Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizen’s Services, on behalf of Premier Christy Clark, will present Sandy Burpee, a well-known Coquitlam citizen, with the Province’s newest honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship.
The ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. on March 20, 2017, at Coquitlam Town Centre Fire Hall, 1300 Pinetree Way in Coquitlam.
Launched in July 2015 by Premier Christy 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.
Burpee will be honoured with the medal for his tireless work done on behalf of those in need in the Tri-Cities of Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. Among his many contributions, Burpee has been instrumental on initiatives that have a lasting impact to the community and organizations he supports.
Burpee founded the Tri-City Area "Together Against Violence" committee and chaired the committee from 1994 to 1998. TAV was a non-partisan group dedicated to facilitating the development of proactive solutions to violence in the Tri-City area through an annual violence prevention month. He subsequently chaired a steering committee to implement a restorative justice approach to youth wrongdoing in the Tri-Cities and New Westminster, and was the founding chair of the resulting Fraser-Burrard Community Justice Society, now known as the CERA Society.
As the founding chair of the Tri-Cities Housing Coalition, Burpee has advanced the cause of affordable housing in the region. He joined the Tri-Cities Homelessness Task Group as chair in 2006 and subsequently amalgamated the two organizations.
His efforts saw the creation of temporary shelter space and emergency cold weather shelters. He has been instrumental in the creation of permanent shelter located at 3030 Gordon Ave. in Coquitlam which opened in December 2015. The permanent shelter took ongoing collaboration with levels of government and non-profit organizations, all the while overcoming contentious opposition during the public-consultation process. Burpee continues to support the operation of the shelter, a low barrier facility, as a volunteer and to promote the facility in the community at every opportunity.
As a housing advocate, Burpee has served continuously since 2003 on housing task forces and committees in the Tri-Cities and across the Metro Vancouver region. Most recently in 2015, Burpee was nominated interim chair of the Metro Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness, and subsequently has been working with others on the creation of a collaborative regional approach to homelessness in the Metro Vancouver.
In 2004, SHARE Family and Community Services Society added a Food Bank Depot in Coquitlam. Burpee took on the role of volunteer co-ordinator until 2014, organizing, staffing and managing the new depot. He supervised the weekly distribution of food, developing the operating procedures that are still used today. His role also included organizing space to allow for efficient processing of the SHARE Christmas Hamper program.
In 2006, Burpee joined Coquitlam Search and Rescue, the fifth-busiest SAR team in the province. With an average of 40 tasks a year, Burpee, who retired from the team in January 2017, has been a reliable team member, deploying into the field on most tasks and taking many training courses to become a proficient SAR member. He has served on the Coquitlam Search and Rescue Society’s executive as treasurer, establishing better accounting practices and leading the team’s funding and grant application program.
Burpee lead the SAR team in a partnership with Coquitlam Alternate Basic Education (CABE) high school in an innovative outdoor education program motivating students to pursue high-school graduation. Most recently, Burpee has taken a leadership role in fundraising over $400,000 and helping to plan the construction of a new mobile command vehicle. Recognizing the need to retire the existing command vehicle, the new state-of-the-art command vehicle will serve as the hub of team search activities for the next quarter century.
Burpee is among a select group of British Columbians who will receive the Medal of Good Citizenship over the next few months.
Premier Christy Clark –
“Sandy Burpee has led the charge on a number of vital issues in Coquitlam, from affordable housing to search and rescue to ending violence. A true role model, Sandy has dedicated countless hours to those who most need a helping hand.”
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.”
Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizen’s Services –
“Sandy Burpee has singlehandedly created a lasting legacy for the Tri-Cities communities. Organizations that serve the homeless, hungry and the lost have been significantly strengthened because of his focused efforts on these causes. His community service stands out as exemplary, making his worthy of this recognition.”
Sandy Burpee, Medal of Good Citizenship recipient –
“Of all my volunteer activities, the ones that resonate with me most deeply have to do with homelessness. I find it profoundly sad that a person would live not only without secure and adequate shelter, but also without connection to family and friends, invisible to the rest of us – essentially without ‘home.’ What they need from us is less judgment and more compassion.”
- 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:
To view photos of recipient ceremonies, visit: https://flic.kr/s/aHskw9MKjm
Find out more about previous recipients of the Medal of Good Citizenship: