British Columbia Recognizes Medal of Good Citizenship Recipients

British Columbia is recognizing outstanding citizens with the Medal of Good Citizenship for their exceptional long-term service, and contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward. The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life.

View recipients by last name:



Budd Abbott

Philip Henry Abbott, a retired businessman known to most as Bud, received the medal for his commitment to local service with his involvement in worthy causes like Rotary, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Meals on Wheels and the Salvation Army.

The big-hearted resident was active for years in the Cranbrook Community Theatre and often still shows up with friends at an office building or two to sing Christmas carols or Happy Birthday.  Abbott has sung regularly at local senior’s homes for 40+ years and "Buddn Frenz" and continues to sing 3 times weekly for the "old folks" in Cranbrook and Kimberley.

picture of Budd Abbott - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Cranbrook
  • Region: Kootenay

Ray Abernethy

Ray Abernethy was honoured with the medal for his dedication to helping women in transition, single moms and dads on income assistance, new immigrant families, refugees, fire victims, seniors and others in Burnaby by providing basic household necessities to relieve the cost of establishing and maintaining a comfortable home.

From its humble beginnings 35 years ago in Abernethy's garage, the Helping Families in Need Society has blossomed into a local organization that operates out of a 585 square-metre (6,500 square-foot) warehouse and helps more than 1,300 families a year. More than 65 Lower Mainland agencies and government offices rely on the Helping Families in Need services by referring clients to the organization.  As Abernethy himself says, "One person can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone."

picture of Ray Abernethy - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Burnaby
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

The People of Ahousaht First Nation & the Community of Tofino

The Community of Tofino and the People of Ahousaht First Nation Community were honoured with the medal of good citizenship for the selfless dedication demonstrated in October 2015 when coming to the assistance of the families and victims of the sinking of the Leviathan II near Tofino.

The People of Ahousaht First Nation Community were recognized for their brave assistance of victims during the sinking. After Clarence Smith and deckhand Kenny Brown spotted an emergency flare while out on the water, without delay they set their boat’s course in the direction of the distress signal. Their immediate reaction and further support from Ahousaht members who arrived on the scene with several boats to assist undoubtedly saved numerous lives.

The two are the first communities to ever to receive the Medal of Good Citizenship.

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Ahousaht & Tofino
  • Region: Vancouver Island/Coast

Selen Alpay

Selen Alpay moved to Prince George just over a decade ago. Today, it is difficult to find a good cause that he has not contributed to or quietly supported, and the line of people who have been touched by his philanthropy, generosity of spirit or personal kindness is lengthy. He is known for his compassion and enormous heart, and one does not need to know him long before realizing that Alpay is a man on a mission to make his world a better place.

As a person, Alpay models good citizenship and humanity to everyone he meets, giving generously of his time to multiple volunteer boards and organizations in the city and beyond: spending time with elders in care at Simon Fraser Lodge, and supporting and mentoring youth within his company and the community.

A new branch of the Boys Club Network is being proposed by the Aboriginal Education Department in the Prince George school district and already Alpay is engaged and involved. Any young man enrolled in the new program will benefit from Alpay 's deep compassion, kindness and wisdom.

In 2017, Alpay was named Citizen of the Year by the Prince George Community Foundation in recognition of how he goes above and beyond in volunteerism and philanthropy. As a lifetime volunteer, he has a deep appreciation for community members who give back and he frequently endeavors to recognize their efforts. Last year's long and difficult fire season saw Prince George receive and host more than 10,000 evacuees from the Cariboo region. Alpay was a key supporter behind an event to recognize the local volunteers who helped during the crisis.

As a corporate citizen, Alpay sets an exceptional example of social responsibility for other organizations through his wide-ranging support of youth, sport, arts, culture, health care and social causes. His quiet personal philanthropy extends to his belief in corporate philanthropy, and his company is his most visible way of giving back to the community through sponsorship of, and donations to, countless organizations and events.

As an employer, he truly believes that good culture starts at the top. In recognition of this, in 2017, his Canadian Tire store was presented the award for Outstanding Corporate Culture at the Prince George Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

picture of Selen Alpay - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient 

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Prince George
  • Region: Cariboo

Judith Armstrong & Nicholas Marsden

Judith Armstrong and Nicholas Marsden, both Victoria residents, received the medal for their decades of dedication to British Columbians with developmental disabilities. They have helped create joy and life enhancing experiences for both people with disabilities and inspired hundreds of volunteers to work alongside with them.

The seeds of volunteerism began early with Armstrong when she assisted a Kiwanis-supported Oak Bay high school club that helped people with disabilities followed by work with the Easter Seal Camps. Observing that there were limited opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in events fuelled Armstrong to launch a large, annual track and field event in Victoria where every competitor is matched with a counsellor for the entire duration of the event. She also founded the Handicapped Recreation Society, again with a goal of increasing access for persons with disabilities.

Her volunteer contributions reach beyond the national borders as she serves on the board for the Canadian Foundation for the Children of Haiti which provides funds, materials and expertise to two orphanages, a home for children with disabilities, three schools and a hospital in Port au Prince. She regularly travels with a team to Haiti to deliver supplies to the Hope Home for young people with disabilities.

Marsden's volunteerism extends to many arenas. He is part of an army of volunteers who band under the District of Saanich’s Pulling Together Volunteer Program to remove evasive plants and restore ecosystems, and for years he served on the Gordon Head Soccer Association board. For more than 15 years he has helped co-ordinate the annual Math Challengers Contest held at Camosun College, opening the door for participating students aged 13 to 15 to discover the wonder and fun of mathematics.

For more than 45 years, Armstrong and co-recipient Marsden have organized Operation Trackshoes, a volunteer-run sports festival geared towards British Columbians with developmental disabilities. Under their leadership, the festival has grown to become a highlight on the provincial calendar that welcomes some 500 competitors between the ages of six and 80. Operation Trackshoes fosters comradery among the participants, who look forward every year to a weekend of races, games, social activities and giving representation to their home communities. Approximately 600 volunteers, including counsellors, nurses and officials, work to make the event a success.

Armstrong takes charge of counsellor recruitment and competitor care for the event, while Marsden is the track and field administrator, ensuring events run smoothly by taking care of a myriad of details including writing the computer programs that assist the efficient scheduling of the hundreds of participants and recording their scores.

picture of Judith Armstrong - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

picture of Nicholas Marsden - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Victoria
  • Region: Vancouver Island/Coast

Pat Ashton

Pat Ashton was honoured for the incredible mark he has made on Slocan, improving its vibrancy, physical landscape and economic health in the 12+ years he has resided there.

Starting at town hall meetings, Ashton created community enthusiasm and built a 40-member volunteer squad to paint and renovate a former school to include a community gym and install new landscaping. He oversaw the relocation of the village cenotaph to the square and is now involved in planning the landscaping around the cenotaph and grounds. The beautification of the village is an ongoing part of Ashton's volunteering and includes litter pick-up around the information site and repairs and painting of the village sign.

Ashton also devotes energy to improving the area’s economic health, serving for four years on the Slocan Economics Committee where he oversaw the contract to create a plan for a sustainable future for the Slocan.

His service to community and countless hours of volunteering include serving on the Spirit of Slocan Committee. Many community celebrations have benefitted from his ongoing involvement. He plays Santa at Christmas events, helps organize Halloween Hoot fireworks, and every Boxing Day he organizes a family skating party.

Ashton is the current president of the Slocan Valley Legion Branch 276 and as part of his support for the legion he organized renovations for the village-owned legion/community hall and researched grants that helped complete them. He does the yearly Poppy service at the school and officiates the community Remembrance Day service.

picture of Pat Ashton - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Slocan
  • Region: Kootenay

Troy Becker

Troy Becker, a resident of West Kelowna, was honoured for contributions to making his community a safer place and helping to create life-enhancing opportunities that build confidence for people with disabilities.

A professional firefighter and volunteer search and rescue member since 2001, Becker created the Community Recreation Initiatives Society to benefit people with disabilities wanting outdoor experiences like kayaking, zip lining, bicycle riding and mountain climbing. He and his organization also run annual camps throughout the province for various groups like Spinal Cord Injury British Columbia and families with children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

His creativity and dedication to his community help people of all ages and disabilities, including some with life-threatening illnesses, gain confidence. As well, his passion has inspired many others to volunteer and bring joy to the lives of individuals and their families.

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: West Kelowna
  • Region: Thompson/Okanagan

Richard Bergen

Richard Bergen was honoured with the medal for his deep capacity to serve the Forest Grove community benefitting many of its citizens.

His service to community and countless hours of volunteering include a myriad of every day chores done with enthusiasm. His volunteerism includes helping with fire hall operations, mowing lawns and clearing snow for seniors and in public spaces, and volunteering at community activities. He is a regular volunteer at school track-and-field events and he helps coach students in shot put.

Bergen, who has limited use of his right hand and arm and requires a brace on his right leg following a devastating motor-vehicle accident at age seven, is a powerful role model for exemplary citizenship, making meaningful contributions throughout the community and supporting citizens of all ages.

Always willing to lend a hand, he helped found the Forest Grove 94 Lions Club, is involved with the Forest Grove Community Centre and helps organize a senior walking club, providing social time to a group of seniors. He is also an invaluable volunteer at the Forest Grove Fire Department, looking after dispatch, keeping the hall clean, preparing reports and ordering supplies.

picture of Richard Bergen - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Forest Grove
  • Region: Cariboo

Alberta "Wadzeed" Billy

Alberta Billy is an Elder of the We Wai Kai. One of four tribes of the Laich-Kwil-Tach First Nation. We Wai Kai is  a large sea worm that lives in the ocean that can never be destroyed. Her given name is Wadzeed meaning 'Precious One'.

Alberta showed leadership at a very young age. In 1981, her and colleagues Thelma Davis and Stan McKay were invited to the General Council Executive of the United Church of Canada.  This is when Alberta asked the United Church for an apology for their role in residential schools. This led to an historic moment for Canada when, in 1986, the United Church of Canada became the first religious organization to apologize to Indigenous peoples for its part in colonization. Her request for the apology and the delivery of that apology set the stage for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Alberta has dedicated her life to helping and teaching others and has gained the respect and admiration of everyone who meets her.

