Township of Langley mayor Jack Froese (left) and Cassidy Hryckiw

Township of Langley mayor Jack Froese (left) and Cassidy Hryckiw

Township honours outstanding community volunteers

Eric Flowerdew, Pete Swensson and John and Muriel Arnason Awards given to volunteers who embody late community leaders' vision for Township

A man who has been a driving force behind numerous special events in the Township and a couple who have worked as a team for more than 40 years to promote Langley’s heritage, protect historic buildings and serve its elderly residents were honoured last Thursday night (April 2) during the Township of Langley’s Volunteer Appreciation & Awards evening.

Howie Vickberg received the Eric Flowerdew Award, while Ted and Lynda Lightfoot were named the John and Muriel Arnason Award winners.

Student athlete and volunteer Sumara Stroshein was also recognized for her efforts with the Pete Swensson Outstanding Community Youth Award, as the Township held its annual volunteer appreciation banquet at the Langley Events Centre.

The Eric Flowerdew Volunteer Award is presented annually to recognize the contributions volunteers make to the community. It honours an individual’s outstanding dedication to the promotion of quality of life, through creative, cultural, physical, or social pursuits, and to the enhancement of the Township of Langley’s community spirit.

A Township of Langley resident for 40 years, Howie Vickberg embodies that spirit, having been a driving force behind a number of special events, fundraisers, and service clubs.

As chair and a member of the organizing committee for Langley’s Relay for Life from 2005 to 2013, Vickberg was instrumental in helping the relay grow into an event that has attracted more than 90 teams and up to 900 people, raising millions of dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society.

As director of protocol for the 2014 Langley BC Seniors Games, he helped stage an event that attracted the most participants in the game’s 27-year history, and called on the services of more than 1,000 volunteers.

A Fort Langley resident, Vickberg has helped carry on the village’s traditions as chair of the Fort Langley May Day parade celebrations committee, a member of the Fort Langley Enhancement Society, and a member and two-term president of the Fort Langley Lions Club. He organized and hosted the Fort Langley Lions seniors dinner for 10 years and raised more than $65,000 for those in need through the Fort Langley Roctober Dance.

His efforts can also be felt locally as a judge with Langley Has Talent and a driver with Operation Red Nose, and as far away as Melaque, Mexico, where he and a friend collected soccer equipment and school supplies for a school.

Vickberg, who served two terms as a Township of Langley Councillor from 2002 to 2008, is currently a member of the Aldergrove Rotary Club, a Director of the Langley Animal Protection Society, and collects donations for the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign every Christmas.

Eric Flowerdew was a school trustee, municipal councillor, and member of the Langley Hospital Board.  As parks and recreation commissioner, he was instrumental in establishing the initial parks and recreation budget and in hiring Pete Swensson as the Township’s first recreation director. His commitment to volunteerism was unfailing, and in 1974 the Flowerdew family honoured his name with the award.

Other nominees for the 2014 Eric Flowerdew Award were:

·         Brenda Singbeil

·         Cheryl Young

·         Gordon Zacher

·         Les Clay

·         Russ Simpson

·         Sharon Wells-Ackermans

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The John and Muriel Arnason Award was established to honour two people who are advocates of literacy, culture, and learning, and work together as a team to make the Township a better place.

The award was created in memory of Muriel Arnason, the first woman to be elected to Township council, and her husband, John. Muriel, who was made Freewoman of the Township in 2006, served on council for 26 years, and was fully supported by her husband in her political pursuits, as well as in her initiatives to foster the arts, education, and literacy.

This year’s recipients, Ted and Lynda Lightfoot, have been members of the Langley Heritage Society since 2005. Ted served on the board of directors, was the CN Station liaison, and started the Hands on Heritage campaign to promote awareness of the community’s history and heritage. He also set up the Fort Langley Conservation Garden, helped restore the old Norris Interurban train station, and worked with local high school shop students to build a carriage house.

In 2011, the Lightfoots received a Heritage Conservation Award from the Langley Heritage Society and were presented with a Community Heritage Register recognition plaque from the Township of Langley for their commitment to restoring their own heritage home, the Leaf House. They were also presented with an outstanding achievement award from Heritage BC last year.

The couple is equally committed to ensuring the needs of the community’s seniors are met.

Lynda is a founding member of the Triple A Senior Housing Committee, which is working to provide affordable, accessible, and appropriate housing to those who are aging. Both she and Ted have volunteered to reach out to local seniors and encourage them to discuss their needs by helping with the committee’s community events, group discussions, and a survey.

Also nominated for the 2014 John and Muriel Arnason Award were Dave and Kay Turner

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The Pete Swensson Outstanding Community Youth Award is given to a Langley student in Grade 11 or 12, from one of the area’s secondary schools, in recognition of his or her athletic, scholastic, and community efforts. Personal qualities such as leadership, work ethic, and initiative play a major role in the evaluation process.

Pete Swensson was an internationally recognized athlete and photographer, and an outstanding member of the Langley community. The Township of Langley’s first Recreation Director, he was the originator of the Langley Walk. Swensson was committed to the overall development of youth.

Nominated alongside winner Sumara Stroshein for the Pete Swensson Award were:

·         Alixandra Johnson of D.W. Poppy Secondary School

·         Cassi Sauer of Langley Fundamental Middle and Secondary School

·         Emma Harrison of Walnut Grove Secondary School

·         Marieke De Vynck of Langley Christian School

·         Michael Pratt of Brookswood Senior Secondary School

·         Shannon Walker of Langley Secondary School

·         Terrisa Inthapanya of Aldergrove Community Secondary School

“There are so many people in the Township of Langley who are willing to give their time, effort, and talent to help others and make this an exceptional community,” said mayor Jack Froese. “It really is an honour to celebrate our volunteers and let them know how much we appreciate everything they do. We have a lot to be thankful for.”

Froese presented the Volunteer Appreciation awards along with co-emcee Cassidy Hryckiw, a Grade 11 student at Langley Secondary School who is serving her second year on the Township of Langley’s Youth Advisory Committee.

The recipients of the Flowerdew and Arnason Awards received a $750 monetary award to contribute to a recognized charity or society of their choice, and the Swensson Award winner received a $750 scholarship.