The Order of Abbotsford represents the highest form of recognition the City can extend to its residents. The Order of Abbotsford is bestowed upon individuals who have given a particularly high level of long-term service and contribution to the City; and have brought distinction to themselves and the City by outstanding achievements in a variety of areas, including but not limited to: culture, public or community service, the environment, heritage conservation and sports. Nominations for acts of bravery are not eligible for the Order of Abbotsford. View the Civic Awards and Recognition Policy for more information.
The 2023 nomination period has not yet opened. Please check back for more updates.
2022 Order of Abbotsford Recipient
Sharon Mitchell - For her commitment as a community builder and volunteer, as well as her dedication to sport, Sharon Mitchell is the 2022 recipient of the Order of Abbotsford.
For the past 40 years, Sharon Mitchell has been a valuable community contributor in the City of Abbotsford. Through her commitment as a community builder and volunteer, as well as her dedication to sport, Sharon has left a lasting impact on our City.
Sharon was born in Smithers, a small northern community in BC, to Dutch immigrant parents. After graduating from high school, Sharon obtained a Bachelor of Arts at Calvin College in Michigan and went on to take additional teaching related courses from Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria and Trinity Western University where she received a TESL certificate.
In 1975, Sharon moved to Abbotsford, where she raised a family, while working as a special education teacher and a learning support teacher in middle school in the School District. Through her role, Sharon supported many children, helping them to achieve their full potential, while also supporting their families in challenging circumstances.
When Sharon retired in 2010, she devoted even more of her time giving back to the community. Sharon is the person you go to when you need help and she always says “yes”. As an active volunteer, Sharon commits her time to multiple organizations and groups to enable them to grow and provide support to those who need it in the community. Her name may not be in the newspaper headlines, but she is part of the backbone of the community through her steadfast and reliable volunteerism. Sharon is routinely working quietly behind the scenes, without fanfare or fuss.
Over the past decade, Sharon has volunteered more than 500 hours at The Reach Gallery Museum first as a gallery attendant and later as a receptionist. As a dependable volunteer, Sharon is known for maintaining the highest level of visitor engagement, always striving to deliver friendly and knowledgeable service. Impressively, the Executive Director of The Reach states, “the cumulative benefit of Sharon's years as a volunteer has created operational stability that has allowed our organization to grow from fledgling newcomer to award-winning cultural institution.”
Sharon has also been an English as a Second Language (ESL) volunteer with Community Services for refugee women and immigrants for nearly 10 years. Having grown up in an immigrant community, Sharon understands some of the challenges facing newcomers and enjoys learning about new cultures. Since retiring, Sharon has found great pleasure in working with new immigrants and refugees in helping them learn English. Sharon has also been a fundraising volunteer with the Kidney Foundation, as well as the Cancer Society for nearly 30 years, going door-to-door to connect with people in neighbourhoods to draw attention to these important causes and raise money. And if that wasn’t enough, Sharon packs up her piano music and heads to Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre and local care homes to sit down at their pianos and play music for residents for their enjoyment.
While still working in the schools, a “Bike to Work Week” introduced Sharon to cycling. Her school put together a team and three team members from her neighborhood went to school by bike – all uphill each morning (downhill on the way home). Now, Sharon is a decorated cyclist in British Columbia, having competed for a decade as a cyclist in the BC Seniors Games & 55+ Games. She has consistently achieved gold or silver medals in all three cycling events (hill climb, time trial, road race), racing in communities such as Kamloops, Kelowna, Burnaby and other locations. To this day, Sharon trains almost daily and is committed to excellence in her sport. She’s been invited to the Canada 55+ Games in Kamloops this August and looks forward to competing in the next 55+ games in Abbotsford next summer.
Through her commitment to education, volunteerism, and sport, Sharon stands out as a community supporter and someone who plays a vital role in the success of a vibrant, healthy and positive community in Abbotsford.
In recognition of her commitment as a community builder and volunteer, as well as her dedication to sport, Sharon Mitchell is receiving the 2022 Order of Abbotsford.
In recognition of her commitment to education and volunteerism, and dedication to the community, Sylvia Peary is receiving the 2021 Order of Abbotsford.
