Five Islanders received Medals of Good Citizenship today during a ceremony at the B.C. Legislature’s Hall of Honour.
Tourism Arts and Culture Minister Lisa Beare presented the awards, which honour citizens who “through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or award.”
“Today is an opportunity to celebrate seven British Columbians who have shown exemplary service to the province and their communities,” Beare told Black Press. “What a great opportunity to recognize them individually.”
The first award went to Alberta “Wadzeed” Billy, from Quathisaski Cove. Billy is an elder of Laich-Kwil-Tach First Nation and We Wai Kai First Nation and a mentor, role model and inspiration to many. Her activism goes back to the 1980s when she asked the United Church to apologize for its role in the residential school system. The apology that followed her request set the stage for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Billy also travelled across Canada to co-facilitate Building Bridges Through Understanding the Village – an experimental workshop that teaches connection and encourages healing and reconciliation.
Ronald Greene of Oak Bay received a medal for five decades of good citizenship – volunteering and leading various organizations. Green was a volleyball instructor at the YWCA in the late 1960s and contributed to the administration of the BC Volleyball Association. Green’s family business, Capitol Iron, preserved the historic building on the waterfront and led Greene to serve on the Victoria Civic Heritage Trust.
Michael Langridge of Victoria was awarded the medal for his community involvement as a navy cadet and his activism surrounding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after his brother, a member of Canadian Forces, took his own life.
Langridge also represented Canada and B.C. at the Special Olympics in 2017, bringing home two gold medals.
Brandon Laur accepted the medal on behalf his family, including Darren and Beth Laur – known together as “The White Hatters.” The Laur family has visited more than 350 schools throughout B.C. and Canada sharing a message of social safety and digital literacy.
To date, the family has been directly involved in 183 successful interventions with teens who connected with them about cyber-bullying or harassment and were in the process of self-harm or suicide.
Last but not least, Kris Patterson of Port Alberni was awarded the medal for his volunteer work with multiple organizations and his contributions to literacy programs and local history in the Port Alberni community.
After the tragic loss of a child, Patterson wrote a book about grief and loss, which was welcomed by the Compassionate Friends Society and accepted to the BC Children’s Hospital library.