She trained to help those who have experienced trauma and helps many on their path toward healing.

She is a mentor and a role model to many people and inspires Indigenous women to use their voices to speak out against injustice.

Carrying on and sharing traditional knowledge has been a lifelong commitment for Alberta; it has guided her life.

She has travelled across Canada co-facilitating the Building Bridges Through Understanding the Village experiential workshop. This teaching circle shows how all of us are connected and interconnected and is a transformational experience that helps healing and reconciliation. Alberta's co-faciliation and mentorship of The Village has led many to stepping fully into understanding and reconciliation.

Alberta continues to guide and mentor by serving as an Elder on the Board of Laichwiltach Family Life Services, the Elder Advisory Circles for MCFD Aboriginal Child and Youth Mental Health and the John Howard Society's Elders Council.

picture of Alberta Billy - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient 

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Quathiaski Cove
  • Region: Vancouver Island/Coast

Joan “Bays” Blackhall 

The historic village of Fort Langley is regarded as a charming reminder of a gentler age and a slower pace of life, evoking a time when neighbours supported one another and worked for the common good. That Fort Langley has built and sustained this enviable reputation is largely due to the efforts of a single person, Bays Blackhall. Her devotion to Fort Langley was legendary.

Fort Langley was Blackhall’s passion; promoting, enhancing and protecting the village’s character was her mission. Whenever there was a need, Blackhall was there: developing strategies, soliciting resources and building partnerships among diverse interest groups.

Although Blackhall’s involvement in community-building began as a school girl, her innate interest in environmental stewardship, the arts and heritage conservation took hold and blossomed in Fort Langley.

Three decades ago, she mobilized the community to halt the development of a sanitary landfill at the historic Derby town site. She successfully lobbied for the relocation of a planned Fraser River crossing to protect the site of the original Fort Langley. She also led community opposition to B.C. Hydro’s plan for a high voltage transmission line along the village’s southern boundary.

Blackhall was a creator as well as a critic, helping to organize the Derby Reach-Brae Island Park Partnership Association and managing the construction of the Houston Trail at Derby Reach Regional Park. She was an original member of the Fraser Valley Eco Museum Steering Committee and the local liaison for the construction of the Trans-Canada Trail Pavilion in Fort Langley.

Blackhall was active in both heritage and the arts, creating and managing the Fort Langley Grand Prix and Summer Fair, the Fort Festival of the Arts and the Summer Strings program for youth. She served on the boards of the Fort Langley Legacy Foundation, the Fort Langley Community Improvement Society, the Langley Heritage Society, and the Langley Community Music School and its capital campaign committee.

Blackhall worked as a docent and exhibit assistant at its community museum. She was a fervent supporter of Fort Langley National Historic Site: founding the Friends of the Fort, establishing and fostering the site’s volunteer program and developing the gift shop.

She founded and administered the Fort Langley Tourism Information Centre and oversaw the ongoing restoration of the Fort Langley Community Hall. She chaired the C.N. Station Committee, coordinated its volunteers, and masterminded the acquisition of an historic railcar and caboose to complement the site.

Blackhall was one of a kind: a mentor and team builder. She was visionary, determined, hardworking and caring. She anticipated needs, seized opportunities and built capacity in others. She laboured long and hard for many endeavours, not for personal gain, but for the benefit of the community. She was, in short, an extraordinarily good citizen.

She is survived by her daughter Jan, son John, grandson Robert, and husband Bob of 65 wonderful years.

picture of Bob Blackhall

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Langley
  • Region: 

Suzanne Bolton 

A philanthropist and dedicated hands-on volunteer for more than five decades, Suzanne Bolton’s compassion and generosity changed the way British Columbia’s communities operate.

A summary of her dedicated work includes:

  • 40 years with YWCA Metro Vancouver as a lead donor and former board member, a key member of the single mothers bursary selection committee, and volunteer at Focus@Work where she delivers inspirational support and guidance to women jobseekers.
  • 15 years with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver where she served on the board and mentored young women exiting prison to re-enter the work force.
  • 23 years of support to children and families suffering from loss and trauma in her role on the board and as a volunteer for the PACE Child and Family Society.
  • 23 years of involvement in the hiring and retention of every PACE employee, contributing to the organization’s exceptionally skilled and caring team.
  • Support to at-risk youth through Covenant House Vancouver by raising awareness, contributing financial resources and volunteering in the clothing room for 14 years.
  • After 17 years serving on the board of the Greater Vancouver Community Service Society she has moved on to the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Coast BC.

Bolton and her husband have donated generously towards numerous capital campaigns always insisting on naming the facilities after individuals who inspired her. The Maida Duncan Centre — serving marginalized women and children — was named after a long-time volunteer. More recently, the second floor of the YWCA Cause We Care House was named in memory of Linda Mitchell who was at the forefront of literacy across Canada. Bolton also established a number of bursaries for single mothers and named them after long-time friends who are active in not-for-profits.

Bolton envisioned a supportive and viable program for women aimed at changing the arc of the lives of their young children. Through her guidance and financial support, the YWCA Futures in Focus project was launched in 2014. As a long-time committee member of the YWCA Single Mothers bursary program, Bolton and her husband created the YWCA Futures Bursary program in 2017 to provide single mothers access to post-secondary education. Unlike other bursaries, the Futures Bursary provides a wraparound service until individuals complete their education and reach their employment goal.

Bolton and her husband have been funding YWCA Focus@Work in its entirety since 2014. It is the only employment program of its kind in Vancouver. Hundreds of women have successfully found employment and financial stability for themselves and their families through this program. 

picture of Suzanne Bolton - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Vancouver
  • Region: 

Trudie BonBernard

Trudie BonBernard, was honoured with the medal for her leadership and compassion benefitting children, vulnerable citizens including long-term care residents, hospice and hospital patients, youth at risk, and comforting families under stress.

Her service to community and countless hours of volunteering have helped to promote and significantly expand the service provided by the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program to Kamloops residents facing a variety of challenges. Currently 66 dog-therapy volunteers contribute more than 8,000 hours annually at more than 26 facilities in the Kamloops area. Dog-therapy teams attend community events, join library and school reading programs, visit group homes, university students, and long-term care and mental health facilities. Most recently they are visiting patients at a community dialysis unit.

Under her leadership and work on the volunteer executive of the program, BonBernard has developed and implemented a plan for program growth, member retention, community awareness and greater diversity of facility assignments and community events.

She has also inspired a volunteer to do a master’s thesis on the benefits of therapy dogs for at-risk youth in schools and has created learning and educational opportunities for all therapy dog team members.

picture of Trudie BonBernard - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Kamloops
  • Region: Thompson/Okanagan

Daniel Brown

Daniel Brown was honoured with the medal for his service to Campbell River and his countless hours of volunteerism.

Brown uses his passion for history and his experience from 39 years of working in the forest industry to educate and entertain people of all ages. At the museum in Campbell River, Brown gives public school students lively presentations on pioneer, fishing and logging history. When the museum’s 1930 Hayes-Anderson logging truck appears in parades and at local events, it is because Brown has taken on its care and maintenance.

The narrator for historical boat tours, Brown has produced several presentations on the local history of the area. These presentations are given at the museum, Elder College and around town and it is his voice narrating an episode of Canada Over the Edge about the Ripple Rock explosion on the Knowledge Network. Local senior groups have been enthralled by his presentation of the Yorke Island West Coast defence site (1939-45) that he created for the Year of the Veteran.

Brown has been a steadfast member of the Knights of Columbus since 1963, serving as financial secretary and on its Community Christmas Hamper Project Committee. He organizes ushers for special celebrations and co-ordinates student bursaries and participates in fundraisers that help the less fortunate. He is also assembling a 50th-year historical book that to tell the story of the Campbell River Knights of Columbus.

Daniel is active in other community groups including the St. Patrick’s Parish, Employee and Family Assistance Program (now known as the Upper Island Assessment and Referral Service), the City of Campbell River Parks and Recreation, the Age-Friendly Committee and the Multicultural and Immigration Services Association.

picture of Daniel Brown - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Campbell River
  • Region: Vancouver Island/Coast

W.A. "Sandy" Burpee

Sandy Burpee was honoured with the medal for his tireless work done on behalf of those in need in the Tri-Cities of Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. Among his many contributions, Burpee has been instrumental on initiatives that have a lasting impact to the community and organizations he supports. 

Burpee founded the Tri-City Area "Together Against Violence" committee and chaired the committee from 1994 to 1998. TAV was a non-partisan group dedicated to facilitating the development of proactive solutions to violence in the Tri-City area through an annual violence prevention month. He subsequently chaired a steering committee to implement a restorative justice approach to youth wrongdoing in the Tri-Cities and New Westminster and was the founding chair of the resulting Fraser-Burrard Community Justice Society, now known as the CERA Society.

As the founding chair of the Tri-Cities Housing Coalition, Burpee has advanced the cause of affordable housing in the region. He joined the Tri-Cities Homelessness Task Group as chair in 2006 and subsequently amalgamated the two organizations.

His efforts saw the creation of temporary shelter space and emergency cold weather shelters. He has been instrumental in the creation of permanent shelter located at 3030 Gordon Ave. in Coquitlam which opened in December 2015. The permanent shelter took ongoing collaboration with levels of government and non-profit organizations, all the while overcoming contentious opposition during the public-consultation process. Burpee continues to support the operation of the shelter, a low barrier facility, as a volunteer and to promote the facility in the community at every opportunity.

As a housing advocate, Burpee has served continuously since 2003 on housing task forces and committees in the Tri-Cities and across the Metro Vancouver region. Most recently in 2015, Burpee was nominated interim chair of the Metro Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness, and subsequently has been working with others on the creation of a collaborative regional approach to homelessness in the Metro Vancouver.

In 2004, SHARE Family and Community Services Society added a Food Bank Depot in Coquitlam. Burpee took on the role of volunteer co-ordinator until 2014, organizing, staffing and managing the new depot. He supervised the weekly distribution of food, developing the operating procedures that are still used today. His role also included organizing space to allow for efficient processing of the SHARE Christmas Hamper program.