For the past 50 years, Sylvia Peary has been a valuable community contributor in the City of Abbotsford. Through her ongoing commitment to education, passion for bringing people together, and desire for serving her community, Sylvia has left a lasting impact on our community.
Sylvia was born in Golden, BC, and moved to Sicamous at age four. As one of seven children, Sylvia was expected to help out on her small family farm. Pitching in when work needed to be done became a way of life for her, and being involved brought her much satisfaction. Growing up, Sylvia dreamed of becoming a teacher, and in 1969, she moved to Abbotsford to start her first teaching position with SD34. While she didn’t think she would stay in Abbotsford her entire career, soon this City became home and an ideal place to be. Feeling blessed with what life had to offer, Sylvia always wanted to pay back or pay forward whatever she could. It is no surprise she became a teacher and active volunteer.
As a lifelong learner with a passion for education, Sylvia holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbian, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Western Washington and a certificate of Employment Counselling from the University of the Fraser Valley. At each step of her career, she’s put these skills to good use.
For 35 years Sylvia was an Abbotsford high school Business and Career Preparation teacher and led the Business and Career Counselling Departments at several schools. As an innovator, Sylvia was a pioneer creating a job placement program for grade 12 students that was eventually adopted by the BC Ministry of Education for all secondary schools in the province.
Sylvia provided nearly two decades of leadership supporting the Skills BC competition, a provincial competition that sees over 600 students annually compete in 60 competitions in skilled trades, from hairdressing to robotics. She was a major contributor to bringing this provincial competition from Vancouver to Abbotsford about 15 years ago and has continued to serve as a contractor for Skills BC.
Never afraid of embracing a new challenge, in 2012, Sylvia and her husband, former Abbotsford Mayor George Peary, jumped at the chance to go to the University of the Fraser Valley’s campus in Chandigarh, India. During that time, Sylvia kept a popular blog and supported classroom work and extracurricular activities, and then put her own MBA to use as an instructor in 2013.
At the root of Sylvia’s legacy is her passion for volunteerism. With each event, she generously shares her unwavering determination and thoughtfulness while having fun and ensuring the event’s a success. Sylvia has tirelessly volunteered for a countless number of events where she’s not shy to tackle the big tasks around recruiting and coordinating thousands of volunteers to help ensure each event runs smoothly. And as organizers know, with Sylvia comes a can-do attitude and an army of faithful volunteer willing to jump in and help out.
Over the past twenty years, Sylvia has left her mark as a director of the Abbotsford BC Summer Games (2016), Abbotsford BC Seniors Games (2006), and Abbotsford BC Disability Games (2002). She also volunteered and serves as the registrar for Zone 3 (Fraser Valley) BC Seniors Games, and has served as director and recording secretary for the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame, board member of the Abbotsford BC Yukon Breast Cancer Foundation, organizing committee member for Abbotsford Live Site for the 2010 Winter Olympics and organizing committee member of the Canadian Seniors Curling Championship. If there’s an event and help is needed, Sylvia will be there. Her continuous commitment to special events and bringing people together has left a lasting impact on the Abbotsford community.
Sylvia and George are proud grandparents of nine grandchildren, some living in Abbotsford and others in the United States. Sylvia and George take great delight in communicating with them, watching them grow and seeing them blossom.
In recognition of her leadership, extensive volunteer service and dedication to the community, Gerda Fandrich is receiving the 2020 Order of Abbotsford.
For more than 40 years, Gerda Fandrich has been an enduring force in the community of Abbotsford. Through her deep commitment to public service, passion for education and fostering the next generation and by living the values of dignity, grace and fairness each day she has forever left her mark on the city.
Gerda has lived in Poland and East and West Germany where she spent six months in a refugee camp. With her family, Gerda moved to Vancouver in 1953 and graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Education in 1966. After relocating to Abbotsford in 1979, Gerda began her public service to the community in 1985 as a Trustee on the Board of Education. She served for a total of 23 years on the Board, having been re-elected 8 times. Her contribution to local education saw her take on the role of Vice-Chair a total of six times, and ultimately rising to become Chairperson of the Board.
