Marché and Hadi Abassi for being key players in this important addition to the Nanaimo Museum and the recognition it brings.”
Saint Marche went on to say that the foundation was impressed with Debbie Truman and the entire Nanaimo Museum organization. “We simply could not have a better partner than Debbie Truman and the people of Nanaimo. I hope this award will ‘do them proud’ in the coming years as it is where it truly belongs. We are very excited for Wally and his family to see the final exhibit and meet the people who made it possible here in Nanaimo.”