In 2006, Burpee joined Coquitlam Search and Rescue, the fifth-busiest SAR team in the province. With an average of 40 tasks a year, Burpee, who retired from the team in January 2017, has been a reliable team member, deploying into the field on most tasks and taking many training courses to become a proficient SAR member. He has served on the Coquitlam Search and Rescue Society’s executive as treasurer, establishing better accounting practices and leading the team’s funding and grant application program.

Burpee lead the SAR team in a partnership with Coquitlam Alternate Basic Education (CABE) high school in an innovative outdoor education program motivating students to pursue high-school graduation. Most recently, Burpee has taken a leadership role in fundraising over $400,000 and helping to plan the construction of a new mobile command vehicle. Recognizing the need to retire the existing command vehicle, the new state-of-the-art command vehicle will serve as the hub of team search activities for the next quarter century.

picture of W.A. Sandy Burpee - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Coquitlam
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest


Clayton Cassidy

Clayton Cassidy was honored with the medal for his extensive community leadership, and, his dedicated service helping Cache Creek residents stay safe and return to their homes following the devastating flood in May of 2015. Whether it was performing back-breaking rock and mud shoveling or assisting with the overall co-ordination of clean-up and recovery, Cassidy was there for the community and its citizens.

A member of the Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department for more than three decades, Cassidy took on leadership roles in the essential service organization including Fire Chief for 10 years, from 1992 to 2002. Under his leadership the department achieved significant milestones including building a new fire hall, purchasing a new fire truck, installing a breathing air compressor, and having 10 members receive their volunteer fire fighting certificate.

His service to community and countless hours of volunteering included coaching minor hockey, soccer and minor softball; serving on a myriad of community committees including the Cache Creek Elementary School Parent Advisory Committee, and the Cache Creek Graffiti Days Committee.

Tragically, he lost his life in 2017 after being swept away by flood waters.  Chief Cassidy was commemorated at the 5th annual Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation memorial ceremony in Ottawa.

picture of Clayton Cassidy - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Cache Creek
  • Region: Thompson/Okanagan

The Community of Tofino


Kamal Dhillon

Kamal Dhillon, a survivor of severe domestic violence, was honoured with the medal for her courage to transcend her suffering from domestic violence to bring a powerful message to the public about domestic violence, offer hope to other victims, and to advocate for changes in laws.

Her service to community and countless hours of volunteering include support to victims of domestic violence and willingness to travel to conferences and communities where she brings awareness of the devastation exacted by domestic violence to classrooms, police departments, business and community organization’s, and churches. Whether speaking to officials at the World Bank, The International Monetary Fund, or a local group of educators, her inspirational message brings understanding to the complex issue, and hope to victims of domestic violence.

Although Dhillon still has residual suffering from her injuries, she remains a tireless advocate for changes in laws, better services for victims, and training for police, social workers, educators and others who may see evidence of someone being abused. In particular she lobbied for the federal government to bring in the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act and today would still like those laws to be toughened. Her personal story, told in her book Black and Blue Sari, has raised the issue on the international front and helped those on the front line to better recognize domestic abuse and provide victims with the support they need.

picture of Kamal Dhillon - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Langley
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Edward Dickins

Ed Dickins epitomizes the definition of ‘volunteer’ on behalf of his fellow citizens. From the day he volunteered for service with the British Columbia Dragoons (BCDs) in July 1940 to his continued service to the citizens of B.C. at the Okanagan Military Museum in July 2016.

Dickins served Canada as part of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps in England, Italy and Northwest Europe including being wounded during World War II. Upon his return to Canada, he continued his service with the Army Reserves until his final retirement in 1975.

Dickins has volunteered and served as:

  • Commanding officer with the Royal Canadian Army Cadets;
  • President of Branch 26 Royal Canadian Legion;
  • President of the BCD Regimental Association (Whizzbangs);
  • President and founder of the Kelowna Veendam Sister City Association;
  • Provincial president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce;
  • Co-chair of the Kelowna Cenotaph Improvement Project; and
  • Founding director of the Okanagan Military Museum Society.

In addition to his leadership roles in all of the above organizations, Dickins was a volunteer veteran representative for 16 years at Remembrance Day services at 20 senior's homes; he spoke at numerous schools about his military service and at multiple citizenship ceremonies with respect to understanding the history of Canada. He also assisted in 2016 (at age 93) in the Okanagan Military Museum Society's refurbishment of a historic World War I field gun.

It is only in very recent years that Dickins has been unable to act as a docent at the Military Museum but he does continue to work on mailing newsletters for the Whizzbang Association in spite of his near blindness.

Dickins defines good citizenship. He has spent the last eight decades of his life doing good deeds on behalf of the citizens of this country and this province. Dickins' hard work, entailing thousands of hours of volunteer time, is demonstrated by results such as: the Veendam Walk in Kelowna City Park, a new inclusive cenotaph to recognize locals who paid the ultimate sacrifice; the Okanagan Military Museum; the BCD Mural at the Military Museum; and generations of Canadians that value those who have served their country honourably.

Dickins continues to exemplify good citizenship even in his advanced age. Our British Columbia is a better place because of the compassion, dedication and tireless commitment of Ed Dickins.

picture of Edward Dickins - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Kelowna
  • Region: Thompson/Okanagan

Dave Dickson

Dave Dickson was honoured with the medal for his wide-ranging volunteer contributions made in the Williams Lake and Chilcotin Cariboo region, many of which have helped to make the community safer, reduced crime, and ensured those who are in need or vulnerable are taken care of.

His service to the community and countless hours of volunteering have benefited the Williams Lake Community Policing unit, Canadian Red Cross, Williams Lake Rotary Club, Northern BC Mobile Support Team with the Provincial Emergency Program, the local emergency support services team and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Among his many other contributions, Dickson was also instrumental in establishing several programs including the Mounted Citizens on Patrol, a first-of-its-kind program that sees local citizens ride horseback to patrol areas that are difficult to observe; Wandering program for those at risk of going missing; and the Positive Ticketing Program which rewards children for being positive citizens. He has been a member of the Cops for Cancer Tour de North team for a number of years, is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and has been involved in several international projects.

picture of Dave Dickson - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Williams Lake
  • Region: Cariboo

Kevin England

Kevin England was honoured with the British Columbia Medal of Good Citizenship for his leadership and volunteerism for many non-profit and worthwhile initiatives in Vancouver and around British Columbia. Some of these include the B.C. Women's Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Campaign, Collingwood School, The Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, Tibetan Nun Project, various recovery fellowships, and direct support to individuals and their families in recovery.

England's support and fundraising efforts have especially helped people struggling with addiction. His support helped establish the therapeutic community model of treatment in British Columbia. Specifically, he is the co-founder and president of the British Columbia New Hope Recovery Society which in 2007 established Baldy Hughes Therapeutic Community, a 65-bed, residential recovery centre located 30 kilometres southwest of Prince George. Baldy Hughes offers a long-term, abstinence-based, community-as-treatment recovery program in a remote farm setting. The program provides men recovering from addiction a unique opportunity to regain their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, and remove barriers to their long-term health.

picture of Kevin England - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Vancouver
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Chad Farquharson & Wayne McGill 

Chad Farquharson and Wayne McGill were honoured with the medal for being unrelenting advocates for B.C. families who have children with medical needs and have provided hundreds of families with healthy snacks while they care for their hospitalized child.

Their life-changing journey began when their newly adopted son was diagnosed with an extremely rare metabolic disorder. After spending time in the intensive care unit and on the ward, Farquharson and McGill became passionate advocates, doing countless hours of public speaking and engagements in support of B.C. Children’s Hospital, The Rare Disease Foundation, and Canadian PKU and Allied Disorders.

But their commitment to others doesn’t stop there. Having spent time in ICU with Grayson, they know that eating properly, or at all, takes a backseat when your child is critically ill and needs you. So, they started a program called “From Our Family to Yours” and for more than a year, twice per week, they have been dropping off food baskets of healthy snacks to the B.C. Children’s Hospital ICU and the BC Women’s Hospital NICU for families to help themselves to while they are caring for their child.

They provide much of the funds themselves but have also reached out to others through a GoFundMe page to allow other families and individuals to help support the food basket program.

picture of Chad Farquharson - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

picture of Wayne McGill - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Surrey
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Edwin Findlater

Edwin Findlater was honoured with the medal for his dedication to the needs of veterans, persons facing special hardships, and the elderly.

Since taking up residence in the Southern Okanagan Valley 32 years ago, Findlater has served his community and the province in numerous voluntary and leadership positions, including president of the Penticton Red Cross, chair of the Okanagan Falls Legacy Fund, president of Branch 227 Canadian Legion for six years, chairman of the South Okanagan/Similkameen Legion Zone, chairman of the BC Yukon Legion Command for 15 years, chairman of Okanagan Falls Helping Hands, chairman and board trustee of Okanagan Falls United Church, past superintendent of St. John’s Ambulance, director for BC Summer Games in Penticton, and the security chief for BC Winter and Summer Games.

In addition, he has been a member of the RCMP Auxiliary for 10 years, volunteer for Iron Man Canada for 23 years, coach for Special Olympics, founder of Citizens on Patrol in Okanagan Falls and Penticton, an Air Cadet instructor, volunteer with Okanagan Falls Visitors Centre, and an organizer for Okanagan Falls Community Policing.

Among his many other contributions, Findlater was also instrumental in establishing the South Skaha Housing Society with the goal of developing affordable housing for seniors living in Okanagan Falls, and because of his vision and leadership, the project is becoming a real possibility.

Arising from his 35 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces, and subsequently with the Royal Canadian Legion, Findlater has received the Minister of Veteran’s Affairs Commendation and the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award.

picture of Edwin Findlater - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Okanagan Falls
  • Region: Thompson/Okanagan

Stephanie Fischer

Stephanie Fischer has been integral in establishing Nelson and its surrounding area as a cultural hub in British Columbia.

Fischer was an early champion and founding director of the City of Nelson’s cultural development committee, which helped develop long-term cultural plans and policies for the city. She has been a steadfast volunteer on numerous boards and steering committees including: the Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership, Selkirk College, Oxygen Art Centre, Nelson Artwalk and the Social Planning Action Network.

