2012 Citizen of the Year
This year's Prince George Citizen of the Year says she was absolutely surprised when her name was called last night. Monica Peacock, who is best known for organizing the Evening of Pink breast cancer fundraiser, was chosen among four other nominees. She also organizes the Festival of Trees, filling Christmas stockings for Baldy Hughes and hosting international students. Peacock says volunteering is something she has been doing since she was young.
"My mother was a great giver, and she instilled that in us when we were children and when she's going off to the Legion to prepare meals you go off with her," says Peacock, "or she's off to do something in our community you go behind her and this opportunity to give is so warm and rewarding on the inside it doesn't matter about anything else."
Peacock says it was humbling to have been nominated for Citizen of the Year, given the great group of nominees.
Article and photo courtesy of the Prince George Citizen
When you put extreme pressure on coal for millions of year, it eventually transforms into diamonds. When you put pressure on Darrell Hubbell, he just shines and everyone around him benefits.
Darrell is familiar with the Citizen of the Year event, having volunteered to make it happen for nine years, taking days off work to organize the silent auction, but that's just the beginning of his volunteer efforts.
He has served on the boards of Two Rivers Gallery, the Prince George Symphony Orchestra, the Town Centre Business Association and the Downtown Rotary Club for many years, taking a variety of leadership roles to further the goals of these organizations.
Numerous community groups have received donations of gift certificates or custom-made jewelry from Darrell to aid in their fundraising efforts. Here's a short list: The Prince George Public Library, the Baldy Hughes Addiction Treatment Centre, the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, Rotary International, the PGSO, Ducks Unlimited, the United Way, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the BC Cancer Foundation, RCMP Victim Services, the Hixon Community Association, the Mackenzie Chamber of Commerce, the Prince George Chamber of Commerce, and, of course, the Prince George Community Foundation.
Darrell has been recognized several times for his leadership. He has been named as the Corporate Citizen of the Year three times in the last eight years - 2004, 2005 and 2009 - by the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. Last year, he received a Community Leader Award from MLAs Shirley Bond and Pat Bell.
Also last year, Darrel was awarded a special certificate of recognition by Rotary District 5040's District Governor for "demonstrated commitment to the idea of Service Above Self and dedication to Rotary and the community."
When you enter Hubbell Designer Goldsmiths, you realize Darrell sets high goals for himself and his business. Hanging on the wall is the company's mission statement and it says: "Our Purpose - To make the world a better place for each person who walks through our door."
Darrell tirelessly works to make Prince George a better place and he doesn't wait for residents to walk through his door, either.
He goes to them, as a volunteer, as a philanthropist and as someone who cares for others, which is what makes Darrell Hubbell such a deserving nominee for the 2011 Citizen of the Year.
Citizen of the Year 2010
Hurd said she was surprised to hear somebody put forth her name.
She is the executive director of the Phoenix House, and has spent countless hours to several organizations since she moved to P.G. in 1995.
"It's just the way that I grew up. I have a responsibility as a citizen to help the community, and those less fortunate," Hurd said.
Hurd is a board member of the Hutda Lake Wellness Project for Women with Addictions, the board chair of both the P.G. Council of Seniors and the P.G. Crisis Line, and is the director of the John Howard Society of Northern B.C.
Also, she received the Governor General of Canada Commemorative Medal, recognizing her contributions to her community and to Canada.
Citizen of the Year 2009
Ray Gerow said he was hit by strange, unrecognizable sensations when he heard his name called out for the distinction. Gerow was a finalist along with chef Ron Christian of CNC's culinary arts program; Bruce Sutherland, president of WolfTek Industries; Renee Trepanier, executive director of the Cercle des Canadiens Francais de Prince George; and Gerda Blok-Wilson, artistic director of the Bel Canto Choirs.
Gerow said it was an odd sensation to hear his list of accomplishments in an encapsulating statement. He said it made it seem like all of that stuff was recent, or going on now—all the volunteering for sports initiatives, aboriginal development projects, business and community causes he has taken on over the years. It was a life's work that came together alongside some recent volunteerism to make up that description, he said, and the other finalists had a similar body of work in their areas. 2009 Citizen of the Year - Ray Gerow
"It catches you off guard when you hear it all in one lump," he said. "You do these things out of personal interest, passion—a challenge I wanted to take on. Sometimes I wonder why I make myself so busy, but it's never a chore, it's for fun and so I can be involved in my community, and the other finalists would probably say the same thing. So would a bunch of people who didn't get nominated by do a lot for the community."
