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Hidden Heroes 2019

Andrea Coutu is a founding member of BCEdAccess, a grassroots parent advocacy group that works for inclusive education. She has raised the organization to the national level through her work in marketing, communications, and media relations. Nicole Kaler, fellow member of BCEdAccess, nominated Andrea for her advocacy work, support groups, and the thousands of hours she’s contributed pertaining to social justice issues.

Bill Holmes is a heavily involved volunteer in our community. He has served, and continues to serve, on several UNA committees, assists the UNA by providing some legal services, initiates proposals for change, and serves as the president of his local strata council. Bill also served for 6 years as the Alternate Director for Metro Vancouver’s Electoral Area A, until October 2018. Ying Zhou, board chair of the University Neighbourhoods Association, nominated Bill for his volunteering spirit that shapes our community.

Bill Parker is a friendly neighbour to everyone. Lesley Stalker nominated him for his deeply appreciated contributions to the community over the last few decades. Bill has coached five-pin bowling for 27 years and lawn bowling for over 20 years. He is known as an avid birder, an observant botanist, lawn bowling extraordinaire, amateur historian, and founded the local Blockwatch 11 years ago, which remains active to this day. He also served as the class naturalist for Maria King’s class at Queen Mary Elementary, and enjoyed a very satisfying career as a natural history librarian at UBC spanning 37 years.

Ewan French is the chairman of Hockey Helps the Homeless Vancouver. Leslie Carson, a member of HHTH, nominated Ewan for the millions he helped raise through organizing charitable hockey tournaments over the last XX years. These locally- raised funds are then funneled to local organizations working to alleviate homelessness throughout the Lower Mainland.

Farah Shroff is a lifelong volunteer who has contributed to a multitude of organizations including her local Blockwatch. Her volunteer work includes tirelessly assisting neighbours, leading organizations for parents in the public education system, and spreading good health for all, here and abroad, with a number of groups. Christine McGrath nominated Farah for her role as a community builder extraordinaire—in which she demonstrates admirable vision, compassion, and commitment. Farah means joy, and she indeed spreads joy wherever she goes!

Frank Shang is a member of the BC Landscape & Nursery Association and the owner of MRD Landscaping Inc. He supplies his landscaping expertise to inform those in his community on the importance of environmental protection in gardening while building connections between the Chinese and landscaping communities.
He was awarded the 2017 BCLNA Garden Communicator of the Year Award for promoting professional landscape standards and practices on an Asian TV show, radio talk shows, and newspaper articles. Frank was nominated by Hedy Dyck from the BC Landscape & Nursery Association, Eileen Wan from Fairchild Television, and Carmen Shao from Talentvision and Fairchild Radio FM 96.1.

Hans Schmid is a member of the Right to Quiet Society, an organization which works to gain mainstream recognition of noise pollution as a serious environmental and health issue. Karl Raab, another member of this organization, nominated him because of his dedication to and management of public education efforts for the Society, donating books and DVDs to libraries across the province. Hans’s commitment and success in establishing quiet zones and ecological reserves free of anthropogenic noise is a valuable asset to our community.

Jaylen Bastos is a volunteer for Blue Dot, an organization dedicated to fulfilling Candians’ right to a healthy environment. Isabell Czerveniak, a member of Blue Dot and the David Suzuki Fund, nominated Jay for his sustained engagement and commitment to the movement. Jay has raised awareness on the importance of environmental rights through a creative social media campaign and through his contributions to many community events and beach clean ups. He is currently finishing up his degree in Natural Resource Conservation Science and Management at UBC.

Jen McCutcheon is a dedicated contributor to our community. She was nominated by Jillian Scarth for her plethora of work including being the chair and then vice chair of the U-Hill Elementary Parent Advisory Committee for the past two years, organizing a weekly nature program in Pacific Spirit Regional Park for children and seniors, leading the recent rebuild of the U-Hill elementary school playground, serving on her strata council, and helping to coach the school track team and her daughter’s soccer team. Most recently, she took the leap into public life and was elected as Metro Vancouver Director for Electoral Area A (which includes the UBC/UEL areas).

John Coope has been a long-time volunteer with the Jericho Stewardship Group (JSG), helping to remove invasive species in the wetlands and upper meadows of Jericho Park since the late 1990s. Trained as a chemist, John applies his systematic mind to his volunteer stewardship, compiling an inventory of 300 species and keeping detailed records of his work. John was nominated by both Susan Fisher of JSG and my husband Dirk due to his knowledge, dedication, and unflagging work ethic, making him an inspiration to everyone who volunteers with JSG.

