Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General for Corrections Laurie Throness, on behalf of Premier Christy Clark, will present John Simpson, a well-known Chilliwack citizen, with the province’s newest honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship.
The ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m. on May 31, 2016, at the Communitas Supportive Care Society offices, 45966 Yale Rd., Chilliwack.
Launched in July 2015 by Premier Clark, the prestigious Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward. The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life. Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round.
Simpson will be honoured with the medal for his pioneering services that he offered free to people with acquired brain injuries (ABI). For more than three decades Simpson devoted thousands of hours of service and emerged as an influential advocate in the field that resulted in the formation of local and provincial supporting organizations.
It has been estimated that Simpson has provided more than 16,000 hours of free support to individuals with acquired brain injuries and their families, since the 1980s. Many of the people he helped had no funding and no one else to help them.
He set out to educate the community and professionals about ABI, establishing the first annual brain injury conference in 1982, which ran for 25 years. Simpson was also instrumental establishing what is now the BC Brain Injury Association, which has the first Lower Mainland drop-in centre for people with ABI and now bears his name.
In 1997, he founded the Fraser Valley Brain Injury Association and he is still active with the group that serves more than 150 clients each year in five cities.
In 2014, under his leadership, the Brain Injury Alliance was formed, to better serve the estimated 22,000 British Columbians who have ABI. Through his advocacy, the Province contributed $3 million for services provided by community-based brain injury associations. The alliance also received $1 million endowment fund for education, employment and training for people with ABI.
Simpson is among a select group of British Columbians who will receive the Medal of Good Citizenship.
Premier Christy Clark –
“Sometimes, words like ‘dedicated’ and ‘generous’ don’t go far enough. Over four decades, John Simpson has provided some 16,000 hours of support to victims of brain injury and their families – and that’s in addition to his work educating professionals and the community about the cause, and establishing what is now the BC Brain Injury Association.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, and chair of the Medal of Good Citizenship selection committee –
“There are many people who generously volunteer their time, effort and skills to make their community better and this honour acknowledges their excellence, achievement and service. The time spent reviewing nominations was inspiring, and it reinforced to me that we live in a province where, each and every day, citizens can make a difference through their generosity and selflessness.”
Laurie Throness, Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General for Corrections, and MLA for Chilliwack-Hope –
“John Simpson has been a powerful voice for many people with brain injuries who otherwise would suffer without a champion. He has helped both individuals get better service and the brain injury community to create better awareness of the impact on society of these injuries.”
Terry Lake, Minister of Health –
“The work that John Simpson has done to increase awareness and support for people with acquired brain injuries touches on thousands of British Columbians. He has been a remarkable and effective advocate for those with brain injuries and their families and the Province of B.C. has been a proud supporter of his work.”
John Simpson, Medal of Good Citizenship recipient –
“First of all, I have to say how very surprised I was to receive the honour of the Medal of Good Citizenship. I was only one of many people who became involved in raising awareness about traumatic brain injury. In the early days, I was fortunate in having some very wonderful mentors in British Columbia, Canada, United States and the U.K. While I made my living in case management, I was also given the opportunity to donate time to the area and, in particular, to those who have acquired brain injuries and deserve genuine and patient attention to their needs.”
- The Medal of Good Citizenship was launched in 2015 to recognize individuals who, through exceptional long-term volunteer efforts, have made outstanding contributions to the well-being of their communities.
- Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round.
- All regions in the province were represented on the Medal of Good Citizenship selection committee and members came from various professional backgrounds.
- More than 220 nominations were reviewed.
- Additional medal presentation ceremonies will be held across the province in the coming months.
To learn more about the medal, or to nominate a good citizen in your community, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/medalofgoodcitizenship
To view photos of recipient ceremonies, visit: https://flic.kr/s/aHskw9MKjm
A backgrounder follows.