2017 BC Community Achievers Announced
March 31, 2017
VANCOUVER – Premier Christy Clark and Scott McIntyre, CM, Chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, today named this year’s recipients of the BC Community Achievement Awards.
“What makes British Columbia a great place to call home is the generosity, dedication and commitment of British Columbians,” said Premier Clark. “Thank you to the 2017 recipients for always going the extra mile for your communities, and your province.”
“Today we celebrate the efforts of extraordinary British Columbians who strive to make our province a better place to live,” said McIntyre. “We thank them for their remarkable efforts through their work and volunteering.”
The recipients of the 2017 awards are:
• John and Sandra Barth, Burns Lake
• Garry F. Benson, Q.C., Kelowna
• Roger Bird, Nanaimo
• FR Charles Brandt, ERM, Black Creek
• Melanie Cadden, Nanaimo
• Daphne Cole, Vancouver
• Dorothy Durham, Jaffray
• Sardul S. Gill, Victoria
• Joanne Greenwood, Coquitlam
• Gerry Juzenas, Burnaby
• George Laverock, Vancouver
• Kenneth W. Lepin, Kamloops
• Krista Levar, Prince George
• Ann McNabb, Chilliwack
• William K. (Bill) Milsom, North Vancouver
• Tony Moore, Terrace
• Dalvir Nahal, Vernon
• Dr. Ralph Nilson, Nanaimo
• Walter Paetkau, Abbotsford
• Fred Robbins, Alkali Lake
• Birgit Sharman, Tumbler Ridge
• Barbara Stewart, Vancouver
• Carol Todd, Port Coquitlam
• Lin Wei (Henry) Tung, Sardis
• Master Lian Tzi, Vancouver
• Thomas George Whipps, Lantzville
An independent committee selects the recipients of the British Columbia Community Achievement Awards. The 2017 selection committee members are Mayor Jack Froese of the Township of Langley, Mayor Carol Leclerc of the City of Terrace and past recipients, Sue Bauman of Vancouver, Raghwa Gopal of Kelowna and David Young of Vancouver.
The recipients of the 2017 awards will be recognized in a formal presentation ceremony at Government House in Victoria on April 26, 2017. Each recipient will receive a certificate and a medallion designed by BC artist Robert Davidson.
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 Aboriginal Business Awards.
BC Achievement Foundation
2017 BC Community Achievement Awards
John and Sandra Barth, Burns Lake
John and Sandra Barth are known as diligent, behind-the-scenes volunteers, contributing at numerous community events in Burns Lake. Over the past 40 years, and always side-by-side, John and Sandra have lent their positive attitudes and energy to countless organizations, including the Burns Lake & District Seniors Society, the BC Senior Games, Terry Fox Run, the Lakes District Arts Council, along with projects for youth and rural outreach programs.
Garry F. Benson, Q.C., Kelowna
Garry Benson believes that giving back and actively participating in your community is essential. He has volunteered his time and expertise to building a supportive community for businesses and advocating for sustainable economic growth through his role as Former Chair and Director of Kelowna’s Economic Development Commission and as Current Director of the Uptown Rutland Business Association. Garry can also be found in activities as diverse as organizing pig roasts and cooking hot dogs at community markets to donating over 1500 hours of pro-bono legal counsel to those in need.
Roger Bird, Nanaimo
For the past two decades, Roger Bird has volunteered 30 hours a week to the Vancouver Island Military Museum (VIMM) and his involvement has grown with the institution he now heads as President. From a modest beginning in borrowed space in a shopping mall, the museum, now located in downtown Nanaimo, houses an unparalleled collection. It uniquely focuses on the contributions of all of Canada’s armed forces, including army, navy, air, peacekeeping, merchant navy and RCMP. A tourist destination and valuable heritage site for locals, the VIMM is a stunning achievement and powerful resource for understanding community members’ military history.