For Fischer, the value of culture and its contribution to the vibrancy and strength of a community is fundamental. Her enthusiasm has inspired countless individuals to become active in the arts alongside her. Her contributions have created a culture of accessibility within the arts in the region while encouraging and celebrating excellence.

A student of architecture in Germany, Fischer completed an internship in the former East German city of Dessau. She is credited as instrumental in the planning of a new culture centre for Dessau, a project that went on to win the Alfred-Toepfer Foundation Award for innovation and initiative in cultural development.

Of note is Fischer’s involvement in projects around reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples through partnerships and cultural programming. Her goal is to provide opportunities for our community to learn and appreciate Indigenous culture through artistic expression. For example, an Indigenous dance event offered a learning opportunity for the greater community to build relationships with Indigenous Peoples in the region.

As executive director of the Capitol Theatre, Fischer helped raise over a quarter-million dollars to renew the systems and equipment. The 30-year-old institution is now thriving, with increased patron and season package memberships, a steady increase in audience attendance at a broad spectrum of live theatre events, and the provision of space to serve as a performing arts resource and referral facility for the community.

She was also the project manager and visionary behind Nelson’s newest cultural cornerstone, Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History.

In recognition of her contributions, Fischer received a special citation from the City of Nelson, and the Community Futures and CIEL Community Innovation Entrepreneur Award.

picture of Stephanie Fischer - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient 

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Nelson
  • Region: Kootenay

Fran Fowler

Fran Fowler has dedicated many years of volunteer service in her community in a variety of areas including: health care governance, multiple all-age sports activities, the arts, and programs specifically for youth and seniors. Her service to community and the countless hours of volunteer work include significant involvement with several associations:

  • Haida Gwaii Arts Council
  • Balance Rock Community Justice Program
  • RCMP Restorative Youth Justice program
  • Queen Charlotte Seniors Club
  • Queen Charlotte Community Club
  • Literacy Haida Gwaii
  • Willows Golf Club
  • Queen Charlotte Hospital day organizing committee

Fowler’s inspired leadership and can-do approach to helping community organizations and their members has helped strengthened the social fabric of the islands.

Since moving to Haida Gwaii in the 1960s, Fowler has also thrown her passion and energy into supporting a myriad of community activities from literary and musical events, outdoor hiking, golf, geocaching and food foraging.

Concerned that the islands’ historical past is being lost, Fowler fostered a project, Saving and Sharing Our Stories. The project is focused on collecting and preserving stories of Queen Charlotte on the seniors’ website. Another project, Aging on the Islands, is focused on collecting stories to advocate for improved seniors services on the islands.

Among her many contributions, Fowler has also been an instrumental force in a group of citizens calling themselves Operation Refugee Haida Gwaii who jointly sponsored a family of eight Syrian refugees and are supporting them as they settle into their new life in British Columbia.

picture of Fran Fowler - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Queen Charlotte
  • Region: Northern BC

Joyce H. Fraser 

Joyce Fraser is a visionary leader who has given generously of her time to enhance services for seniors and people with disabilities in the communities of Princeton, Coalmont, Tulameen and Hedley.

Beginning in 1972, she spearheaded the formation of the Princeton and District Community Services Society (PDCSS) and has now led the not-for-profit agency for 32 years, developing more services and programs to support the vulnerable along the way.

Today, the society operates low-cost housing for seniors and families with children, and seniors assisted living. Its New Beginnings day program for adults and youth with intellectual disabilities offers respite services, self-help skills, residential services and employment development.

Fraser has also found innovative ways to ensure the community has trained employees to support the needs of PDCSS clients.

With Fraser as its administrator, the PDCSS converted the former Mine Rescue building into a drop-in centre and workshop. Over time, the site became the Mini-Chef restaurant where people with disabilities get job skills training. A popular enterprise, with many repeat customers, it provides the society with a reliable source of income to meet its goals. It also provides a school program for the developmentally impaired clients who can’t read or write, and a carpentry shop to teach them how to make outdoor furniture.

To create housing for persons with disabilities, Fraser led an initiative to purchase and renovate a three-storey apartment building and an additional six units were constructed in a partnership with BC Housing. Another partnership that included BC Housing, the Interior Health Authority and the Town for Princeton, resulted in the development of Vermilion Court in 1997. It provides 18 housing units for seniors and vulnerable adults – the first assisted living facility in the province. It also includes an adult day program.

Recognizing that PDCSS clients need trained support workers, Fraser organized a community-based social services certificate to be instructed locally. She also worked with Okanagan College to bring a care aid course to Princeton, enabling many residents to be trained locally, which ultimately helps seniors remain at home as long and as safely as possible.

Fraser also provided transportation services for the vulnerable using her own vehicle to transport district residents to medical appointments and to pick-up groceries. When demand exceeded her capacity to provide services, she spearheaded a drive to raise money for a wheelchair accessible van. This resulted in a specialized van that operates as a partnership between the Village of Princeton, BC Transit, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and the PDCSS.

Fraser credits the Elks, Rotary and Rebecca lodges as well as the district’s senior citizens for their “tremendous support” in helping develop and maintain these community programs.

Fraser has been recognized with a British Columbia Community Achievement Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

picture of Joyce H. Fraser - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Princeton
  • Region: 

Joann Gabriel

Joann Gabriel, a retired public-school teacher, was honoured with the medal for volunteer service spanning 56 years to the community of Princeton.

Her service to community and countless hours of volunteering include serving on the board of the Princeton and District Community Services (PDCSS), a non-profit organization, to meet the needs of the elderly and mentally challenged. Joining in 1979, Gabriel has been treasurer for eleven years and chair for 24 years, under the administration of three executive directors. She is committed to the work the society does under its twelve programs, which include home care, meals-on-wheels, transportation, housing for the elderly and developmentally disabled, adult day center, and an activity center with employment opportunities for mentally challenged in the community.

Among her many other contributions, Gabriel was also instrumental in developing the programs run by the Princeton and District Community Services, demonstrating a passion for making sure that those less fortunate in her community are visible and function in a way that incorporates them into their community as productive members.

Besides PDCSS, Gabriel has also volunteered and served the executives of the Princeton Curling Club, Royal Purple, Kinettes, Princeton Library, Kokanee Summer Swim Club, Princeton Recreation Commission, Vermilion Forks Field Naturalist Club, Princeton Arts Council and St. Paul’s United Church Board and Women's Group over the past 56 years.

picture of Joan Gabriel - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient 

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Princeton
  • Region: Thompson/Okanagan

Abbe Gates

Abbe Gates was honoured with the medal for spearheading initiatives aimed at improving life experiences and inclusion for children, teens and young adults with developmental and physical disabilities. Through her fundraising efforts and ability to bring a community together, Gates founded a soccer sporting team and has created social experiences that have empowered people with special needs all over the Lower Mainland and nearby communities.

Her service to community and countless hours of volunteering have been focused on gathering the support, monies and resources required for hundreds of players with a variety of developmental and other disabilities, aged four years and up, to play soccer. Nine years later, the Blazin’ Soccer Dogs and Pups, along with the Rain City Wolves, have provided enriching, inclusive and confidence-boosting experiences for participants.

Gates has also served on the Down Syndrome Research Foundation board and was an effective fundraiser for the organization. More recently, she is an active volunteer helping to promote autism awareness and the creation of the Pacific Autism Family Centre.

Among her many other contributions, Gates annually mounts The Night to Remember Gala, which provides an annual dance and red-carpet experience to more than 150 young people, aged 15 to 35 years, with development disabilities. As well, she helped establish a social group for teens through the Vancouver Parks board, called Friday Friends. She is now collectively working on establishing the same kind of program for all these young people who are now adults.

picture of Abbe Gates - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Vancouver
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Lorna Gibbs

Lorna Gibbs is a dedicated community volunteer and vocal advocate for improving the programs, services and facilities of Vancouver South. She has participated in numerous community development issues, committees and agencies, focusing especially on seniors’ needs.

In addition to her service on a range of boards and committees, Gibbs is a founding member and president of the Southeast Vancouver Seniors’ Centre Society. In this capacity she is a leading voice to reach out and capture the needs of thousands of seniors through her advocacy for a new senior’s recreation centre in Southeast Vancouver. Through her work on a variety of seniors’ programs, services and issues, Gibbs has changed the lives of many seniors and has inspired many more to contribute to their community. In 2014, Gibbs was rewarded for her efforts to bring all three levels of government together when funding was secured to build a Seniors’ Activity Centre in South Vancouver.

A resident of Vancouver for more than 30 years, Gibbs has also brought seniors from diverse ethnic backgrounds together to gather stories, including translation and editing, and resulting in two published books: Stories of Southeast Vancouver, and Meals and Memories, an illustrated cookbook. This work brought happiness and greater understanding and friendship to the hundreds of seniors who were involved.

Other volunteer services given by Gibbs include: board director of Champlain Heights Community Association and the Killarney Community Centre Association; chair and president of Southvan Neighbourhood House; and member of the Citizen Advisory Committee – Victoria Fraserview Killarney, East Fraserlands Committee, and the Everett Crowley Parks Committee.

picture of Lorna Gibbs - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient 

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Vancouver
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Ronald Allen Greene

For five decades, Ronald Greene has demonstrated the ideals of good citizenship through the generous sharing of his time as a volunteer and leader of various organizations. These include coaching youth volleyball, leading local and provincial historical societies, contributing administrative and research expertise to the field of numismatics (the study and collection of coins and paper currency), and supporting community heritage activities.

Greene’s involvement with volleyball began in the late 1960s as a coach at Victoria’s YWCA. His girls’ teams competed successfully provincially and nationally, and he assisted the coaches of the men's volleyball teams at the University of Victoria and Camosun College. Further, Greene contributed to the administration of the British Columbia Volleyball Association (BCVA), occasionally serving as president. For many years, he volunteered as a referee and trained over 500 new referees. In 1987, Greene was awarded an honorary life membership in the BCVA, and he has also been inducted into the BC Volleyball Hall of Fame in the co-builder category.

Another great interest of Greene’s is the study of B.C.'s historical coins and paper currency. He has been a member of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) since 1956. Providing a British Columbia perspective, he has organized conferences, edited books, established special interest groups and served as an executive. In 1986, Greene received the highest award in Canadian Numismatics, the J. Douglas Ferguson Medal; in 2015, he was deemed a RCNA Fellow.