Gerow is originally from Burns Lake, and has been active our city's business community ever since moving to Prince George. He is currently the CEO of the Aboriginal Business and Community Development Centre, sits in the board of the Nechako- Kitamaat Development Fund Society, and is deeply committed to getting the proposed School District 57 Aboriginal choice school off the ground by September.
Family time, health, relaxation, work, and volunteering are all aspects of a balanced life he said, adding that he and his wife Veronica's six kids in their blended families are his consistent joy. "To have the whole family together was the most important part of it, and for them to be there to see it was a wonderful bonus."
—courtesy of The Prince George Citizen.
A man well-known for his willingness to share his expertise and dedicate his time towards a more enriched and vibrant community has been named Prince George Citizen of the Year. Michael Kerr was given the honour by the Prince George Community Foundation during its annual gala. Kerr, an industrial technology advisor with the National Research Council, has played a significant role in the expansion and diversification of the Prince George economy.
“His skill in helping develop local companies is so strong that he is regularly among the top 1,300 colleagues at the NRC in number of projects and volume of funds,” his nominators said.
“I can’t think that I’ve done that much when I look around this community and see so many volunteers,” he said. “The commitment to this community is outstanding.” But his involvement in the community goes far beyond his job. As an early proponent of bioenergy, he founded the bioenergy conference in 1999, acquired seed money, and went on to speak on the topic internationally. During a successful seven-year stint with the Chamber of Commerce, including serving as president in 2005, he forged many new business links across the country. His willingness to share his knowledge and expertise is well-known through his mentorship with business students, judging science and heritage fairs, and instructing the UNBC MBA and BComm programs.
Kerr founded an advisory group to help companies enhance productivity. He chaired the Natural Resource Forum Awards committee for four years. Kerr founded the Northwest Science and Innovation Society and served as a director on the Science Council. In addition, he has helped with numerous other organizations as a volunteer and board member.
Dick Voneugen has contributed to the quality of life we enjoy in Prince George for 30 years. From running to skiing to skating to hiking to biking, Dick Voneugen has used his passion and skills to help make Prince George rich in facilities and events over the last 30 years. Dick's energy is limitless and contagious. In the winter, when the city sleeps, Dick can be found at the Outdoor Ice Oval driving the truck that sprays the water that makes the ice for all to use. When the snow has gone and the ice has melted, his time will be spent setting up the next running event or organizing people for the next senior games, or heading off with a work party and walk the 25K Greenway trail with a chain saw on his shoulder, helping to keep the trail open for people to use. Some of the volunteer organizations Dick has been involved with:
- Founding member in 1978 of the Prince George Road Runners
- Organizer of the first Terry Fox run in 1981 and still a member of the organizing committee
- Member of the Road Running Committee of BC Athletics
- Founding member of the Cranbrook Hill Greenway Society
- Founding Director of the Outdoor Ice Oval Society
Baljit Sethi has been the head of the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society for more than 30 years and has been a tireless anti-racism advocate and resource for new Canadians. Other communities call on her constantly to emulate the programs she has designed and implemented in Prince George on a professional and volunteer basis. She is known as "Mom" by many immigrants from around the worked who have come to Prince George.
Bill Lynch is a long time resident of Prince George and has been an active investor, contributor and volunteer. Bill's nominator states, "Bill's spirit for volunteerism and giving back to the community is inspiring to all those around him".
His passion and enthusiasm for this community is evident by the many local boards and committees he volunteers for including: Northern Sport Center Steering Committee, University of Northern British Columbia, Progress Prince George Board, Prince George Development Corporation, Spirit of BC Community Committee, 2000 Healthcare Rally.
In addition to his volunteer work, Bill Lynch is an active philanthropist in Prince George. His spirit of giving is evident as Re/Max Centre City Realty and its associates donate annually to worthwhile community causes including: Northern Medical Program, Cedars Christian School, Northern Children's Festival, Prince George Symphony, Prince George Youth Soccer, Salvation Army.