Further examples of Gerda’s community contribution can be seen through her work on the Abbotsford Community Foundation as the longest serving board member. She also served on the board of the Fraser Valley Regional Library, and the UCFV (now known as the University of the Fraser Valley) Community Council, and was also elected to the Clearbrook Waterworks District as one of five board members.
Gerda was also a founding partner of her family business, Fandrich Cone Harvesters Inc. which she started alongside her husband Helmut in 1981. Their company has been responsible for reforesting vast areas of North America.
She has been recognized as a Lifetime Honourary Member of the BC School Trustees Association, was named one of Abbotsford’s most influential people in 2009, and was Woman of the Year in 2008 with the Business and Professional Women’s Club.
Dr. Andy Singh Sidhu
For being a community and cultural bridge builder, Dr. Andy Singh Sidhu is receiving the Order of Abbotsford.
Raised in multi-cultural Malaysia, Andy Sidhu came to Abbotsford in 1974 as a member of the Sikh diaspora. He brought with him an understanding of the challenges and the opportunities of living in a multi-cultural context. With imagination, skill and vigour, he has used his experience and skills to be a community and cultural bridge builder in the City of Abbotsford.
As a bridge-builder, Andy’s influence extends to many sectors of the community through both his work and business and his community volunteering. Andy’s involvement in community organizations has been exemplary. Most notably, he has contributed to the work of the Abbotsford Hospice Society, Abbotsford Community Services, United Way of the Lower Mainland, the Abbotsford Police Foundation, Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation and the Canadian Diabetic Association.
In the business community, Andy has built a legacy as owner and publisher of the Punjabi Patrika for over two decades. The weekly newspaper is one of the few truly bilingual newspapers in Canada and BC’s first multi-language newspaper, founded on a vision of inclusivity and forming multicultural connections in the community. Andy is a member of the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association and has served as its president; in addition, he has been a participant for over 30 years with the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce.
Since 2011, Andy has been a board member of the University of the Fraser Valley Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, and in 2017 UFV granted Andy its highest formal recognition, an honorary doctorate, earned through lifetime contributions of professionalism, exemplary service and enrichment of the lives of others. UFV also appointed him as Chancellor in 2018, the most distinguished ceremonial and ambassadorial position at the university.
Andy has received local, provincial and recognition for his work as a community leader, including a Queens Diamond Jubilee Award and a BC Ministerial Award of Excellence. Through his hard work, his vision for inclusivity and understanding, and by softly motivating people to find common ground, Andy has been an excellent community builder in Abbotsford, making it a healthier community to live and work.
Carol is known throughout the community for her incredible spirit of volunteerism and ability to make everyone she meets feel special. She strongly contributes to the health of the Abbotsford community by helping others in any way she can.
Carol has been an extremely valuable asset for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley volunteering as an In School Mentor for 18 years. It is extremely rare to have a volunteer continue as long as Carol did. She understood the importance of what she was doing, knew that she was opening up a different world for the children through reading, and felt it kept the kid alive in herself. Eager to work with students and volunteer for many agency events, she became one of the agency’s most dependable, caring, and nurturing mentors.
In her role as a mentor, Carol provided literacy support and a mentoring friendship to students. She was always welcomed and highly regarded in the schools she volunteered in. Her warm, genuine and accepting spirit shone through in her role as a mentor and in the connections she developed with the students. As a parent of one of Carol’s mentees attests, it was through Carol’s positive reinforcement that her daughter learned reading can be fun, which resulted in her reading level significantly improving. Carol’s commitment level was tested when she experienced some health issues that no longer allowed her to drive to the visits. She met that challenge by insisting she continue on as a mentor and got herself to and from the school each week via Handi-Dart.
Overall, Carol has made an important difference in the lives of the students she has mentored and has been an asset to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Abbotsford School District and the Abbotsford community.
Carol has also been a generous volunteer for other organizations over the years, including Abbotsford Community services Lunch for the Bunch program, Hospice, and Blankets for the Fraser Valley. Whatever task Carol takes on she does it with joy and sincerity.
Carol has changed many lives in countless ways. She is a tireless and relentless advocate for those who need an extra opportunity and positive influence in life. Her optimism, hope, sunny demeanor and passion for youth is evident in all that she does. She gives of herself personally without any need for recognition. That in and of itself makes it more meaningful to recognize Carol Timoffee as an Abbotsford citizen who changes lives and builds community. She represents the character and values that this city was built on. By sharing her love of this community with the youth in this city, Carol has made her mark and invested in the future. She is a woman who lives out her own words: “The world can and will be changed, one child at a time, simply by giving a little time and a whole lot of tender loving care.”
In recognition of her leadership and her contributions towards building our community, Lynne is being honoured with the Order of Abbotsford.
Lynne Harris is a well-known and well-respected community leader. Through her years serving this community, she has truly been a servant of the people and a community champion.
Lynne served with distinction as an elected School Trustee from 1987 to 2002, and as a City of Abbotsford Councillor from 2002 to 2011. In her leadership roles, Lynne always took great care to make decisions that would ensure our community would thrive for generations to come. She always approached her work with energy and enthusiasm, and had a real heart for the youth in our community.
Lynne has always been an advocate for healthy living and a passionate supporter of community sports and sporting teams of all types and levels. As a member and Chair of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission, Lynne assisted staff to ensure that all of our parks, trails and recreational facilities were top-notch and met the needs of our diverse community. During her involvement in numerous Games – from Summer Games to Disability and Senior Games to the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay – Lynne encouraged large teams of volunteers, inspired community pride, and promoted our community as an organized and welcoming host city.
Her “signature success” has been her involvement as a volunteer and Chair of the City of Abbotsford Canada Day Committee. Lynne has spent countless hours making this event family friendly and inclusive and developed it into a major community success. With her hard work and energy, parade participants increased and community support grew, resulting in a huge public spectator attendance over a long parade route, culminating in a splendid afternoon and evening celebration at Exhibition Park/Rotary Stadium.
Lynne is passionate about creating a vibrant, safe and healthy community for all who live in Abbotsford. She is a person of great character and integrity, and has willingly served her community.
Graham Taylor - 2016 Citizen of the Year
In recognition of his extensive service and dedication to the community, Graham is being honored with the Order of Abbotsford.
Graham and his wife Melanie have raised their family in Abbotsford. Although Graham was an employee of the City of Abbotsford for thirty eight years, he was so much more – a citizen extraordinaire, having volunteered countless hours to various organizations and causes throughout the community. Noted as being a gentle and honest man, Graham has always been willing to give a helping hand where needed, often going the extra mile.
During the 1990s and 2000s, Graham was involved with the many multi-sport Games hosted in Abbotsford. Often with a focus on the transportation of athletes, Graham was always committed, always possessing a “can-do” attitude, and quick to respond when called up by Games Directors to solve problems or issues that arose before or during the Games.
Graham was also a long time driving force for the Canada Day parade, working together with his many helpers to ensure the parade was a success. His ability to manage eighty floats, without incident, has been admired by all who have watched him work. Even though his volunteerism for Canada Day has been well-defined, he has contributed so much more to tasks both big and small.
Graham has been involved with countless community organizations, including President of the Abbotsford Kiwanis Club, fifteen years with Operation Red Nose, and has provided “constant support and resourcefulness” to the 861 Silverfox Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron Abbotsford, and Abbotsford Air Force Association. He has been supportive of the various memorial events held at Thunderbird Square, including Remembrance Day, the Vimy Memorial, and the Battle of Britain. Graham often oversees the tasks of setting up ceremony sites, ensuring the delivery of equipment and making sure the clean-up is complete, all the while watching behind the scenes to make sure that the little extras are taken care of. The human touches he provides, such as a quick helping hand to escort a senior to a chair, are just part of what Graham is all about.
Although Graham is retired from his work at the City of Abbotsford, he will never retire from being involved and concerned about the citizens of Abbotsford and the many activities that make Abbotsford such a great place to live, work and play. We would all do well to emulate his approach to his community, family, friends and colleagues.
In recognition of her passionately advocating for the youth of Abbotsford, Joanne is being honored with the Order of Abbotsford.
Joanne Field is a passionate and tireless advocate for youth, ensuring they have the best educational opportunities possible, and helping them become the very best they can be as outstanding community members with successful careers ahead of them. Whenever she has seen injustice for our younger generation, she has been their champion to improve the situation.
