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2018 BC Community Achievers Announced
March 29, 2018
VANCOUVER – Premier John Horgan and Scott McIntyre, CM, Chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, today named this year’s recipients of the BC Community Achievement Awards, marking the 15th offering of these awards.
“The dedication and generosity of British Columbians like these make our communities great places to live,” said Premier John Horgan. “Thanks to the 2018 recipients for helping build a better British Columbia for us all.”
“We are very proud to be able to honour 25 extraordinary British Columbians whose dedication contributes to the health and wellbeing of our province,” said McIntyre. “We thank them all for their remarkable contributions as both volunteers and engaged citizens.”
The recipients of the 2018 awards are:
• Kevin Albers, Victoria
• Joyce Babula, Gabriola Island
• Lolly Bennett, Vancouver
• Sukhi Brar, Abbotsford
• Margo Dent, Squamish
• Chris Gadsden, Chilliwack
• Patricia Grue, Stewart
• Terri Hanen, Dawson Creek
• Shirley Henry, Pemberton
• Geraldine Hinton, Victoria
• Doug Hopwood, Qualicum Beach
• Jag Khosa, Surrey
• Jim Lamond, Richmond
• Paddy Macleod, West Vancouver
• Jo Mitchell, Metchosin
• Charles Newton, Granisle
• Mary O’Neill, Coquitlam
• Jerrilyn Schembri, Tumbler Ridge
• Aart Schuurman Hess, Vancouver
• Min Sidhu, Vernon
• Jeff Swann, Ucluelet
• Lisa Tallio, Bella Coola
• Kim van der Woerd, West Vancouver
• Pete Wise, Coldstream
• Andy Yu, Vancouver
An independent committee selects the recipients of the British Columbia Community Achievement Awards. The 2018 selection committee members are Mayor Lyn Hall of Prince George, Mayor Josie Osborne of Tofino and past recipients, Garry F. Benson, QC of Kelowna, Karen Gilmore of Vancouver and David Young of Vancouver.
The recipients of the 2018 awards will be recognized in a formal presentation ceremony at Government House in Victoria on April 25, 2018. Each recipient will receive a certificate, and a medallion designed by BC artist Robert Davidson, OC.
The British Columbia Achievement Foundation is an independent foundation established and endowed by the province of BC to celebrate excellence in the arts, humanities, enterprise and community service. Launched in 2003, the BC Community Achievement Awards were the first initiative of the foundation, followed by the BC Creative Achievement Award for Applied Art and Design, BC’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the BC Creative Achievement Award for First Nations Art, and the BC Indigenous Business Awards.
BC Achievement Foundation
Learn more about the BC Achievement Foundation at: www.bcachievement.com
2018 BC Community Achievement Awards
Kevin Albers, Victoria
Kevin Albers is known for his remarkable contributions towards affordable housing for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across the province. As CEO of M’akola Group of Societies, BC’s largest Indigenous affordable housing provider and developer, Kevin has dedicated 20 years to stewarding the organization into a powerful force for change. A dedicated leader, Kevin’s creative mentality and depth of knowledge have transformed many lives and communities.
Joyce Babula, Gabriola Island
Joyce Babula has volunteered her time and energy to her Gabriola Island home for more than 40 years. The Gabriola Island Community Hall is at the very heart of island life and, as President, Joyce has dedicated countless hours to fundraising and event planning to ensure the hall is well maintained – spearheading the Annual Salmon Barbecue, which is the highlight of the island’s summer activities. She played a role in the development of the cooperative preschool on Gabriola and, after working as a preschool teacher in Nanaimo, went on to become a teacher in the school system as a special education and Kindergarten teacher. Involved in many of Gabriola Island’s initiatives, Joyce is a consummate volunteer and community-builder.
Lolly Bennett, Vancouver
Lolly Bennett has a long history of volunteer service – her focus has been dedicated to serving the Vancouver Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women Foundation in her roles as a volunteer, Board Member and Chair. Her efforts have included contributions to planning and organizing youth and school programs, annual community event planning, and upholding the mission and vision of the foundation. In 2011, Lolly was also instrumental, within the committee, in acquiring a permanent community space for the Chapter in Burnaby. A natural and compassionate leader, Lolly serves as an inspiration to many.