FR Charles Brandt, ERM, Black Creek
Father Charles Brandt believes that it is humanity’s great work to transform our disruptive influence on the earth to a benign presence. As a leading member of the Tsolum River Restoration Society, in partnership with other groups, he spearheaded a campaign to get the old copper mine site capped at a cost of $4.5 million, which enabled the immediate return of salmon to the river. Father Brandt has also volunteered with the Oyster River Enhancement Society contributing to the return of salmon and trout stocks to the once decimated river.
Melanie Cadden, Nanaimo
Melanie Cadden is the General Manager of COCO Cafe, a project of Cedar Opportunities Co-operative. COCO’s mission is to operate a successful social enterprise that supports employment, training, and socialization opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. Under Melanie’s leadership, COCO’s team of less than 10 employees has grown to over 40 and the café now runs a full catering department. Soliciting donations from the community and exhausting grant funding when available, Melanie is an integral part of COCO’s success and a skilled community leader.
Daphne Cole, Vancouver
Daphne Cole has been making a difference in the lives of young people in BC for the past 30 years. As founder of the BC Children’s Hospital Auxiliary to help support families, patients and hospital staff in 1982, Daphne is a champion for the hospital and its mission. She is a significant donor to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and served a six-year term as a Governor. These efforts, along with her extensive volunteering have made her a child health ambassador for the entire province and crucial to the achievements and continuing excellence of the BC Children’s Hospital.
Dorothy Durham, Jaffray
The Village of Jaffray has benefited enormously from Dorothy Durham’s time, energy and experience. Her dedication to all aspects of community life has made her an integral part of Jaffray’s social, cultural and economic well-being. Whether using her training as a nurse and caring for those in need or volunteering through Crime Watch, the local Lady Lions, 4-H and the Galloway Curling Club, Dorothy reflects the importance of giving back through her daily actions. She is an invaluable member of her community who serves as an inspiration to those she supports.
Sardul S. Gill, Victoria
Born and raised in Victoria, Sardul Gill is actively involved in the local Sikh community where he is well known as a philanthropist and community elder. He donated $5 million to the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business, establishing a permanent endowment for scholarships and financial awards, international projects, teaching and research. The Sardul S. Gill Graduate School at UVic marks the first time in Canada that such an institution has been named for a philanthropist of Sikh Indian descent and was the largest gift received from an alumnus to a graduate program at the university.
Joanne Greenwood, Coquitlam
Joanne Greenwood is dedicated to the empowerment of youth. She has transformed her personal experience as a survivor of bullying into a call for action through extensive involvement in campaigns and organizations to prevent others from suffering. An anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying advocate, Joanne co-founded Bully Free Zone Canada in 2011 and also co-founded the “BE BOLD!” campaign in 2013 to increase awareness of bullying – this campaign rapidly evolved into a means for people to express themselves through photography and anagrams, turning hurtful words to empowering ones.
Gerry Juzenas, Burnaby
Gerry Juzenas has, for 40 years, worked to advance the rights of people with disabilities along with the community’s understanding of issues specific to this population. Through various advocacy and board roles with organizations such as the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) and InclusionBC, in addition to presentations at local colleges and high schools, Gerry embodies what passion and commitment can achieve in furthering the rights of, and opportunities for, people with developmental disabilities.
George Laverock, Vancouver
A vision of Vancouver as a creative centre for world-class music has driven the commitment of George Laverock through his remarkable career and outstanding community involvement. George has made a lasting difference through his accomplishments in public broadcasting, arts administration and non-profit governance while mentoring the next generation of musicians. His volunteer involvement with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the Canadian Music Centre, to name a few, along with countless hours on numerous boards, has created a legacy for musical arts and culture in British Columbia.
Kenneth W. Lepin, Kamloops
A recognized community leader, Ken Lepin is ubiquitous in Kamloops, working on boards including the City of Kamloops Board of Variance, Venture Kamloops and the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Foundation. A visionary philanthropist, Ken’s generosity will have an enduring impact on residents of the community of Kamloops and BC for many future generations. Leading by example, Ken serves as an inspiration through his quiet and unassuming leadership driven by his dedicated passion to give back.
