Today Richard Lee, MLA for Burnaby North, on behalf of Premier Christy Clark, presented the Medal of Good Citizenship to Lou Ryan, a well-known North Burnaby citizen, and Lou’s son Bradley on behalf of his late father Ken Ryan.
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.
Ken and Lou Ryan were a dynamic North Burnaby couple that for decades stepped up to either organize or volunteer for a myriad of events and services in the community. Ken passed away in January but the community legacy created by him and his wife Lou will continue.
For the past 23 years they were the engine behind the Burnaby North Community Fair in Kensington Park, which promotes businesses and organizations and gives families a chance to come together in the summer time, ride the midway and listen to live music. Every year the couple ran a Christmas Holiday hamper program, approaching local businesses and community members for donations to fill gift hampers with non-perishable food items and other everyday essentials for low-income families.
The couple regularly rolled up their sleeves to help at food banks, school hotdog days, and at the Lochdale Community School Christmas pancake breakfast. In the course of serving during Homelessness Action Week, they met a homeless man who made such an impact on them that they invited him to live in their home and join them in their community volunteer activities.
That man, Wes Thompson, passed away this year as a loved member of the Ryan family, no longer homeless and no longer isolated.
In the 1990s Ken created Comshare, a North Burnaby Community Association summer camp program that provides six weeks of camp experiences and outdoor adventure for children in Grades K to 6. He also served over the years as the acting treasurer of the BNCA, president of Burnaby Optimists, as well as Block Watch Captain, working closely with the local RCMP.
Under the auspices of the Optimists, Ken and Lou organized Burnaby’s Got Talent performances which helps fund bursaries for deserving children within Burnaby, as well as the Optimist Communication Contest, a for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Together Ken and Lou were very active with Volunteer Burnaby and the Lochdale Community Association.
The Ryans are among a select group of British Columbians who received the Medal of Good Citizenship in ceremonies over the next few months.
Premier Christy Clark –
“If you’ve been to a community event in North Burnaby, chances are you owe Ken and Lou Ryan a thank you. For 23 years, their countless hours of volunteer time have made North Burnaby a more vibrant and caring community. Ken’s passing has left large shoes to fill – but his legacy lives on in the brighter, safer, and more colourful neighbourhoods he loved.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, and chair of the Medal of Good Citizenship Selection Committee –
“The Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes the people in our province who generously and selflessly volunteer their time, effort and skills to make their community better. It was inspiring to work with the selection committee to review nominations and see how one person can make a difference. This year, as we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, it is important to recognize individuals who make their communities and, ultimately, their country better.”
Richard Lee, MLA for Burnaby North –
“Both Ken and Lou have been gifts to our community. They have never stopped giving their time and selves back to the community and I am honoured that we can show our gratitude for their contributions and recognize their work by awarding them the Medal of Good Citizenship.”
Lou Ryan, Medal of Good Citizenship recipient –
“Over the years Ken and I met and worked with so many amazing people and through that made some great friends and have been a part of some amazing experiences. When I met Ken he was involved with community service and it was natural for me to join him. The number of events and organizations we became involved with seemed to grow and grow as the years went by. Our lives were made richer by knowing that we helped to make a difference in the lives of others. Although Ken passed away in January, I know he would be as thrilled as I am at receiving this honour.”
- 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.
- An independent Selection Committee reviews nominations and recommends recipients.
- All regions in the province were represented on the Medal of Good Citizenship Selection Committee and members came from various professional backgrounds.
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
Find out more about previous years’ recipients of the Medal of Good Citizenship: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/celebrating-british-columbia/honours-and-awards/medal-good-citizenship/recipients