Sukhi Brar, Abbotsford
Sukhi Brar’s many achievements are a reflection of her dedication and perseverance. As president of the University of the Fraser Valley Student Union Society, Sukhi led the first all-female executive team to govern and serve their 9,000 members. In this role, she assisted with launching services like the Gender Equality Centre, PrideUFV, and a full-service Food Bank operation. Sukhi also developed the 2017-2020 UFVSUS Seeking Reconciliation Strategic Plan and co-developed the school’s ‘Prevention, Education, and Response to Sexualized Violence’ policy which was adopted by the Board of Governors last year. Currently, Sukhi serves as a director for two local non-profit boards.
Margo Dent, Squamish
Margo Dent had a goal to transform resources and support for the LGBTQIA+ community in the sea-to-sky corridor. Through her skilled and inspired leadership, Safe ‘n Sound Squamish was founded to provide care, education, and resources for LGBTQIA+ folks and their families. Margo also serves as Chair of the Squamish Savings Partner Board, investing funds into the community through the bank’s shared success program and legacy funds. With genuine care and compassion, Margo has spent 30 years serving as a special care foster parent, creating a safe and loving home environment for children with developmental delays, physical challenges, medical complications and emotional trauma.
Chris Gadsden, Chilliwack
Chris Gadsden is a passionate advocate for fish and fish habitat in the Fraser Valley. In 2002, Chris helped spearhead the Chilliwack/Vedder River Clean-Up Society to address the issue of illegal garbage dumping along the riverbanks. Since its inception, the society has hosted over 40 clean-up events, including 14 World River Day celebrations. Deeply committed to his community, Chris has also volunteered countless hours to developing softball and ice hockey leagues, and coordinating youth ball and hockey associations.
Patricia Grue, Stewart
Her beloved Stewart community knows Patricia Grue for her commitment to serving many local programs for the past 40 years. Dedicating countless hours to the local food bank, the Christmas Hamper Program, the Stewart Services Society, and various youth programs, Patricia also played a pivotal role in establishing the town’s recycling program, an initiative close to her heart. Described as “a woman of service” Patricia has modelled humility, kindness and perseverance with every generous act.
Terri Hanen, Dawson Creek
Terri Hanen is a passionate advocate for the arts. By volunteering for The South Peace Art Society and the Community Arts Council, along with her position as Executive Director of the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre (KPAC), she has helped establish a thriving arts and cultural scene in her community. Instrumental in building a home for the KPAC, Terri has created a hub for musicians, dancers and artists and the public who appreciate them. Through her work with Community Futures Peace Liard, Terri has also helped hundreds of entrepreneurs in the region work towards successfully launching their own businesses.
Shirley Henry, Pemberton
Recognized as a local hero, Shirley Henry’s decades of service to Pemberton are widely acknowledged and appreciated. Shirley served on Council as Alderman and Mayor for a total of 19 years, during which time she also contributed to local youth, working as a teacher and Brownie/Cub leader. Her contributions to her community are vast and varied: from chairing the Canada Week Committee for 25 years, to chairing the Airport and Forestry Committee, and acting as Vice Chair to the Sea-to- Sky Economic Development Commission, Shirley truly does it all. Today, Shirley serves as Secretary and Treasurer for Tourism Pemberton, the Pemberton Community Endowment Fund, and the Spirit of BC Committee.
Geraldine Hinton, Victoria
Geraldine Hinton is a longtime advocate for the lives and welfare of older people. As Director of the BC Government’s Office for Seniors, she helped develop a national framework on aging and a strategic plan for later life policy. Geraldine has also upheld a long-term association with Beacon Community Services Society, Veterans’ Memorial Lodge at Broadmead and the Alzheimer Society of BC. Recently, she was honoured to receive the Alzheimer Society of BC Clyde and Lanny Slade Memorial Leadership Award in recognition of her important hands-on work with the society over the past 20 years. Geraldine has also held numerous volunteer roles with St. John Ambulance and acted as Vice Chancellor of Community Services for the Priory of Canada.