From 1996 to 2011 Joanne served as Trustee on the Abbotsford School Board, during which time she was an enthusiastic listener to youth and their needs, advocating for the best kind of education possible for them. Joanne served as School Board Chair for 4 years, was a member of the Mayor’s Crime Reduction Task Force, Abbotsford Youth Commission Board of Directors, School District No. 34’s Drug Prevention Committee, New Beginnings Advisory Committee, and the City of Abbotsford’s Traffic Safety Advisory Committee. In 1998 she was a catalyst for and founding member of the Abbotsford Restorative Justice and Advocacy Association (ARJAA), which now services as a Community Accountability Program under the B.C. Ministry of Justice. From 2001 through to 2012 she served on the Board of Directors and is still involved in the organization today. In 2012, Joanne became the Executive Director of ARJAA, a position she still holds. Highlights during this time include Abbotsford Restorative Justice being awarded the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Non-Profit Organization of the Year, and the recipient of the newly established Dr. Liz Elliott Justice Memorial Award for community safety and crime prevention from the Ministry of Justice, Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division, including recognition for innovative partnerships and advancing the work of restorative justice, bringing caring and respectful services to victims, offenders and their communities.
Joanne is also a passionate advocate for Character Abbotsford, a society dedicated to challenging citizens and organizations to intentionally practice and promote character daily. Joanne understands that "it takes a village" to raise a child and strives for our whole community to be a city that shows integrity and is a fine example to youth. Integrity has always been at the core of Joanne's mindset, and as such she is the kind of example that youth can look up to as an extraordinary person of character, and one they can exemplify. With empathy at heart, Joanne has always been a keen and active listener to the younger generation, as opposed to someone who only "told" them how they should be. She truly cares about youth and what they need, understands them, and helps them thrive.
Joanne's attitude and approach to problems has always been very positive. Even when faced with daunting challenges, she takes them on with a smile on her face. She is a teacher, leader, cheerleader, visionary and influencer. Joanne inspires others to give their best and contribute. She is unpretentious and relentless in her commitment to repair the harm, restore the relationships, and rebuild the community. Her heart goes into every moment of the day, making our community better, one person, and one situation at a time.
Joanne's enthusiasm is infectious and relentless. Since the inception of ARJAA in 2001, she walks the talk every day. Joanne is an active Rotarian and is also the 2007 recipient of the Abbotsford Community Leader Award. She has helped to make a profound impact on the youth of our city as a champion of both Restorative Justice and Character Abbotsford, passionately advocating for funding and leading by example to create brighter futures for generations to come.
In recognition of her leadership and contributions to the community, Wendy is being honored with the Order of Abbotsford.
Following graduation from W.J. Mouat Secondary School, Wendy Neufeld began her successful career in the insurance industry and has now become one of only a handful of female Farm Insurance specialists.
Apart from her successful career, Wendy has demonstrated outstanding community leadership in many venues. In 2001, she joined the Rotary Club of Abbotsford-Sumas, of which she continues to be an active member. Over the years she has served in a variety of leadership roles with the Rotary Club, including Secretary, Treasurer, President, and Assistant District Governor for District 5050. She has played a key role in creating a partnership between the City of Abbotsford and the Rotary Club of Abbotsford-Sumas, which has resulted in the construction of 16 Rotary playgrounds in City Parks, as well as the establishment of Little Free Libraries being added into four City Parks. By distributing over 35,000 free children’s books, The Little Free Libraries have had a significant impact of improving literacy within our community.
In 2013, Wendy joined the board of directors of the Abbotsford Community Foundation as Chair. During her tenure as Board Chair, Wendy implemented a succession plan for the executive, helped recruit new board members, introduced a board orientation program and steered its progress in building a successful student awards program and an impactful community grants program, improved the ACF’s profile in the community, and raised funds for its operations and community endowment fund. Her success was recognized last November when ACF received the Business Excellence Award for Non-Profit Organization of the Year from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. Further to this, in 2015, under Wendy’s leadership, Abbotsford Community Foundation provided over $600,000 for student awards to graduating high school students in Abbotsford and grants to local charities and non-profits. Her leadership on the ACF board has certainly contributed significantly to its success.