Greene’s interests in supporting the history of Victoria and British Columbia are outstanding. For example, in 2012 and 2013, he organized symposia on the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Victoria and the 170th anniversary of the founding of the Hudson Bay Company’s Fort Victoria.

An accomplished researcher, in 2015, Greene published the award-winning book, Carlo Gentile, Gold Rush Photographer, 1863-1866. Recognizing that archives need support, he helped create the Friends of British Columbia Archives, for which he has raised money in support of research collections, organized lectures, and arranged and led special events at the Provincial Archives.

The Greene’s family business, Capital Iron, is located on Victoria’s historic waterfront. Greene restored the company’s buildings, earning Capital Iron a Heritage Canada Regional Award in 1982. Subsequently, he has inspired others to conserve Victoria’s built heritage by sitting on the City of Victoria’s heritage advisory committee and later serving as a board member of the Victoria Civic Heritage Trust, acting as chair for two years.

For over five decades, Greene has made outstanding contributions to various organizations. His selfless volunteer work and many leadership positions have supported thousands of young volleyball players and hundreds of historical enthusiasts, enabling them to participate in well-run and highly-appreciated community activities. Not least, Greene is widely respected by his peers. This is demonstrated by the citations and awards bestowed upon him that honour both his volunteerism and leadership.

picture of Ronald Greene - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient 

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Victoria
  • Region: Vancouver Island/Coast

Dave Holmberg

Dave Homberg received the medal for his ongoing volunteer and philanthropic contributions to the city. Homberg has been actively involved in dozens of community projects and services including the building of the 10km Discovery Trail in Abbotsford. He has worked tirelessly for countless fundraising drives, many of which have resulted in bursaries and major equipment and building projects for organizations such as the Salvation Army, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley, Ledgeview Golf and Country Club and the 4-H Club.

Homberg's efforts have resulted in the building of the first free-standing hospice facility in Abbotsford on the Campus of Care. He and his wife, Lee, spearheaded the fundraising activities and contributed significantly through their personal donations after they tragically lost a son to illness in 2011.

Holmberg House, named in memory of Dave Holmberg Jr. is a gift to the city of Abbotsford and was built by the donations and gifts-in-kind from many generous volunteers, staff, civic and provincial governments and community members – but it would not have been possible without Holmberg.

picture of Dave Holmberg - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Abbotsford
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Patricia Housty

A pillar for the community, Patricia Housty was honoured with the medal for being a generous volunteer, role model and community caretaker within the Heiltsuk First Nation and all of Bella Bella. Housty has offered many quiet acts of kindness ensuring impoverished families have food and is a powerful mentor and champion for the community’s youth.

After the loss of the community’s grocery store in a fire, Housty took the lead in having an interim location set up at the United Church building. Thanks to her quick thinking and resourcefulness, the store was back up and running in two days and the residents of Bella Bella were able to shop for food supplies.

Her service to community and countless hours of volunteering include mentoring youth; serving as a Heiltsuk Tribal Councillor; fundraising for the local basketball team, now the pride of the Heiltsuk First Nation; and facilitating food service for important community gatherings including weddings, funerals and potlatches. Housty was the first Aboriginal person to receive the honour.

picture of Patricia Housty - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Bella Bella
  • Region: Northern BC

Michael O. Langridge

Michael Langridge is an adult with an intellectual disability, born in B.C. and currently residing in Victoria. He has successfully overcome many challenges to become an active and successful member of his community.

Langridge's early community involvement began as a navy cadet. He proved to be an eager volunteer in all fundraising activities, most notably the annual Poppy Drive. Langridge reached the rank of petty officer 2, a significant achievement for someone with limited spoken and written communication skills. He received the Commander's Cup, a prestigious award given to cadets who best exemplify the values and standards of the navy cadet program. 

Langridge's affiliation with the military came also through his brother's service in the Canadian Forces. Unfortunately, his brother suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and took his own life. In the face of great loss, Langridge channeled his emotions and is supportive of efforts by the Royal Canadian Legion to raise awareness of issues surrounding PTSD.

Each year, Langridge stands proudly at the cenotaph on Remembrance Day and helps his ‘Silver Cross’ mother lay the wreath that honours his brother and all those who have served their country. 

Langridge recently needed to downsize. Through the Military Family Resource Centre, he donated many items including his most precious possession, the big screen TV his brother had bought on his return from Afghanistan.

From 2007 to 2012, Langridge was a director on the board of People First of Canada, a national non-profit organization for people with intellectual disabilities who support each other to claim their right to be recognized as full citizens. He volunteered for the organization for over six years.

Langridge's leadership and dedication led him to join the advisory board of Community Living BC (South Island Community Council) from 2009 to 2016. The group's mission is to encourage, inspire, lead and support inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of the community. Langridge was a role model to young people transitioning out of the system, showing them how to become involved in their community. He served as vice-chair of the community council and was being nominated for chair but his term was ending.

Langridge joined the Special Olympics 15 years ago, and his sports performance won him a place on Team Canada where he represented British Columbia and Canada at the 2017 International Special Olympics Games in Austria. He won two gold medals for Canada. He is extremely proud that he wore the Canada flag, just as his brother did overseas. In the fall of 2017, Langridge was invited to Parliament Hill where he and other members of the team were honoured by the prime minister and the minister of sports and persons with disabilities.

In 2018, Langridge was the proud recipient of the provincial Atheletic Achievement Award from Special Olympics BC. He was described as “a great teammate and an inspiring leader.”

picture of Michael Langridge - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient 

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Victoria
  • Region: Vancouver Island/Coast

The Laur Family (Darren, Beth and Brandon)

In the past 10 years, Darren, Beth and Brandon Laur, known as “The White Hatters”, have visited more than 350 schools throughout B.C. and Canada, and just about 100 schools in the U.S. (connecting with just over 430,000 students in total). Their goal is to share a proactive message of social media safety and digital literacy with students, principals, teachers, school counsellors, parents and law enforcement officials.

Even though the Laur family run a for-profit company, they spend hundreds of voluntary hours every year assisting schools, tweens, teens, parents and law enforcement with information and guidance when it comes to everything and anything to do with safety, security and privacy as it relates to the digital world.

Never did the Laur family expect their company to become a digital outreach to those who they present to, but it has. To date, the Laur family has been directly involved in 183 successful interventions of teens who connected with them about cyberbullying or sexting gone wrong challenges, and who were considering or were in the process of self-harming or suicide.

All this outreach has been done free of any financial or material gain. Every year, a portion of the Laur family business profits are given back to the community to help financially support two not-for-profit organizations dedicated to helping youth in need when it comes to bullying and suicide prevention – Need2 and Bullying Ends Here. The Laur family believe they are a for-profit company, striving to do well by doing good things for others in their community.

The Laur family makes the following promise in all their presentations at schools, “If there is any student or young adult in the audience who is online and needs help, and you don’t know who to connect with, you can connect with us and we will help, and if we can’t, we know someone who can.”

This is why the Laur family will take phone calls, emails and text messages anytime day or night, and all this is done on their own time and at no cost. The Laur family also dedicate hundreds of hours every year to students who would like help in securing their social networks. To date, thousands of students, and even teachers and parents from across British Columbia, have taken Darren, Beth and Brandon up on this offer.

picture of Brandon Laur - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient 

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Langford
  • Region: Vancouver Island/Coast

Peter Lawless

Peter Lawless was honoured with the medal for being a passionate advocate for sport as a means to transform community and his leadership and dedication has been vital to numerous initiatives becoming reality.

While his accomplishments are many, SoldierOn is one program where he has made a specific and notable difference. When hearing about this Canadian Forces program that assists ill and or injured members in their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration through sport, Lawless, the vice president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, used his sports experience and connections, as well as the facilities in the Victoria area, to create a meaningful sport experience for these military members.

Lawless set up a multisport camp that hosted over 30 athletes from across the country. He connected the military athletes with high-performance coaches from the Paralympic Team and arranged for fully funded access to Victoria’s high-performance training centre with financial assistance from PacificSport Victoria.

He next volunteered to coach for the 2016 lnvictus Games in Florida. He facilitated free access to the new high-performance training centre in Toronto and arranged for various Olympic Champions to give motivational talks and coaching to the Canadian lnvictus team.Upon his return from lnvictus Games in 2016, he arranged for every single B.C.-based athlete to receive a Bravo Zulu commendation from the admiral in command of Maritime Forces Pacific. His passion, enthusiasm and success further resulted in him being asked to be the head coach for the entire 2017 Canadian team.

picture of Peter Lawless - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Victoria
  • Region: Vancouver Island/Coast

Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee is a humanitarian and role model who broke both gender and race barriers. Despite the societal obstacles that lay in her path, she remained patriotic and went on to help make Canada and British Columbia a better place.

Her volunteer spirit showed itself early when, during the Second World War, she volunteered with the Women’s Ambulance Corp (St. John Ambulance Women’s Corp in Canada). At the age of 19, she was the youngest member of the only all-Chinese Women Platoon in Canada. Her war efforts have in recent times served as examples of the diversity that helped win the war.

In 2008, she was a panelist along with Major Harjit Sajjan, now Canada’s Minister of National Defence, in a veteran’s multicultural event called Unity within Diversity at the Vancouver Public Library.

But more significantly for Canadians, war contributions like those of Lee and other Chinese Canadian veterans, helped change attitudes and ultimately gain Chinese Canadians their full citizenship rights with the passing of the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act.

Raising four children, including triplets, starting her first salon at age 17, and growing a hairdressing and beauty business to four salons in Vancouver, charity remained close to her heart. Lee devoted hundreds of hours to organizations like Variety-The Children's Charity, Canuck Place and helped raise money for the African Pikin Foundation to promote education and build schools in Sierra Leone.

Lee co-founded the Vancouver Chinese Canadian Activity Centre Society, which over the course of her 36-year involvement, went on to build a daycare and seniors’ residence serving Chinese Canadians. For 28 years, she volunteered first as one of the original directors and then sat on the board of the Chishaun Housing Society, which operates Oakridge House, a high-quality residence for low-income seniors. She is a founding member and active fundraiser for the Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society, the only museum in Canada devoted to Chinese Canadian Veterans’ history.