Krista Levar, Prince George
A dedicated member of the Prince George community and a leading expert on therapy dogs, Krista Levar was among the first Victim Services managers in the province to introduce Crisis K-9’s into a victim-serving agency. With her dog, Max, she helps children navigate the complex court legal system and has introduced groundbreaking work in this field in BC. Levar has also created a personal safety education program for girls at risk called Run for Fun, serves as a board member of the New Hope Society, and has been a volunteer Big Sister for eight years.
Ann McNabb, Chilliwack
The Girl Guides of Canada have been at the core of Ann McNabb’s life since she first began her 52-year journey with them at eight years old. Her commitment embodies the organization’s goal to make a positive difference in the life of every girl and woman so she can contribute responsibly to her community. Moving through its ranks as both a Brownie and Guide leader, Ann now serves as the District Commissioner for Chilliwack District Girl Guides with 150 girl and adult members under her guidance. In addition to this commitment to the Girl Guides, Ann is engaged in the executive of the Canadian Council of the Blind’s Chilliwack chapter, along with two advocacy roles with other organizations for vision impaired and blind persons.
William K. (Bill) Milsom, North Vancouver
As both a community volunteer in safety and rescue organizations in North Vancouver and as an academic leader and mentor at the University of British Columbia, Bill Milsom is passionate about helping others. He has served for more than 20 years with the North Shore Rescue Team, acting as one of 40 highly trained members who must perform at the highest level of mountaineering and first aid skills while responding to difficult conditions at short notice. His dedication is reflected in all he does and, since 1985, Bill has also volunteered with the First Aid Ski Patrol (FASP) at Cypress Mountain, donating over 2000 hours of service.
Tony Moore, Terrace
Tony Moore is a trail builder and a primary influence in the development of multi-use trails in Terrace. Over the past 15 years, he has assisted with the design, building, and maintenance of trails in the Terrace region, enjoyed by hundreds of hikers, runners and bikers every week. In 2010, he consolidated all design input and funding for Steinhoe Ridge and helped build the trail as a volunteer and later as the supervisor of construction. Tony is responsible for the complexity and quality of the Terrace trail network – parts of which he walks almost daily to identify and resolve problem areas – that has expanded from five kilometers to over 35 today.
Dalvir Nahal, Vernon
Dalvir Nahal leads efforts and volunteers her time to help people dealing with mental health issues, homelessness and racism. Her work has bridged communities and promoted diversity, built rooms in hospitals and cancer clinics, provided cancer treatment support for patients without health benefits, food for the homeless, health assistance for the mentally ill, and tourism ideas and green solutions for her community. Dalvir volunteers with several community organizations and foundations and has raised over $220,000 in funds for charitable causes in addition to her four community board positions.
Dr. Ralph Nilson, Nanaimo
Dr. Ralph Nilson has worked with thoughtful dedication over many years to create opportunities for former youth in care to pursue a post-secondary education. As President and Vice-Chancellor of Vancouver Island University (VIU), he was the first university leader in BC to respond to this call and continues to be a leader in this area today. With an unwavering support for the process of reconciliation and a strong commitment to ensuring Indigenous students have access to relevant and positive post-secondary opportunities, Ralph has changed the landscape for hundreds of youth leaving care and molded VIU into a model for others to learn from.
Walter Paetkau, Abbotsford
When he started Abbotsford Community Services in 1969 as a small, unfunded organization with an all-volunteer staff, Walter Paetkau was moved by compassion, care and commitment to his community, particularly those in need and the less fortunate. He has since grown it to become the province’s largest community service organization, with 380 staff, 2,000 volunteers and 23 sites. Among its 70 programs are a food bank, Meals On Wheels and the Abbotsford Recycling Depot. Thirty years ago, Walter launched the first Fraser Valley United Way campaign, which now raises funds for more than 26 local charities.