A nominee of the 2013 Myrtle Everett Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Woman’s Club of Abbotsford, Wendy’s philosophy is that hard work and persistence will produce positive results and that she should give her very best to every endeavor. She supports a vast number of community services and fundraisers as a contributor, attendee, and consumer. Wendy is an unfailingly generous community member, but so modest that many are unaware of her profound contributions.
Satwinder Bains - 2015 Citizen of the Year
In recognition of her leadership as a diversity educator, a community developer, and an activist in the areas of women’s rights, youth empowerment and immigrant settlement integration, Satwinder is being honored with the Order of Abbotsford.
Satwinder Kaur Bains is a scholar, a community advocate, an ambassador for the Sikh faith and culture, a business woman, a mother, a community leader, a neighbor, a tireless volunteer, and a quiet philanthropist.
Satwinder and her husband Parm have lived in Abbotsford for decades and have grown their farm on Bateman Road using the strategy to work co-operatively with other farms, pooling efforts and berries. They now find themselves as one of the largest exporters of blueberries from British Columbia. A respected member of the Sikh community, Satwinder has always reached out to the non-Sikh community to find the areas of commonality between Sikhs and others in the Fraser Valley. She and her husband have donated quietly to local causes; and they foster goodwill and friendship at the Gurdwaras.
An Associate Professor of Social, Cultural, and Media Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley and a Ph. D. Candidate in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, Satwinder was one of the instigators behind the successful fundraising of $2.5 million for the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at UFV, and subsequently became the first director of the Centre. Largely responsible for the development of the Indo-Canadian Studies curriculum and certificate, she has encouraged cultural readings, programs, cross-cultural exchanges, discussions and opportunities for faculty, staff, students and the entire community.
Satwinder’s influence at UFV cannot be overstated. She was a major supporter of UFV’s extension campus in Chandigarh, India, which is now under Satwinder’s managerial purview, and has also worked to develop courses in every discipline that reflects our community in a more balanced way. The University has further evolved from having a Centre of Indo-Canadian Studies, to also embrace Mennonite Studies and First Nations’ Studies, all because of the catalyst and example of the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies.
Additionally, Satwinder was instrumental in establishing the Sikh Historic Project at Canada’s and the Western Hemisphere’s oldest Gurdwara, the Gur Sikh Temple, and helping to get it designated as a National Historic Site of Canada working closely with the Khalsa Diwan Society. The Sikh Heritage Museum is now housed on the ground floor of the Historic Gurdwara. Satwinder also supported the Reach Gallery Museum in the development of a Sikh heritage component for The Reach’s opening exhibition, helping foster a lasting relationship between The Reach, the University of the Fraser Valley, the Centre for Indo Canadian Studies, and the Sikh community. She was appointed as a Commissioner on the Agricultural Land Reserve in 2014, and is an Appointed Bencher of the Law Society of British Columbia.
George W. Peary - 2015 Citizen of the Year
For outstanding dedication to education in our community.
George’s devotion to education is surpassed only by his dedication to his community, and Abbotsford is truly fortunate to call George one of its own. In recognition of this dedication, George is being honored with the Order of Abbotsford.
George Peary was born in Brandon Manitoba in 1940, and as an exceptional athlete in his youth. He was named Athlete of the Year in Brandon when he was sixteen years of age. He would go on to become Captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings junior hockey team in the 1960/61 season. At the University of Saskatchewan, he participated in four varsity sports including football, hockey, wrestling, and judo. George also obtained a second degree black belt in judo, and he won a Silver Medal at the 1967 Canadian Judo Championships. Later that year he fought on Team Canada at the World Judo Championships.
George was educated at Brandon College (now Brandon University), the University of Saskatchewan and Simon Fraser University where he completed a Masters of Business Administration Degree.
In the early 1960’s, George served as an Engineering Officer in the Primary Reserve of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and following his university education, went on to become a highly successful school administrator, impacting the lives of many of our youth. George arrived in the Fraser Valley in 1973 in pursuit of his educational career. At that time he took on the position of Vice Principal at Abbotsford Senior Secondary and subsequently served as Principal of Maple Ridge Secondary, W.J. Mouat Secondary, Abbotsford Junior Secondary and Yale Secondary. In total George spent 28 years as a school administrator in School District #34 (Abbotsford.)