Joy Panter has worked tirelessly for over 30 years for Amnesty International, helping to craft monthly petitions, raising money to buy stamps, and sending out Amnesty letters worldwide on behalf of prisoners of conscience. She was nominated by Jennifer Wade for her constant support, and for the way she actively welcomes and cares for others within the organization. Joy’s work has all been done quietly with little fanfare, truly in the manner of a Hidden Hero.

Judy (Hyo Joo) Rhee has been a volunteer within the UNA/UBC community for the last four years, and serves as a youth program leader. Judy helped develop a peer mentorship program and community contribution plan in the UNA Community Youth Band. Judy also reports for the local newspaper—The Campus Resident—as a youth writer, using her platform to cover important issues including school safety for students and postal services. Judy was nominated by Taylor Scott from the UNA for her noteworthy commitment to making an impact in our community.

Laura Cottle is a community volunteer who is passionate about connecting people of all ages to nature. She has taken countless groups of children on forest & nature walks; last year for example, she offered a monthly program for families called “Forest Explorers” and she volunteered with nature-related activities in both Norma Rose Point School and UHill Elementary School. She was nominated by Rose Wang for her numerous and varied list of volunteer activities. These ranged from serving 4 years on the UNA Board of Directors and on the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors to coaching soccer for 11 years. Other volunteer efforts include: Strata Council Chair, PAC Treasurer and Chair, Elementary and Secondary school String program advocate and assistant (15+ years), management of field hockey teams and leadership in sustainability programs for her Strata.

Lynn Shepherd has been nominated by fellow Westside Seniors Hub Council members for her dedication in conducting online research to support their projects. Lynn’s research has contributed to making well-supported policy recommendations to public agencies regarding pedestrian visibility and to developing more inclusive, dementia-friendly communities.

Mary Lymburner is a retired physician nominated by Conrad Guelke of St. Philip’s Anglican Church in Dunbar for her positivity, stamina, and dedication to helping others. She serves on the refugee unit of the lower mainland’s Anglican diocese and has been instrumental in St. Philip’s three refugee sponsorships. Mary also volunteers with the West Side Neighbourhood Street Ministry, which feeds, visits, and supports those experiencing homelessness and vulnerable people on the West Side.

Maureen Davis enhances many lives in our community through her independent volunteering efforts. She knits slippers for a women’s shelter, paints for, and hosts art shows for charitable fundraising, and teaches kids how to draw and make cartoons. She regularly bakes cookies for the Immigrants Services Society. For 29 years she volunteered with the chaplaincy in local prisons. She was nominated by Michelle Anderson because as Michelle puts it, Maureen is “a gem”. Michelle also noted that she always goes out of her way to help others. This includes offering continual assistance to Michelle’s husband, who lost his sight 20 years ago and was able to complete his Ph.D. with her reading assistance.

Nancy Szastkiw (SASS-cue) is a team leader with Disaster Psychosocial Services (DPS), a volunteer group of mental health professionals under BC Emergency Services. Nancy was nominated by Greg Taylor, Director of Family Services of Greater Vancouver, for her role in coordinating the actions of the team and providing psychosocial support to those impacted by natural disasters. Since 2013, Nancy has used her holidays for these disasters and was deployed three times to Fort McMurray, as well as multiple deployments including Kamloops Trail, Burns Lake, Fernie, and 100 Mile House to help those impacted by wild fires, floods and other disasters.

Ying Zhou is the current Board Chair of the University Neighbourhoods Association ( UNA ) and has served as an Elected Resident Director of UNA for nearly 6 years. Ying was nominated twice by Jade Zhang and Rose Wang from the UNA and UNA Multicultural committee, who both emphasized Ying’s commitment to public service and willingness to build understanding in culture and language. Ying has helped to build relationships with the community and stakeholders, as well as help foster long-term sustainable financial plans for the association.

Dr. Rosalin Miles is the founder of the Indigenous Physical Activity & Cultural Circle (IPACC), which has hosted five annual 5km runs with the Musqueam community in the past to promote physical activity and well-being. Dr. Rosalin Miles was nominated by former Chief Gail Sparrow of the Musqueam band for her role in shaping the non-profit, hosting the annual National Indigenous Physical Activity & Wellness conference, and showing the importance of giving back to the community as a First Nation woman.

Victoria Harrison is a leader of the English Conversation Club at Wesbrook Community Centre. Quining Yang of the University Neighbourhoods Association nominated Victoria for her dedication and warm personality as a respected community builder. In the over 200 sessions she has ran, Victoria has helped newly immigrated residents improve their English skills, form connections locally, and develop cultural understanding.