Doug Hopwood, Qualicum Beach
In 2012, Doug Hopwood had a goal: to reduce the carbon footprint and minimize pollution of one of the biggest fossil energy users on Lasqueti Island – the school. Through his tireless fundraising, community engagement, and successful grant applications, Doug coordinated the installation of a large array of solar panels at False Bay School, greatly reducing dependence on the diesel generator. Doug’s dedication to the False Bay Energy Project has resulted not only in huge financial savings, but also in a reduction in fossil fuel use and the consequent GHG emissions from Lasqueti Island. His achievements are testament to his dogged determination and clear vision.
Jag Khosa, Surrey
Sgt. Jag Khosa has worked tirelessly for many years to curb gang violence in his local community. Drawing on his depth of experience and through the support of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC (CFSEU-BC), Jag developed an educational platform to reach vulnerable youth and their parents. Through articles, workshops and guest spots on radio and television, Jag is driven to shine a light on gang prevention by sharing CFSEU-BC’s End Gang Life messaging. He also volunteers his time to Students Against Violence Everywhere, SAHELI, Our Global Village and the Surrey Rotary Club. Jag’s commitment has resulted in hope restored to many families and young lives forever changed.
Jim Lamond, Richmond
Spanning 45 years, Jim Lamond’s immense contributions to community sport have touched many lives. As co-founder of KidSportTM Richmond and as a founding member of the Richmond Sports Council, Jim has helped shape the sporting community in Richmond from the ground up. He has also dedicated countless volunteer hours to the BC Forester Games for disabled athletes, the BC Summer Games, and BC Senior Games. The calibre of Jim’s accomplishments are as significant today as they will be for future generations.
Paddy Macleod, West Vancouver
Paddy Macleod has dedicated the past 45 years to enriching Vancouver’s cultural landscape. As the General Manager of the Vancouver Cantata Singers (VCS) she leveraged her experience to not only obtain grant funding, but to assist the Director and choir in winning the Canada Council’s Healey-Willan Prize, three times. Paddy co-founded the Blackbird Theatre Company in 2004, and through her volunteer work and commitment to mentorship, she has helped shape the province’s arts scene. Today, Paddy is a board member and secretary of the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra and Vice-Chair of the Vancouver Concert Hall and Theatre Society.
Jo Mitchell, Metchosin
As founder of the Metchosin Community Association, Jo Mitchell has played a pivotal role in developing a rich and vibrant community through their Community House – quite literally, the heart of Metchosin. Jo has also served as President of the Metchosin Equestrian Society, joint founder of the Neighbourhood Response Program and editor of the community’s local paper. She served as a Councillor for three terms and, during this time, she inspired support for the Metchosin Arts and Cultural Centre Association, and the Seniors’ Information Resource Centre. As a result of Jo’s vision and dedication, Metchosin was one of the first to be recognized as an ‘age friendly community’ by the BC Provincial Government.
Charles Newton, Granisle
Charles Newton has dedicated 28 years to serving the Granisle Volunteer Fire Department, and 26 years as a member of the BC Ambulance Service, volunteering as an on-call ambulance attendant to help those in need. During a blizzard in 2006, Charles took it upon himself to visit each home in the region, to ensure the residents were safe and able to withstand the storm. In a small town where many residents are older, Charles’ generosity and tireless service provides comfort and a strong sense of community for all.
Mary O’Neill, Coquitlam
As President of the Talitha Koum Society, Mary O’Neill, helps empower women with addictions by providing a home, a nurturing community, 12-step programming and life skills training. A former teacher, counselor, and principal, her career spanned almost 40 years and her dedicated committee work helped establish the Tri-Cities’ first restorative-justice program now known as Communities Embracing Restorative Action (CERA). Today, Mary opens up her home regularly for support and social gatherings for immigrant women.
Jerrilyn Schembri, Tumbler Ridge
Jerrilyn Schembri’s dedication to her Tumbler Ridge community is vast and varied, having contributed to the Tumbler Ridge Umbrella Committee, Museum Foundation and Emergency Planning Committee, in addition to the Red Cross Disaster Services. She also advocates for local youth through her work with the Tumbler Ridge Youth Services Society, and as Board Director of the Tumbler Ridge Arts Council and Board Chair of the Tumbler Ridge Library. Jerrilyn is a powerful force in her town and continues to immerse herself in community life.