While a school administrator in School District #34, George was given an opportunity to develop a new model for education at the Career Technical Centre. His concept of seamless transition from high school to post-secondary education has since been adopted throughout the province, and enables students to begin post-secondary programs leading to employment credentials while still in high school.
Since his arrival in Abbotsford, George’s impact on the community at-large has truly been substantial. George served on the municipal Councils of the District of Matsqui and later the new City of Abbotsford for 18 years, followed by a three year term as School Trustee for Abbotsford School District No. 34, before becoming Mayor of Abbotsford from 2008 to 2011. Prior to entering local politics, George also served a six year term on the Matsqui Police Board.
Aside from his dedication at the local government level, the roles George has taken on in Abbotsford are many. Examples include: Charter President and member of the Rotary Club of Abbotsford; Director of the 1995 Western Canada Summer Games; Director of the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame; Board member of Central Fraser Valley Fairs Association; Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce; MSA Museum Society; Habitat for Humanity; Agrifair; Advisor to Abbotsford Hospice fundraising programs; 21 years involvement in making the City’s Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre a reality. Chair of the Campaign for Healthcare Excellence – a fund raising initiative that generated $7.5 Million for updated equipment for the new Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre; Chair of the Fraser Valley Health Region; Honorary Member of the Indo-Canadian Business Association; Business Instructor at the University of the Fraser Valley; and teacher with Newcastle College (the federal prison education provider).
George has also been awarded recognition for his many accomplishments, including receiving the Rotary International Paul Harris Award on two occasions; the Distinguished Alumni Award from Brandon University; presented as an Honorary Military Engineer by 192 Airfield Engineering Flight Abbotsford in 2002; and a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding community service in 2012.
George is known throughout Abbotsford, and across the Lower Mainland, as a motivator, a tireless advocate of Abbotsford, and an active participant in many local charitable causes. During the past three years, though the University of the Fraser Valley’s campus in Chandigarh, India, George and his wife Sylvia on two occasions spent months in India, where George as a university instructor shared his expertise in education with the youth of that country. Today, not being one to shy away from community, education, and helping young people, George is the current principal as Dasmesh Punjabi School, a 740 student K-12 Class One Independent School in Abbotsford.
For her outstanding achievements in journalism in the community, Trudy is being honored with the Order of Abbotsford.
Trudy emerged from a humble, Dutch-immigrant farm labor family in Bradner. At 28 years of age, Trudy first walked through the front door at the University of the Fraser Valley, where as an accomplished student she found herself on the honor roll pursuing an English degree. She then felt called to the Journalism program at Kwantlen University College in Richmond, where students elected her to the challenging role of Editor of the Kwantlen Comment, the university newspaper.
Through her years of writing poignant articles in her tenure as a writer/editor of the Abbotsford News from 1989 to 2009, Trudy’s dynamic journalism tackled, with international award-winning recognition, local issues related to social, economic and environmental matters, with such definition that critical change was often the result of her journalistic impact. She covered many hard-hitting news stories, including the Avian Flu outbreak, and the Sumas Energy 2’s quest to build a power plant just one quarter mile from the Canadian border near Abbotsford, during which time Trudy’s passion for Abbotsford, and her unselfish and humble spirit of seeking the truth in an effort to better the community, was unmistakable.
Trudy’s leadership as a journalist is clearly evident, with her being the recipient of 30 international, national, and provincial “First Place” journalism awards and excellent achievement awards for Best Investigative Stories and Features. This includes the Surrey International Writers’ Association prestigious “Special Achievement” award for making a significant contribution to the public good as a writer who sets the highest standards of excellence, integrity and public services.
Trudy is currently a non-fiction author with FaithWords, a Christian publishing company in Tennessee, USA. She is also a sought after inspirational speaker around North America, with having made guest appearances on television shows such as 100 Huntley Street, or more locally Vancouver’s own Bill Good Show on CKNW. Furthermore, she has written a number of articles to help people struggling with disease, injustice or personal tragedy, and many features promoting worthy non-profit groups, such as the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre, Abbotsford Hospital Auxiliary, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Abbotsford Food Bank, Peardonville House, Kinghaven, the Salvation Army, and BC Cancer Society to name a few.
