Premier Christy Clark today presented The People of Ahousaht First Nation and the District of Tofino with the province’s newest honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship.
The ceremony was held at the Lone Cone Hostel and Campground on Meares Island.
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.
The District of Tofino and the People of Ahousaht First Nation Community will each be honoured with the medal for the selfless dedication demonstrated in October 2015, when coming to the assistance of the families and victims of the sinking of the Leviathan II in Tofino.
The People of Ahousaht First Nation Community are being recognized for their brave assistance of victims during this unfortunate incident. After Clarence Smith and deckhand Kenny Brown spotted an emergency flare while out on the water, without delay they set their boat’s course in the direction of the distress signal. Their immediate reaction and further support from Ahousaht members who arrived on the scene with a number of boats to assist undoubtedly saved numerous lives.
The District of Tofino is being recognized for the manner in which the community selflessly banded together to help the survivors and their families, the victims’ families and all those involved in the rescue and recovery effort. Despite the incident leaving the community shocked and in mourning, residents opened their houses to strangers, shared food and blankets, and stood in solidarity beside the victims’ families during the candlelight vigil organized by the community to honour and remember those who perished.
The two communities are the first communities to ever to receive the Medal of Good Citizenship and join a select group of individual British Columbians who have received the Medal of Good Citizenship in ceremonies across the province.
Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia –
“Communities reveal a lot about themselves during a tragedy and this is especially true for the Ahousaht First Nation and Tofino. When the Leviathan II went down they rallied together to help save lives, and put themselves at risk not for any other reason than it was the right thing to do. It is my pleasure to honour both these communities with the Medal of Good Citizenship for their extraordinary selflessness and courage.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, 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.”
Ahousaht Chief Councillor Greg Louie –
“I’m proud to accept this medal on behalf of our Ahousaht members, who put themselves in harms way without hesitation in order to save lives. I’m pleased the Government of B.C. recognizes our community’s response to this tragic event, as we work together through the process of improving emergency response across our territory.”
Acting Mayor of Tofino Greg Blanchette –
"The Leviathan II incident was a sudden tragedy that deeply affected everyone involved, and shocked the entire community of Tofino. My fellow citizens rose to the occasion with compassion, dignity and effectiveness, and I am very proud to to accept this award on their behalf."
- 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