Fred Robbins, Alkali Lake
Fred Robbins is dedicated to uniting all communities of the Cariboo Chilcotin to ensure the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School and its survivors are not forgotten. During his time as Chief of Esk’etemc First Nation he initiated public events, workshops and seminars, as well as a monument at the school and in Williams Lake’s Boitanio Park, and was also instrumental in the development of Orange Shirt Day, which continues today. Through his vision, Fred, a residential school survivor, brought together First Nations, Tribal Councils, local government leaders, school districts, and former students to remember, recover and reconcile. He continues with his message today and has given voice and hope to the Truth and Reconciliation process in British Columbia.
Birgit Sharman, Tumbler Ridge
For more than a decade, Birgit Sharman has championed a number of key impact events for the Tumbler Ridge community. Through her work with the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society since its inception in 1992, Birgit organized the Ridge Ramble Cross Country Ski Race and has served on the Emperor’s Challenge Mountain Run Organizing Committee for fifteen years, helping it to become the largest off-road running event in BC. In addition, Birgit supported and serves on the Board of Directors of the community’s most exciting development, the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark, which is one of 111 such UNESCO Global Geoparks worldwide, and only the second in North America.
Barbara Stewart, Vancouver
Barbara Stewart embodies the spirit of Variety – the Children’s Charity of BC, which states that “together we can be there when families need us most” through her four decades of remarkable commitment to the charity. She has served as a volunteer with Variety holding every significant office in the organization and contributing in a range of ways. She’s been President, assisted every fundraising effort, been a member of the President’s Circle for Variety International, introduced and chaired the Gold Hearts campaign and raised more than $5 million for children with special needs. Barbara is an invaluable part of Variety and continues to inspire by her commitment and actions.
Carol Todd, Port Coquitlam
Since 2012, Carol Todd has been an active and dedicated advocate raising awareness on the dangers of cyberbullying. Building on the tragic suicide of her daughter, Amanda Todd, Carol promotes her daughter’s message of hope and strength. Her platform reaches parents and children alike and, by sharing her personal experience of losing a child, she engages her community on mental health awareness while delivering valuable education and resources to those in need throughout British Columbia and beyond. Carol created the Amanda Todd Legacy Society in honour of her daughter’s memory to recognize the uniqueness within each person and, by doing so, empowering their individuality.
Lin Wei (Henry) Tung, Sardis
Motivation, work ethic and a commitment to community define Henry Tung’s contributions to his high school and community. Originally from Taiwan, Henry and his family immigrated to Chilliwack, via PEI, and he was determined to give back to his new home. As a consistent honour roll student, Henry also volunteered for a wide variety of school clubs and community organizations while volunteering with the Red Cross, Fraser Health, and Interact Club to name a few. Now a second year scholarship student a Queen’s University, Henry has left a lasting impact on his hometown school and community and is an example for other students to follow.
Master Lian Tzi, Vancouver
An accomplished Buddhist master, lecturer, writer and yoga master, Master Lian Tzi stands out for her dedication and quiet leadership to promote the values of peace, compassion and selfless community service. As President of the Lotus Light Charity Society, Master Lian Tzi has guided its humanitarian missions to help Vancouver’s most vulnerable through the Hot Meal for the Homeless Program, Winter Charity Drive, Annual Rice Donation Program and Children’s Backpack Program to name a few. The Society’s inspired goal, “through caring and learning we help build a better tomorrow” drives Master Lian Tzi’s commitment which comes straight from the heart and her caring dedication has made her community a better and brighter place.
Thomas George Whipps, Lantzville
Tom Whipps’s volunteer commitment stands out as a much beloved member of the Lantzville community. Lantzville relies on volunteers and ‘neighbours taking care of neighbours’ and Tom embodies this ethic in everything he does. He served for two decades as a Scout leader and continues to help the organization, even though his sons are long since grown up. Active in the community’s sports, its seniors’ group, as well as a dedicated volunteer firefighter, Tom’s efforts are legendary and represent the lifeblood of his town. An ambassador for the community and a good citizen who has made a difference, Tom is a true leader whose example is an inspiration to all.