A dedicated mother and grandmother, Trudy has volunteered as a counsellor with the Bakerview Pathfinder Club, was among the founding members of the Abbotsford Poets Potpourri, played classical guitar for the Musettes and rhythm guitar for CrossView, as well as has volunteered at speaking engagements for the 4-H Ambassador program and been involved with her children’s drama and music, and a variety of church programs.
Betty Johnston - 2014 Citizen of the Year
For outstanding dedication to community sport development and commitment to volunteerism.
Betty Johnston has volunteered throughout her life and particularly since arriving in Abbotsford some 38 years ago. Because of her lengthy career in Parks, Recreation and Culture she has developed a body of knowledge and a variety of skills which she has been able to share with local community groups through committees, boards and special events.
Betty was inducted into the Abbotsford Slo Pitch Hall of Fame in 2008, won a silver medal at the 2003 Canadian Senior Women’s Curling Championships, won a Gold Medal at the BC Senior Games Slo Pitch Championship in 2009 and 2012 and received the Abbotsford Arts Council Arty Award in 2013.
Since retiring Betty has spent an increasingly large amount of time developing her skills in photography. She has also found a new way to volunteer as it seems that lots of groups need pictures of their events and activities.
For outstanding achievements in community sport development and commitment to volunteerism.
For over 40 years Liz Carter has been the persona of volunteerism, hard work, enthusiasm and dedication to her community and its citizens young and old alike. The contributions by Liz Carter are varied and numerous. Most notably - she has established recreation programs for adults to foster lifelong health and fitness; she is a founding member of Abbotsford Twisters Gymnastics Club; a mentor for others who were establishing non-profit community clubs; an advocate for the Arts; tireless volunteer in numerous multi-sport games hosted in Abbotsford and many other volunteer contributions including: Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame, CNIB and the Abbotsford Probus Club.
Liz has been recognized for her work in our community on a number of occasions.
K. Barry Marsden
For outstanding achievements in the aerospace industry and dedication to local aerospace growth and innovation.
Barry began his aviation career in 1959 and was one of the founders of Conair in 1969, one of the world leaders in aerial fire control and today serves as President and Chairman of Conair Group Inc.
Barry started as a pilot and aircraft maintenance engineer, and accumulated over 10,000 hours of flying in specialty operations. Barry served in several capacities including Operations Manager, Director of Operations, Vice President and General Manager and was President and CEO of Conair from 1992 to August 2007 when he was appointed Chairman.
Capitalizing on the substantial maintenance and engineering capabilities developed in Conair, Barry was also the visionary responsible for pursuing third party maintenance opportunities by building a state of the art, purpose-built maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in 2000 and forming Cascade Aerospace.
Charles D. Wiebe
For outstanding service to the local arts community.
With over 24 years experience in real estate, Charles has worked almost exclusively in the Investment, Commercial and Industrial marketplace. Licensed as a Realtor since 1989, Charles became a member of the Commercial Division of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board in 1991, is a past President of the BC Commercial council and current Vice-President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. Born, raised and educated in Abbotsford, Charles earned a Diploma in Technology in Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering graduating from BCIT with honours.
Charles has devoted a lot of his personal time to his community, by supporting and being a part of an emerging and exciting arts community. Charles currently is the President of the Abbotsford Arts Council, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Culture for the City of Abbotsford and Director of The Reach Gallery Museum. As well, you will find Charles performing on local stages with Fraser Valley Stage as an actor/singer and an MC for many charity events and functions.
The 2023 nomination period has not yet opened. Please check back for more updates.
The Civic Recognition Advisory Committee evaluates all nominations and makes recommendations to Council, which are considered at a Special (Closed) meeting of Council.
Nominations can be made by any individual, group or organization. The Civic Recognition Advisory Committee evaluates all nominations and makes recommendations to Council, which are considered once annually at a Special (Closed) meeting of Council. Nominations for acts of bravery are not eligible for the Order of Abbotsford.
Recipients of the Order of Abbotsford are recognized annually during the City’s Canada Day Celebrations and during the Presentation section of the Regular Meeting of Council agenda, or at another event which has been organized for this purpose.