Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, on behalf of Premier Christy Clark, will present Ray Abernethy, a well-known Burnaby citizen, with the province’s newest honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship.
The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m., Friday, July 22, 2016, at the Helping Families in Need Warehouse, 1679 Gilmore Ave. in Burnaby.
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.
Abernethy will be honoured with the medal for his dedication to helping women in transition, single moms and dads on income assistance, new immigrant families, refugees, fire victims, seniors and others in Burnaby by providing basic household necessities to relieve the cost of establishing and maintaining a comfortable home.
From its humble beginnings 35 years ago in Abernethy’s garage, the Helping Families In Need Society has blossomed into a local organization that operates out of a 585 square-metre (6,500 square-foot) warehouse and helps more than 1,300 families a year. More than 65 Lower Mainland agencies and government offices rely on the Helping Families in Need services by referring clients to the organization.
Abernethy is among a select group of British Columbians who will receive the Medal of Good Citizenship.
Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia –
“Thirty-five years ago, Ray Abernethy started helping people from his own garage. Today, the society he founded, Helping Families in Need, operates out of a warehouse, and every year makes a positive difference in the lives of thousands of people.”
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.”
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development –
“Ray Abernethy’s hard work, dedication, commitment and generous spirit has led to the development of the Helping Families in Need Society, an organization run solely by volunteers. Ray is an example to us all and an inspiration who shows us that helping those in need is a reward in itself.”
Richard T. Lee, MLA for Burnaby North –
“Never underestimate the power of one person to have an impact and Ray Abernethy is proof of that. His efforts to help families in need began simply, and today his organization has grown to become a vital force in the Lower Mainland. It’s an honour to have citizens like Ray and he is so deserving of the Medal of Good Citizenship.”
Ray Abernethy, Medal of Good Citizenship recipient –
“I am honoured to be recognized by the Province of British Columbia for my volunteer work. I encourage others to volunteer and make a meaningful, positive, impact on the well-being of our communities. I have met a diverse range of families and volunteers who inspire and motivate me every day and find volunteering very rewarding. Together, we really can make a difference.”
- 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 throughout the province in the coming months.