Aart Schuurman Hess, Vancouver
As CEO of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Aart Schuurman Hess strives to build self-efficacy in GVFB membership by providing access to healthy food, education and training. Thanks to his strong leadership, GVFB has significantly improved member experience and the quality of food they distribute by developing food guidelines and nutrition standards; providing a more dignified member experience; and fostering educational programs. Aart brings a tireless and positive energy to his work, successfully forging partnerships with businesses and playing a strong role in shaping food security policy on multiple levels. Under Aart’s leadership, GVFB has become one of the most innovative and leading organizations tackling food insecurity in North America, serving 27,000 members each week.
Min Sidhu, Vernon
With 22 years of provincial government inner workings Min Sidhu has selflessly dedicated herself to the Vernon community. Serving on numerous community boards in the capacity of Director or President, such as the Okanagan Anti Racism Board, Multicultural Society of Vernon, Vernon Women’s Transition Board, ILearn BC and the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan. Min also founded the Vernon Punjabi Heritage Society, and now serves as its Honorary Chairperson. Her passion for her community and willingness to give and serve were recognized in 2011 when she was awarded the Vernon Woman of the Year Award.
Jeff Swann, Ucluelet
During Staff Sergeant Jeff Swann’s six years of service to the Ucluelet RCMP detachment, the community’s crime rate has dropped by a staggering 60 percent. Deeply committed to his job and engaging with local youth groups and schools, Jeff has been honoured with the BC Youth Police Officer of the Year, Fort St. John Police Officer of the Year, and Ucluelet’s Citizen of the Year awards. He has also worked hard to forge positive relationships between the local First Nations and the RCMP in Ucluelet. Whether he’s fundraising, educating others or volunteering, Jeff is known for his selfless service and inspiring commitment to his community.
Lisa Tallio, Bella Coola
Deeply committed to women, Lisa Tallio worked with Minerva BC for the past decade, developing and delivering leadership programming for women across the province. Lisa believes that the most profound way to create positive change is by supporting opportunities for Indigenous women; a proud member of the Nuxalk and Heiltsuk First Nations, she has travelled the province in pursuit of this commitment. Thanks to her vision and leadership, Minvera’s ‘Combining Our StrengthTM’ initiative continues to grow and, in 2017, the groundbreaking ‘Indigenous Roots’ outdoor leadership program for urban Indigenous girls was launched – a dream realized for Lisa.
Kim van der Woerd, West Vancouver
Kim van der Woerd is a member of the ‘Namgis First Nation and demonstrates exceptional leadership both professionally and personally. As a Board member of the YWCA Metro Vancouver and more recently, the YWCA Canada, she inspired a commitment to reconciliation in the board’s strategic plan that will define advocacy efforts for years to come. Kim’s volunteer work has contributed to progress on a multitude of issues: the full engagement of Indigenous peoples in economy and society, women’s health and reproductive rights, the mentorship of young Indigenous professionals, and support for women’s equality. She serves on various boards and is the founder and operator of Reciprocal Consulting.
Pete Wise, Coldstream
An active search and rescue volunteer with Vernon Search & Rescue for over 50 years, Pete Wise has played a key role in establishing the unit into one of the premier search and rescue organizations in the province. Whether he is dedicating his time to training others, advocacy or leading challenging rescues, Pete is known for his positive spirit, and depth of experience. A founding member of the British Columbia Search & Rescue Association, Pete has also served many years as Director of the British Columbia SAR Association.
Andy Yu, Vancouver
Andy Yu served as President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia for seven years, and he has worked tirelessly for the inclusion of people living with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Through his vision and leadership, Andy transformed the association, significantly developing the programs and services available, increasing the organizations revenue by 100 percent and earning the City of Vancouver’s Accessibility and Inclusion Award in 2013. As a person living with cerebral palsy, Andy serves as an inspiration and role model to many.
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