Her contributions have been featured in books and documentaries that highlight the contributions of Chinese Canadians during the Second World War, including The Power and the Grace: WWII Heroes Remembered; The Memory Project, Chinatown: Then and Now; and Celebration: Chinese Canadian Legacies in British Columbia. She was also one of the veterans photographed in the travelling exhibit One War. Two Victories, shown in the War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, and the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, B.C.

An abbreviated list of awards and recognitions given to Lee include: the Variety Telethon fundraising trophy for Canuck Place; the Life Patron trophy from Variety Clubs International; and a recognition certificate from Prime Minister Stephen Harper for her selfless acts of service and sacrifice during the Second World War in defence of Canada and our shared values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

picture of Peggy Lee - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City:  North Vancouver
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Joan LeMoine

Joan LeMoine was honoured with the medal for her contribution to many Parksville organizations and events touching a range of citizens from young people with special needs to senior citizens living alone, as well as to those looking for family fun.

Her service to community and countless hours of volunteering include working with organizations such as:  

  • The Society of Organized Services (SOS);
  • Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock fundraising campaign;
  • Branch 49 of the Royal Canadian Legion;
  • Tim Hortons Camp Day fundraising campaign, which helps send children with special needs to camp; and
  • Coffee with Council, which provides an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with the Mayor or council members.

Through the Oceanside Community Safety Volunteers, she calls seniors living alone to ensure their well-being and offer friendly conversation.

Among her many other contributions, LeMoine was also instrumental in re-establishing the Parkville Beach Festival Society that now organizes a world-famous sand-sculpting event. She and her late husband helped form the Parksville Beach Festival Society in 1999 and convinced the city that a family-friendly event would be, once again, viable. Last summer, the festival broke all attendance records with more than 104,400 people from all over the world attending.

LeMoine put in countless hours over her 15 years as volunteer co-ordinator of the society and helped grow its solvency. Today the society diverts a portion of ticket sales to other philanthropic groups and, to date, close to $350,000 has been distributed to other non-profits and community projects.

picture of Joan LeMonie - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Parksville
  • Region: Vancouver Island/Coast


Nicholas Marsden

Stan McCarthy

Stan McCarthy is a great community-minded citizen, dedicating many years to the protection of his community. When Williams Lake and 150 Mile House were hit by wildfires in 2017, McCarthy went above and beyond what was required to help anywhere and in any way he could to protect citizens, homes and local structures.

McCarthy is the fire chief for the 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department. He’s been a pillar of the 150 Mile community since the 1970s. He was one of the founding members of the fire department and has been the fire department's chief since the 1990s.

During this time, McCarthy helped create a vibrant fire department focused on community service and constant improvement. He advocated for and led the department through professional training and certification for members. This ensured their safety and at the same time, provided a professionally trained core of volunteers ready to respond to the community.

Training now includes the National Fire Protection Agency's 1001 accredited training standard, an accomplishment that many volunteer fire departments do not achieve. McCarthy was also one of the first leaders to see the need to add medical aid for the community and started the fire department’s medical first responder program.

McCarthy has also organized social activities. He helped create a skating rink at the firehall that the community has enjoyed for two decades, and he plows the rink after every snowfall so members of the community can take full advantage of it. Since 1982, McCarthy hs led the fire department in the annual Halloween event. It has now grown into a large community-focused celebration where McCarthy runs the BBQ and serves hot dogs to residents and provides treats for the children.

McCarthy was one of the responding members who travelled to Kelowna to assist the province in the emergency response during the 2003 firestorm. In 2017, he once again faced a firestorm, this time for five weeks in his own community. He led the department through this challenging time ensuring all fire department members’ needs were met while protecting citizens of the community, along with their homes.

McCarthy reached out to the community and offered extra help wherever possible ensuring the little things were looked after while managing the huge responsibilities that came with the fire response efforts. Notably, he initiated efforts to help the community's animal population left behind during the evacuation by arranging for food and water to be delivered by fire department members.

McCarthy's ability to see the big picture and ensure the fire department's high level of training and professionalism saved the community in its darkest hours. Its members were able to use their training to respond and indeed excel, during the long weeks of fire response that summer. Because of McCarthy's foresight and vision, the fire department was able to thrive during the fire event and keep the community safe.

picture of Stan McCarthy - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: 150 Mile House
  • Region: Cariboo

Wayne McGill 

Dr. Lois Nahirney

Lois Nahirney is a pragmatic visionary and tenacious activist for gender equality and the economic advancement of women. Her work has impacted thousands of women and girls to be champions of equity for themselves and others.

As a lifelong volunteer and community leader, Nahirney has founded and/or chaired numerous organizations dedicated to advancing women including the Women's Executive Network, Premier's Women's Economic Council, WE for SHE and Women in Technology to promote, educate, implement and accelerate systemic change for women.

In addition to her extensive volunteer work, Nahirney is a trail-blazing senior female executive in male-dominated industries including forestry, shipping and technology, pioneering change within the workplace. She saw the importance of developing champions, sponsors and advisors to elevate women's careers and has been an activist in this area for 20 years.

Now, as the CEO/founder of a DNA company, dnaPower Inc., she employs a team of women scientists and managers in the rapidly changing biotech world to apply personal genetics in the areas of diet, fitness and wellness to help people live healthier lives.

Nahirney is best known as the active chair of the Women's Executive Network in B.C. for 15 years, as the innovative inaugural chair of the Premier's Women's Economic Council, a founding member of the WEB Alliance and the visionary co-founder and co-chair of WE for SHE, bringing the focus of women and gender equity to the forefront in B.C. She has changed companies, advised government and inspired thousands of women in advancing their place in the economy.

As the co-creator of WE for SHE, Nahirney led an unprecedented collaboration of over 25 women's organizations, representing 10,000 women across the province. Together, they created groundbreaking annual forums and action plans for government, business and individuals focused on advancing women in non-traditional and emerging sectors. This annual forum brings together 1400 people from  high school girls to business leaders. It has spawned other events and mentoring programs in B.C., and has drawn in corporate, government and community partnerships to collectively take action.

Wherever Nahirney goes, she selflessly and tirelessly contributes to her community in many ways. She was a volunteer and director with Junior Achievement for over 10 years, chair of the Vancouver Economic Development Commission for five years, and is involved in the Vietnam Education Society, a family charity that supports children in Vietnam. It’s responsible for building over 10 rural schools, sends hundreds of at-risk girls to camp each summer, and provides 50 scholarships to girls each year.

Nahirney is also proud to be a transgender advocate in support of her son. She loves travel, hiking the B.C. forests and living in North Vancouver together with her husband, Tom and twin teen children Levi and Kailyn.

picture of Dr. Lois Nahirney - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: North Vancouver
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Shawna Narayan

As a young woman from a diverse city, Shawna Narayan showcases what the next generation is capable of by helping inner-city students with similar difficulties that she overcame.

Shawna Narayan created Empower The Future (ETF), a non-profit organization that connects inner-city students with post-secondary students to encourage personal and academic growth. She recognized that many inner-city students like her do not have the support, knowledge or resources needed to continue their learning whether it is through full-time careers, volunteering or higher education. She wanted to provide these students with the same opportunity that other students have, so she connected with the Surrey School District to help make a difference in the lives of Surrey’s high school students.

Narayan also organized the Life After High School Project where students are mentored in five main topics: dealing with financial stress; finding credible information about post-secondary education; preparing to enter the workforce; searching for quality volunteer opportunities; and caring for yourself.

Her Life After High School Project gained the support of the University of British Columbia through a $10,000 innovation grant. Other supporters of the project include the Vancouver Foundation and the Government of Canada. This year, more than 300 students have participated in the Life After High School workshop.

Narayan also launched a Women in STEM project to encourage more inner-city females to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The project is supported by a Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada grant.

Shawna has volunteered over 4,000 hours for ETF and other projects while at the same time attending UBC full-time studying for a bachelor of science in physics.

She has consistently demonstrated exemplary volunteer work, academic excellence, and a strong commitment to helping others and making a difference in the community around her.

picture of Shawna Narayan - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Surrey
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Paul & Terry Nichols

Paul and Terry Nichols devote themselves to bringing awareness to the difficulties Canadian soldiers can face when they transition back into civilian life. They also have developed a program to help returning veterans overcome operational stress injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) incurred from military deployments. 

When Paul returned home from serving with the Canadian military on a United Nations Peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia, he came home to a wife, family and community who had little understanding of his experience as a contemporary veteran. There was also little understanding of PTSD and the important role that community plays in the wellness of their veterans.

During a chance meeting with a survivor of the siege of Sarajevo, Paul heard for the first time that his own contribution in the Balkans made a difference and was thanked for his part in a Canadian mission that had saved countless lives. Through this discussion he realized the power of a shared story.

The Nichols understood that their struggles and their story are very similar to hundreds of others across Canada. They believed they had the skills and experience to make a difference.

The Nichols operate a farm in the Quesnel area where Paul found therapy while taking long, solitary rides on his beloved horse Zoe. Terry, a therapeutic riding instructor, used horses for her own rehabilitation after a traumatic injury left her wheelchair bound for many months. Together they know first hand the healing power of horses. Knowing that thousands of soldiers return from combat zones with physical and mental injuries, they began to see a vision to bring awareness to the difficulties facing returning soldiers as they re-enter our communities.

In 2014, the Nichols formed the Communities for Veterans Foundation and set a plan into motion that would see Paul ride across Canada on horseback to collect and share stories and to raise awareness. On April 15, 2015, they started out from the Parliament Buildings in Victoria with a seven-person crew, eight horses and a route from British Columbia to Newfoundland. Along this route, after successfully completing an in-depth riding lesson with Terry, Canadian veterans were invited to join Paul on the ride through their own communities.

During the ride veterans interacted with the public and were encouraged to share their own stories and thoughts as they discussed the challenges that our veterans face. Eleven thousand kilometres and 211 days later, 363 veterans had ridden with Paul and hundreds more had taken part in Terry’s program. Thousands of veterans and tens of thousands of Canadians came out in support of the Nichols’ mission.

Back home, their veteran program operating on the farm gives veterans from across Canada tools to deal with PTSD and helps to build stronger relationships and families. The Nichols have reached out and invited the community to assist in running the program, as they believe that for our veterans to find support in communities, a societal shift in understanding and appreciation must happen; an investment in veterans will lead to stronger veterans and stronger communities.

picture of Paul Nichols - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

picture of Terry Nichols - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Quesnel
  • Region: Northern BC

Sylvie “Silvakantie” Pather 

In 1973, Silvakantie Pather and her family left South Africa and emigrated to Canada fleeing the apartheid regime. She had experienced firsthand the poverty that the black population endured there. As a nurse, she developed a love, caring and empathy for people marginalized in the community, a compassion that would profoundly influence her throughout her life.

Pather continued her nursing career at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, where she worked for 30 years. During that time, she participated in various social activities at the hospital helping to organize retirement, Christmas and farewell staff parties.

Pather volunteered for many service organizations as well, dedicating almost 40 years of her life to serving the community. Her volunteerism included working with the San Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement  Society for over 23 years. Over the years, she often donated eggs and cold meats, and participated in weekly preparation of sandwiches for the homeless and those in need in the Downtown Eastside. She also helped serve dinners during the Christmas season.

Pather volunteered for the North Shore Crisis Services Society (NSCSS), (formerly known as Emily Murphy House), for 11 years. She also took part in campaigning and fundraising for a new and safe transition house on the North Shore, where women in crisis can go when leaving an abusive situation.

She volunteered for five years donating food to support the work of Harvest Project on the North Shore. Pather volunteered as an ambassador to the community, where she helped support the food-drive program with schools and other groups by giving presentations on the North Shore.

At the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Pather volunteers as an ambassador and greeter, and helps transform a potentially stigmatizing space into a welcoming, non-judgmental environment where people are treated with dignity and respect.

Currently with North Shore Neighborhood House, Pather continues to demonstrate tremendous dedication in her volunteer work and commitment to their service program.

Pather organized the Diwali celebration in North Vancouver for 15 years. Also known as The Festival of Lights, this event encouraged many in the South Asian community to come together in celebration with people of other cultures.

Pather’s work has helped transform the lives of hundreds of North Shore residents. They include single parents, new residents and others transitioning through serious crises in their lives. Her many contributions enabled individuals and families to reconnect and become more productive members of the community.

Pather believes that the satisfaction of volunteering outweighs every other job that you can do. “It is just so satisfying.”

picture of Sylvie "Silvakantie" Pather - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: North Vancouver
  • Region: 

Kris Patterson

Kris Patterson has helped raise more than $1 million for literacy programs in the Alberni Valley. He has published eight books and donated the proceeds to various community organizations including the local museum, Community Arts Council and Compassionate Friends Society.

Patterson has a passion for local history that has contributed to his community service. He writes a weekly historical column for the local newspaper, and he spent about 500 hours digitizing radio interviews that his late father conducted concerning the history and growth of Port Alberni and surrounding area. Patterson donated the interviews and a collection of historical photos to the Alberni Valley Museum. In 2013, he received the Heritage Award for his dedication and commitment to the preservation of cultural heritage.

For more than 25 years, Patterson has been a long-standing volunteer with several Port Alberni organizations including:

  • The Raise a Reader Campaign
  • Canada Day celebrations
  • Junior A hockey
  • Port Alberni Non-Profit Housing
  • Compassionate Friends Organization
  • Alberni Valley Museum
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Dragon Boat Society
  • Community Arts Council
  • Young Professionals
  • Alberni Clayquot Regional District Solid Waste Planning Committee
  • Alberni Valley Hospice Society

Patterson transformed the pain and loss of losing his child into a grief and loss book, which was welcomed by the Compassionate Friends Society and accepted into the library at BC Children’s Hospital.

He also personally donated a child heart monitor to BC Children’s Hospital.

Patterson has a reputation for serving his community to the fullest, demonstrating a level of commitment and selflessness that few accomplish.

He has been recognized as a ‘Top 20 under 40’ finalist three years in a row.

picture of Kris Patterson - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient 

  • Year Awarded: 2018
  • City: Port Alberni
  • Region: Vancouver Island/Coast

John Phare

John Phare, a Roberts Creek tree faller, was the first recipient of the Medal of Good Citizenship.

Phare, who was honoured posthumously, spent his entire working life in the logging industry and worked as a faller, felling danger trees on the Old Sechelt Mine fire during the unusually busy 2015 fire season. The 60-year-old father of three died while fighting the Old Sechelt Mine fire on July 5, 2015.

  • Year Awarded: 2015
  • City: Roberts Creek
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Marilyn Rushton

Marilyn Rushton was honoured with the medal for her inspirational life of service to the visually impaired community, her contributions to families with blind and visually impaired children, and her energetic support for the musical community.

Blind since birth, Rushton is a powerful role model, teacher, and gifted musician. She has volunteered countless hours with the Maple Leaf Singers; and is the director and accompanist for The Tempos, a choir for blind and partially-sighted children, youth and adults. Marilyn is the president of the BC Vision Teacher's Association and this year served as chairperson for the Canadian Vision Teachers’ Conference entitled Seeing Beyond the Horizon. She serves on the board of Blind Beginnings, a non-profit that supports B.C. families with blind/partially-sighted children.

Among her many other contributions, Rushton was co-director and accompanist for the Burnaby Children’s Choir, has been a governor on the Douglas College board, and a board member for the Burnaby Hospice Society. In the 1990s she was a Burnaby school trustee and effectively used the role to advocate for diversity and equity in public education. Her contributions in education are recognized through her membership in DKG International, an honorary society of women educators; and PEO, a North America-wide organization which provides educational opportunities for women.

picture of Marilyn Rushton - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Burnaby
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Ken & Lou Ryan

Ken and Lou Ryan were a dynamic North Burnaby couple that for decades stepped up to either organize or volunteer for a myriad of events and services in the community. Ken passed away in 2017 but the community legacy created by him and his wife Lou will continue.

For the past 23 years they were the engine behind the Burnaby North Community Fair in Kensington Park, which promotes businesses and organizations and gives families a chance to come together in the summer time, ride the midway and listen to live music. Every year the couple ran a Christmas Holiday hamper program, approaching local businesses and community members for donations to fill gift hampers with non-perishable food items and other everyday essentials for low-income families.

The couple regularly rolled up their sleeves to help at food banks, school hotdog days, and at the Lochdale Community School Christmas pancake breakfast. In the course of serving during Homelessness Action Week, they met a homeless man who made such an impact on them that they invited him to live in their home and join them in their community volunteer activities.

That man, Wes Thompson, passed away this year as a loved member of the Ryan family, no longer homeless and no longer isolated.

In the 1990s Ken created Comshare, a North Burnaby Community Association summer camp program that provides six weeks of camp experiences and outdoor adventure for children in Grades K to 6. He also served over the years as the acting treasurer of the BNCA, president of Burnaby Optimists, as well as Block Watch Captain, working closely with the local RCMP.

Under the auspices of the Optimists, Ken and Lou organized Burnaby’s Got Talent performances which helps fund bursaries for deserving children within Burnaby, as well as the Optimist Communication Contest, a for deaf and hard of hearing students.

Together Ken and Lou were very active with Volunteer Burnaby and the Lochdale Community Association.

picture of Lou Ryan - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Burnaby
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Lita Salanski

Lita Salanski passed away in September 2015 and her legacy to her community will continue for future generations. The posthumous honour, to be accepted by her family, recognizes the impact she had on Grasmere, its ranching and farming community, educational infrastructure and spiritual foundation through her involvement with the Triangle Women's Institute (TWI), the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Council of Cattlemen, East Kootenay College Board and Grasmere United Church.

At the same time Salanski was adjusting to married life, raising a family and building and running a business, she became involved in the many projects of the TWI. Her leadership skills along with her enthusiasm played a major role in TWI's success in bringing a modern highway, electric power and telephone to the isolated community of Grasmere. She spent countless hours writing letters, lobbying the government, knocking on doors and selling the idea that the residents of Grasmere were part of British Columbia and needed to have the amenities others took for granted.

She was passionate about the need for education and became a local school board trustee and later became the chairman of the board. Salanski was a founding member of the East Kootenay Community College board and later an honorary member of its board. She worked to improve the economy of the area through her involvements in local farming organizations, leading her to become the first female president of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association. She also served on the Canadian Council of Cattlemen board.

Her service to her community extended to many other organizations like 4-H and the Grasmere United Church and she was instrumental in ensuring the congregation established a place of worship within the community.

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Grasmere
  • Region: Kootenay

Marion Sallenbach

Marion Sallenbach, a resident of Winfield, was also honoured for her many years of volunteerism within the community, her selfless actions having a tremendous impact on countless families in the Okanagan.

An active volunteer in the community for over 50 years, Sallenbach began volunteering with the Hospital Auxiliary in Winfield in the late 60’s, her efforts helping to raise thousands of dollars for the Kelowna General Hospital. Ten years later, she helped bring the Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) to Winfield and over the next four decades the impact of the BC HELP program grew, loaning 170,000 pieces of equipment – such as crutches, canes, walkers and wheelchairs – to 94,000 British Columbians in 2014-15 alone.

In addition to her work for the hospital, Sallenbach has also volunteered with the Winfield Community Church, the Red Cross, and the Independent Order of Foresters, through which she has donated her time and expertise in a myriad of ways, which includes helping with the ‘Wheels to Meals’ for seniors, bookkeeping services, and assisting the ‘Adopt‐a‐Road’ initiatives.

Now in her ninth decade, Sallenbach continues to dedicate her time to the community, her volunteer work also complimented by the assistance of her two daughters, Joanne Galigan and Sharyn Fiwchuk making her contributions a family affair.

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Winfield
  • Region: Thompson/Okanagan

John Scott

John Scott was honoured with the medal for his wide-ranging and selfless contributions to the community of Prince George, enriching the lives of youth, comforting those through illness and trauma, focusing well-deserved attention on the sacrifices veterans have made for Canada, and helping to revitalize the local branch of the Canadian Legion and neighbourhood commemorating veterans.

