The Citizen of the Year awards were handed out by the Maple Ridge Community Foundation at its annual gala Saturday at Meadow Gardens Golf Course.
Jan Hickman was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement award. Other nominees honoured were Colene Thompson and Kat Wahamaa.
Hickman is a local realtor is being recognized for her work as a director with the Maple Ridge Community Foundation, ambassador for Alisa’s Wish, past president of Haney Rotary, with which she is still a member. She also sits on several committees for the Vancouver Real Estate Board, and has been involved with Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce, Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, local Terry Fox Fun, Women’s AM and many charity golf tournaments for cancer research and other fundraising activities.
Hickman born in Holland and immigrated to Canada at the age of six. She went to St. Pat’s Catholic school, then was in the first graduating class out of Garibaldi secondary in 1965. She moved to Australia, then England, Holland and Ontario, then returned to Maple Ridge in 1982.
“I want to congratulate all the nominees. We are all winners because of the time and the effort you spend volunteering in the community,” she said in her acceptance speech.
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year. When you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”
Thompson is chair of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows-Katzie Community Network whose mission is to provide direction to the development of social services for Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Katzie, and to provide opportunities and supports for residents to lead healthy lives.
Wahamaa is co-chair of the Opioid Overdose Response Task Force, the group behind the Humans of Maple Ridge project, a one-day photo exhibit by people directly affected by the opioid crisis the city with the goal of eliminating the stigma of addiction.
Katelyn Ross was honoured as the Citizen of the Year in the under-40 category. Other nominees recognized were Jen Baillie and Jordan Arsenault.
Ross is the head coach of the Garibaldi secondary softball academy and a counsellor at Alouette Addictions.
Most recently, Ross and Team Canada softball player Larissa Franklin attempted to catch a ball 1,200 times in less than an hour to make the Guinness World Record for playing catch. Their goal was to raise awareness of the importance of getting youth in sports, of team connections, and of after-school activities to encourage youth are active in positive community connections.
They were also raising money to help children access sports.
“Just being a finalist is huge for me,” Ross said in her acceptance speech.
“Obviously, we all know volunteering means taking time away from family, so there are times I can’t see my dad, or my mom, or my stepdad, or my husband and kids. So thank you to everyone who’s been there supporting me the whole time. Realistically, we should all be thanking the community. At the end of the day, we’re all here to make this community better.”
Baillie is a children’s services programmer for parks and leisure services who, in 2012, organized a three-week trip to Rwanda through the non-profit Developing World Connections, for which volunteers helped to construct an occupational centre and worked with a primary school.
Arsenault is a volunteer with Katimavik, a registered charity that educates Canadian youth through volunteer work. Arsenault joined Katimavik after hearing about it from a counsellor.
Victoria Gardner was previously recognized as the Youth Citizen of the Year at a ceremony at Thomas Haney secondary.
From 1991-2017, the Maple Ridge Community Foundation recognized one local volunteer hero each year with the Citizen of the Year Award. The purpose of the award is to recognize and honour a dedicated individual who has made outstanding volunteer contributions to enhance the quality of life in Maple Ridge or to enhance the image of Maple Ridge in the larger community.
The foundation now offers three awards.