A lifetime of service is the hallmark of Shirley Gratton's life. Since her childhood, she's been a strong participant and advocate for sports in Prince George, particularly for baseball, beginning with the Nechako Little League and later founding the Nechako Babe Ruth Baseball League. Her long association as a volunteer in baseball resulted in her appointments as District Commissioner and as Assistant Commissioner for the B.C. Babe Ruth League. She was inducted into the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. Serving on City Council for a decade from 1992 to 2002, she lobbied to organize the Civic Pride Action Group, the Adopt-a-Block program, and negotiated co-operation between the provincial Highways Department and the city's Leisure Services Department to suspend large hanging baskets along the Highway 97 route to beautify the city. She volunteers long hours every year to support the Festival of Trees event for the hospital's foundation. In the words of her nominator: "Throughout her life, Shirley has exemplified the attributes of a good neighbour and ideal citizen; interested in others, willing to work for the betterment of families and community; and pleased to share her talents for the benefit of all."
Anne Martin has been someone who always looked beyond herself to see where she could contribute, where she could build, and whre she could make a difference. She is always thoughtful, considerate, patient and open minded. Over her thirty years in this community she has been recognized as a caring, hardworking, knowledgeable community leader with a delightful sense of humour.
Anne is best known for her work as a respected city councillor where she clearly demonstrated her strong interest in building a healthy, culturally vibrant community.
Anne has contributed greatly to a long list of community organizations including: The Child Development Centre; The University of Northern BC; the Prince George Symphony Orchestra; the Prince George Art Gallery; The David Douglas Botanical Garden Society; anad the Prince George Receiving Home Society.
Her list of accomplishments is long and reflects her strong committment to building a stronger community. We are proud to have Anne as our 2003 Citizen of the Year.
Through his sense of duty he has quietly donated time and sponsorship to assist in the growth and welfare of his community. His dedication has had a positive outcome for young people in the communities of our province.
He is a founding member and President of D.A.R.E BC Society (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), President of the Northern Police and Community Education Society, Director of D.A.R.E Canada (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), and Sponsor/Volunteer with the RCMP North District Drug Awareness Service.
Tom has also served as director and president of the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation.
There are not enough words to express the circle of influence this remarkable man has created through the example of his life.
John is known as Mr. CNIB to national, provincial, and local CNIB board members. Since moving to Prince George in 1957 he has touched many lives and made numerous contributions to our community. He has been an active fundraiser, peer councilor and has been Chair of the CNIB's Northern BC Advisory Board.
He has been the driving force behind the North Nechako Lions Hall, instrumental in sending the first physically and mentally challenged children from this area to Lions Camp Winfield, and invoked in the drive to obtain $136,000 required to purchase an ophthalmological laser for the Prince George regional Hospital.
Despite John's challenges he is legally blind, he can often be seen selling raffle tickets for some of this favorite organizations including the Lions Easter Seal House, CNIB, Child Development Centre, and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Murry Krause was named Citizen of the Year for 2000. Murry has volunteered in this community since he was a teenager when he was the youth representative on the first Prince George Social Planning Council.
He is the co-founder of Volunteer Prince George and Carefree Social Services. He spearheaded the acquisition of the former RCMP station for use by social service organization.
Murry has been chair of the Board of CNC and Literacy Prince George and treasure of Literacy BC.
He has also been involved with the following organizations in various leadership roles; Community Planning Council, Aids Prince George, Prince George Homeless Shelter, Hospice Society, Food Bus Program, and too many more to mention.
Murry has always had a social conscience and has endeavored to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Horst Sander, the winner of the 1999 award, is the latest Citizen of the Year. Horst has been a hard working volunteer in this community. He has donated time to; The University of Northern BC, The Child Development Centre, The Fraser Management Board, and The National Transportation Review Committee, to name just a few.
A fellow forest industry executive described him as follows: I know from the many business dealings I had with him when he was CEO of Northwood Pulp and Timber that he thought as much about our city's health and well-being as the well-being of the company he ran.
As a result of generous sponsorship of the Citizen of the Year Dinner by Northwood and Canfor and other donors substantial funds were added to the Citizen of the Year Fund in the name of Horst Sander.
The Citizen of the Year for 1998 was Gord Molendyk. He was chosen for his volunteer involvement with the Oldtimers Hockey Association, Child Development Centre, Native Friendship Centre, Cerebral Palsy Sports Association, and many other groups. His toasters spoke highly of his dedication, reliability and selflessness.
Funds were added to the Citizen of the Year endowment in the name of Gord Molendyk.
The year following the Backhouse Roast, the Rotary Clubs of Prince George offered to let the Foundation take on the task of choosing the Citizen of the Year. The first Citizen of the Year chosen was well known broadcaster and community volunteer, Bob Harkins. Bob was roasted and toasted by a variety of people from his past and present. Definitely an entertaining evening.
A citizen of the Year endowment fund was started and $15,000 was donated in Bob Harkins name.