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In Focus | Payton Comazzetto

Meet Payton. She has lived in Kamloops for 25 years. Payton has a big heart and passion for bringing people together, she runs Brennan's Ugly Sweater Run in memory of her brother.

Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kamloops?
Kamloops - 25 years.

Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
My mom - She is always up for a wild adventure and is absolutely hilarious. Whether its a road trip or a cup of tea at Reservoir, we always have a great time together, and can solve all the world's problems in an afternoon.

What is your favourite local store in Kamloops and why?
This is a tough one! Runners Sole and True Outdoors are tied. They both carry gear and clothing for my favourite hobbies, and they have awesome customer service! They are both fantastic community supporters.

Describe yourself in one word.

If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
I'd go to Berg Lake in Mount Robson Provincial Park. I went here with my boyfriend and two of our friends this past summer on a backpacking trip. It was stunningly beautiful, and the company was exceptional!

What is your favourite activity in Kamloops?
Hiking and Kayaking - I can't choose between the two!

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
One time I was serving lunch in a 5 star dining room, and while describing the salad of the day, I said "placenta croutons" instead of polenta...

What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
I'm not sure if there is only one inspiring thing that has happened to me. I feel inspired almost daily by one thing or another, but last spring I attended a talk by Holocaust survivor, Vera Schiff, at TRU. Her story of survival, resilience, and overcoming adversity was profound to me. Here is a woman who has lived through unimaginable circumstances, yet she chose to make a positive impact on the world and future generations. We all have the ability to make a difference, and just as Anne Frank once said, "how wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
It was Christmas of 1998. The last Christmas I spent with my brother, Brennan. My mom, dad, brother and I had just arrived home from Christmas Eve Service. As we were taking our coats off we hear a loud "BANG" on the floor upstairs. My brother looked at me and slowly crept up the stairs. I was to afraid, so I stayed back. Then Brennan shouted, "SANTA!" We had caught jolly old Saint Nick red handed. He couldn't believe it, and neither could we. I still have the photograph of my brother and I sitting on his knee that night. Unfortunately, I have never been able to catch him again, but he still stops by my home every year to remind me of the best Christmas ever!

Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
I have volunteered for a few organizations in Kamloops over the past few years in various roles. These include the event coordinator for the Sun Life Amazing Race for Juvenile Diabetes, Mini Boogie Team Lead for Boogie the Bridge, a RubClub coach, serving Christmas dinner to the homeless for JUMP, a classroom assistant at a local elementary school, an event coordinator for a Fort Mac BBQ Fundraiser, and many more. Last year I started my own event, Brennan's Ugly Sweater Run, in memory of my brother Brennan, who passed away in 1999. All of the proceeds from the run are donated to the Boys and Girls Club's Power Start program, and last year the event raised $7570 which fed 30 children breakfast for an entire year.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
How people see themselves. We can be so critical of ourselves and worried about what others think, but there is no reason for it. We don't need to fit into the ideal "box" society makes us believe we should. If we all saw our self worth and uniqueness, we would believe in ourselves, empower others, and make the world a more inclusive place.

Where would you sneak away to in Kamloops to spend some time alone?
There is a little lake on the north side of town that has a lovely little trail around it and an awesome dock. In the summer there are thousands of tadpoles and frogs. It is so nice to escape the noise of the city and be alone in nature.

Where would you like to see positive change in Kamloops and why?
I'd love to see Kamloops step up their game in the recycling.

What do you think makes Kamloops great?
The wide range of outdoor activities and amenities surrounding Kamloops are what make it great. There is something for everyone here. All you have to do is step outside and explore.

What are 3 things on your bucket list?
1. Hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail
2. Spend a weekend at a ski resort in the winter snowshoeing, skiing, exploring, and drinking hot chocolate next to a fire.
3. Visit Northern Canada.

Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I used to play lacrosse and hockey growing up.

How do people connect with you, personally, through social media?
@Brennansuglysweaterrun on Instagram

What is the name of your business/organization?
Brennan's Ugly Sweater Run

Why did you get into/start this business?
I had always wanted to do something in memory of my brother, but last year when I was completing a service learning course at TRU I felt it was the right time to finally put on an event.

What is the goal of your business?
While promoting community mental and physical health, the goal of Brennan's Ugly Sweater Run is to get individuals and families in the Kamloops community to come together and support a worthy cause.

What has been your biggest struggle either at work or in life?
I've always struggled with making the perfect pancake. I can never get both sides to brown like they do in the movies. Guess that is number 4 on my bucket list!

What do you always find yourself saying?
"Jafeel" - meaning "Do you understand" or "Yes, I understand."

Tell us your best piece of life advice.
Go for it. There is always going to be "I shoulds" or "I can'ts" but if you don't take that leap and try you'll never know. You might fail, but failures always make for a good success story!

If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
If I could spend one whole day with anyone in the world, I'd pick my boyfriend, Brett. He is currently studying Civil Engineering at UVIC, and we don't get to see each other very often during the school year. So, a day out in nature on the trails with him, joking and laughing, would be perfect! It is the ideal way to recharge and forget about the stresses of day to day life.

Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
The owners and employees of these businesses are our neighbours, friends, family, and peers. They are the ones that support our local events and services. They give so much to the community that supporting them is the least we can do.

What has been your proudest accomplishment?
The success of the first annual Brennan's Ugly Sweater Run. There is no better feeling than when you see families and friends laughing and having fun at an event you put on. Plus, then seeing the impact the donation we made on local children. It Was Unreal!

Give someone you think that deserves it a shout out and explain why!
Wayne Richardson at Runners Sole - Thanks for being such a fantastic promotor of Brennan's Ugly Sweater Run and for donating your time and services to the event!

My choice for the KamloopsBCNow In Focus spotlight is:
Tara Holmes

Some general comments I would like to share are:
Tara Holmes is an amazing community supporter. She regularly volunteers, promotes local businesses and events, and has the biggest heart of anyone I know. She would also have some hilarious answers to these questions!

We encourage you to leave your comments and words of support below and submit your own nomination by clicking HERE. You are also welcome to submit a form of your own by clicking HERE. Thank you, Kamloops.

In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition of the people, businesses, and organizations that help make our city great!

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