His service to community and countless hours of volunteering include support for a myriad of organizations including the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43, 2618 Canadian Army Cadets, and chairman of the Cadet League for Cariboo North, former district commissioner of the Nechako Scout district and Scout trainer II and the Legion’s Connaught Youth Centre. He is also president of the Prince George and Northern BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping.

The veteran peacekeeper has been instrumental in helping revitalize Prince George’s Veterans’ Land Act neighbourhood and galvanizing support for new facilities for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43. Scott also helped steer the Connaught Youth Centre to becoming a non-profit society that now supports a range of youth programs in the city. He is currently serving the Royal Canadian legion as a vice-president of BC/Yukon Command.

picture of John Scott - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Prince George
  • Region: Cariboo

John Simpson

John Simpson was honoured with the medal for his pioneering services that he offered free to people with acquired brain injuries (ABI). For more than three decades Simpson devoted thousands of hours of service and emerged as an influential advocate in the field that resulted in the formation of local and provincial supporting organizations.

It has been estimated that Simpson has provided more than 16,000 hours of free support to individuals with acquired brain injuries and their families, since the 1980s. Many of the people he helped had no funding and no one else to help them.

He set out to educate the community and professionals about ABI, establishing the first annual brain injury conference in 1982, which ran for 25 years. Simpson was also instrumental establishing what is now the BC Brain Injury Association, which has the first Lower Mainland drop-in centre for people with ABI and now bears his name.

In 1997, he founded the Fraser Valley Brain Injury Association and he is still active with the group that serves more than 150 clients each year in five cities.

In 2014, under his leadership, the Brain Injury Alliance was formed, to better serve the estimated 22,000 British Columbians who have ABI. Through his advocacy, the Province contributed $3 million for services provided by community-based brain injury associations. The alliance also received $1 million endowment fund for education, employment and training for people with ABI.

picture of John Simpson - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Chilliwack
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Dr. Michal Smialowski

Dr. Michal (Mike) Smialowski is a rural B.C. Family Physician (CCFP), GP Anesthetist (GPA) and Sport Medicine Physician (Diploma Sport Medicine) who lives in a remote area of the West Chilcotin called the Tatlayoko Valley. For the past decade he has been dedicated to providing medical care to residents of this area who otherwise would have to endure the six hour round trip to Williams Lake to consult a physician.

He and his wife Leslie, moved to the Tatlayoko Valley because of their love of the mountains, the lakes and the wilderness. They have stayed because of the strong sense of community.  Initially practising from an office in his home, he soon expanded to the West Chilcotin Health Centre in Tatla Lake where he joined the RN (Ruth Kuehl-Venn) to form a two-person medical team.

As a rural doctor, he was essentially on-call 24/7, 365 days a year. He was British Columbia's first volunteer Community Response Doctor with the BC Ambulance Service and was dispatched to many emergencies over the years ranging from home deliveries to critical injuries and urgent medical complications.

Although now retired, Dr. Smialowski has become an advocate for improving medical care along the Highway 20 corridor (500km Williams Lake to Bella Coola) a region which, in his estimation, has traditionally been neglected by the relevant Health Authorities. This advocacy has been facilitated through the West Chilcotin Health Care Society (WCHCS) which has raised over $90,000.00 (including a Health Ministry grant) to purchase much needed medical equipment for the West Chilcotin Health Centre. In addition, the Society successfully petitioned the Interior Health Authority (IHA) to place Tatla Lake on their physician manpower plan thus making it a permanent position.

Before retiring, Dr. Smialowski and the WCHCS successfully recruited a replacement physician (Dr. Rob Coetzee) who has now served the community for nearly three years. Monthly meetings now occur in collaboration with local Health Care Providers (RN, NP and MD) the Interior Health Authority (IHA) and First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) to develop an effective Medical Emergency Response Plan (MERP) for the Highway 20 corridor. A good portion of this effort is aimed at ensuring basic standards of care as well as baseline needs of emergency equipment and ongoing training.

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Tatlayoko
  • Region: Cariboo

Sahib Thind

Sahib Thind was honoured with the medal for his dedication to his unwavering dedication to human rights.

For almost a quarter century he had been the driving force for a formal Parliamentary apology for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident in which hundreds of passengers from India who sought refuge in the country and province were denied entry to Canada and turned away without benefit of the fair and impartial treatment benefitting a society where people of all cultures are welcomed and accepted.

His foundation, the Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, criss-crossed Canada, and travelled abroad to bring attention to the cause and lobby for an official Parliamentary apology in various legislative assemblies, including those in B.C. and in the Indian State of Punjab. All the travel costs were personally paid for by Thind.

The Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation lobbied the B.C. provincial government for an apology for its role in this tragedy. After 94 years, the B.C. legislature unanimously passed a motion on May 23, 2008, apologizing for the Komagata Maru incident. “This house deeply regrets that the passengers who sought refuge were turned away,” said Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong.

In May 2016 the federal government apologized for the Komagata Maru incident and for his part in this struggle, Thind and his organization, has been recognized in the Punjab State legislature in India, and in the Canadian Parliament.

With the official Komagata Maru apology in hand, Thind is continuing his efforts, and expanding his actions to include issues faced by many other communities by working to establish diverse curricula in all Canadian provinces.

As well the non-partisan, non-denominational, human rights foundation hosts the Mela Gadri Babiyan Da in Bear Creek Park in Surrey, with Thind leading all organizational efforts. The festival, which invites South Asian performers from around the world, is attended by 70,000-100,000 festival-goers. It is all put on by volunteers, and the foundation charges no admission. 

picture of Sahib Thind - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  •  Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Surrey
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest


Dylan Van Rooyen

Dylan Van Rooyen, who works in Surrey as a firefighter where he was raised, was honoured with the medal for inspirational leadership demonstrated in his involvement with many organizations and events centred on helping Surrey youth and families.

His service to community includes countless hours volunteering at organizations like the Child Development Foundation of British Columbia, Tong Louie Family YMCA, Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society as a director and committee member of its charity golf tournament and Leave a Legacy group.

Through his leadership, participation and fundraising doubled for the Child Development Foundation’s Run, Walk & Roll for our Kids event, resulting in additional help for children with special needs. In nine years with the Tong Louie Family YMCA, he has led numerous charity campaigns to help families, individuals and children who do not have the means to participate in the YMCA’s services such as camps and swimming lessons, in addition to gym and facility access.

Among his many other contributions, Van Rooyen volunteers as a delivery driver for the Snack Program, which operates in Surrey schools and brings food to children who arrive at school with no breakfast.

picture of Dylan Van Rooyen - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • City: Surrey
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest

Larry White

Larry White was honoured with the medal for the leadership and volunteer hours he has contributed to a wide range of civic, cultural, historical, outdoors, and youth organizations and activities in the Northern B.C. community.

Since moving to Tumbler Ridge with his wife Crys in 2001 his service to community and countless hours of volunteering include:

  • Serving as vice-president on the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society White also helps develop and maintain the ski cabin as well as hiking and cross-country trails. He led the partnership with BC Parks in Monkman Provincial Park to build backcountry trails and campsites and runs Itchy Feet, the group’s armchair travel club.
  • An active volunteer and director of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, White attended training at the Royal Tyrrell Museum to voluntarily participate in B.C.’s first dinosaur excavation and he assists his wife run the Tumbler Ridge Archives.
  • For years he has been the race supervisor of the Emperor’s Challenge on Mount Babcock and the biggest off-road running event in B.C.
  • A member of the Grizzly Valley Saddle Club board of director, he volunteers with trail construction and maintenance and arena maintenance and has an assistant donkey handler for many events.
  • He volunteers for the Tumbler Ridge Community Garden and is the president of its Board of Directors.
  • He volunteers for the Tumbler Ridge Community Forest and Emergency Social Services (ESS) and has been president of the library board.
  • The community can better serve youth through his many of his efforts including fundraising for and the construction of the community skate park, obtaining the climbing wall for the teen centre, travelling to the Yukon to bring it to Tumbler Ridge and then helping train volunteers to operate the equipment and belaying of climbers; and coaching baseball and coaching and refereeing minor hockey.

In addition to those contributions, White was involved from the onset of the drive to develop the Tumbler Ridge Aspiring Geopark, which in 2014 was designated the Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark, the second Global geopark in North America. As well as being a director and past vice president of the organization, he is the Geopark’s representative on the Canadian National Committee for Geoparks and attends UNESCO Global Geoparks conferences.

While White is being nominated for his volunteer contributions, his professional and political careers were also spent in the service of others. He served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1970 to 1996, qualifying as an engineer, serving in the Persian Gulf, and rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He served for three years as councillor in Tumbler Ridge, followed by three years as mayor, and served on the Board of the Peace River Regional District.

picture of Larry White - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  • Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Tumbler Ridge
  • Region: Northern BC

Terry Yung

Terry Yung was honoured with the medal for his devotion to an organization that helps create a world of multicultural harmony and helping newcomers to Canada integrate into society and fulfil their professional aspirations for success.

As one of the largest non-profit social service agencies in British Columbia, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. has a mission to build bridges and foster integration through services in settlement, senior’s care, and affordable housing. Yung has been a strong supporter of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. for twenty years: first as a volunteer, then as an instructor for youth employment training and seniors’ safety programs, and most recently completing a six-year term as a board director where he chaired the Governance, Human Resources and Nominations Committees, as well as serving as vice chair.

As a dedicated individual who is committed to youth leadership development and employment training, Yung has helped youth and newcomers find employment, so they could fulfil professional aspirations in their new country and become contributing Canadians.

His service to community and countless hours of volunteering include developing new and effective solutions for process improvement. As an example, he led the review of the society bylaws with the goal of increasing efficiency at the board level. In addition, during his tenure as the chair of the Governance Committee, Yung not only led recruitment for new board members based on the skill sets required, but also ensured succession planning is in place for board continuity and sustainability.

In addition to his community service to S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Yung served on the board of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver for 13 years, and as president of the Vancouver Cambie Lions Club. Yung also volunteers on organizing committees for community events such as the annual Chinese New Year Parade. He currently sits on the Community Security Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver to build safer and more connected neighbourhoods.

Yung is a member of the Vancouver Police Department.

picture of Terry Yung - BC Medal of Good Citizenship recipient

  •  Year Awarded: 2017
  • City: Vancouver
  • Region: Mainland/Southwest