It was a day to share food, laughter, music, conversation, and accolades with the community.
It was the fourth year running that Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag held his community barbecue and the third annual year that he presented awards to numerous constituents deserving of accolades “for all they do.”
“There are so many people in our community doing great things without ever hope of being recognized, and yet I know that someone saying ‘thank you’ and in some way giving some validation to the work they’ve done is important,” said the Liberal member of parliament.
“This is important for the riding of Cloverdale-Langley City because we are gathering as a community and celebrating those who have exemplified exceptional service or volunteerism, and community leadership in Cloverdale-Langley City – whether they reside in, or have made an impact in, our community,” he said to the largest audience yet – an estimated 250 at Douglas Park on Sunday.
Most in attendance gathering under tents, seeking shady spots under trees, or spreading out picnic blankets and lawn chairs on the grassy areas in front of the bandshell to enjoy free food, children’s activities, live music, plus the awards presentations.
The purpose for his community leadership awards is to recognize exceptional local individuals who have had a positive influence in lives – someone who volunteers in the community, lends time and expertise to help youth or coaches sport teams, visits or assist the elderly or less fortunate, or are actively engaged with pressing issues facing the community.
They are all leaders who contributed “greatly” to the community through volunteerism and dedication to their cause, and in many cases are truly “unsung heroes,” Aldag said, recognizing 15 individuals (five not present) with framed certificate of appreciation and a pin made of an authentic piece of the copper that covered the roof of the Centre Block from 1918 to 1996. He explained that the Centre Block is located on Parliament Hill, where both the senate and House of Commons meet.
Aldag claimed to brag in the House of Commons about the great community spirit and volunteerism that is rampant here, and this would give him one more excuse to boast.
“Thanks for the work that each of you do to make our community better. Keep doing that,” he said, calling each recipient on stage to accept the tokens and audience applause.
It was a great day for a Constituent Appreciation & Community BBQ! Today, at the bbq, I presented Leadership Awards to some amazing volunteers and community advocates who have gone above & beyond for Cloverdale-Langley City! Congrats to the winners & thanks to all who came out! pic.twitter.com/PaTNLRUzYO
— John Aldag (@jwaldag) July 15, 2019
Langley’s Lynn Whitehouse
Lynn Whitehouse came out of retirement to work part time as Aldag’s constituency assistant, but it was close to four decades of work with the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, the chamber movement regionally, provincially, and nationally, and the local business community of Langley that had her step out from behind the organizer’s table at Sunday’s event to receive her own surprise award Sunday.
“In her role as executive director for the Langley chamber of commerce, she worked diligently with local politicians and other advocates to keep the Aldergrove border crossing open,” Aldag explained to the crowd.
With the recent expansion of the Aldergrove-Lynden crossing, he suggested her lobbying efforts led to Langley being “well positioned” for businesses to transport goods to and from the U.S.
“Lynn also successfully advocated for Langley businesses in countless other ways over the years, and this has helped the business community of Langley to thrive,” he said, noting Whitehouse was inducted this spring as a fellow to the B.C. chamber in recognition of her lifelong commitment to the chamber movement.
“Although Lynn is now retired from the chamber, her life’s work working and advocating for business in Langley continues to benefit our community each and every day,” Aldag said, denying any conflict of interest in presenting one of his community leader awards to someone he “gratefully snagged out of retirement” to work as a member of his team.
“She’s been an amazing person in this community,” he concluded.
Langley’s Rosemary & Greg Davis (Rosemary not in attendance)
Rosemary and Greg Davis have been serving children, youth and families for over 35 years. In 1984 Greg and Rosemary ran the first ever Youth Resource Program, since then they have both done incredible things to support the youth within our community. Rosemary has worked for many years supporting the youth in schools. Aside from helping students in need, Rosemary also helped the students create a video to raise awareness about drugs. She also arranged a fundraiser and obstacle course for the Terry Fox Foundation raising over $26,000.
Greg has served his community professionally and personally for over 35 years. Greg has put in countless hours supporting youth and goes out of his way to help, such as dropping off groceries at homes of families in need and developing programs to improve childhood mental health.
Greg and Rosemary have fostered children, taken in international students and done unmeasurable things for the youth in Langley. They are a treasure within our community and are very deserving of this award. Congratulations Greg and Rosemary!
Cloverdale’s Amit Sharma
Amit Sharma is a role model for all of us. He is an amazing man who is actively involved in his community. Amit is an active member of Spinal Cord BC as a peer mentor, a motivational speaker and has been working hard to create designated disabled parking spots for Van Accessible wheelchair users only. Amit is also working hard to advocate for Whiterock Beach to be more accessible to wheelchair users. Amit helps disabled refugees feel comfortable within their community and settle into their new surroundings. He is an incredible man and an inspiration to us all.
Cloverdale’s Gord Hallam
Gord Hallam is a dedicated and hardworking man. Gord has lived in Cloverdale for 22 years, and is currently the director and an active volunteer for the Surrey Heritage Museum and the BC Truck Museum. Gord works tirelessly helping with everything from building maintenance to running tours after hours, driving dignitaries in parades, helping to maintain the trucks and liaising with the movie industry. He is always available at a moment’s notice and ready to help whenever he can. Gord is an outstanding volunteer and community leader.
Cloverdale’s Nastasja Ador
Nastasja Ador is an incredibly kind, caring and selfless teen within our community. She is the head of human resources and outreach at a youth led program to support veterans called “Hold High the Torch”. Nastasja was an integral part of setting up the Inaugural Cloverdale Veterans Appreciation Luncheon, coordinating fundraising, purchasing supplies and recruiting volunteers. Nastasja was a key member with the luncheon helping bring in over 100 attendees. She is also a driving force behind other school initiatives such as Postcards for Peace and Valentines for Veterans. Nastasja went above and beyond to help her community.
Surrey’s Diane Johnson
Diane Johnson is a brilliant woman within our community. She volunteers at a variety of events and is a dedicated researcher at the Museum of Surrey. She has put in a countless number of hours transcribing decades of council minutes. Usually Diane can be found in the Archives bringing the past forward into the future. She is also a member of the Friends of Surrey Museum and Archives Society board.
Surrey’s Harjot Kular
Harjot is a true leader within the community – she is not only academically gifted but also an active environmental leader. She has organized many events over the past few years including a sustainability initiative; student led programs and even became a BC Hydro Ambassador. Harjot was the co-founder of the sustainability club at her school and is actively involved in the Surrey Student Advisor Council and the Surrey Youth Sustainability Network Club. Harjot is a young woman who is passionate about helping the environment and I know she’ll go on to do great things.
Cloverdale’s Gord McFarlane
Gord McFarlane is a man always seeking ways to help others. Gord has been the Umpire in Chief for Minor League Baseball for the past six years. In that time he has managed to build a team of exceptional youth umpires who are recognized as one of the best in Canada. Gord has spent countless hours on the baseball diamond mentoring about 50 boys and girls, aged anywhere between ten and their teen years. Gord is not paid for what he does and says his award “is watching young people learn baseball, umpiring and life skills.” Gord is a selfless man and an inspiration to his peers.
Surrey’s Roha Tahir
Roha Tahir is an outstanding member of the community. She is part of a youth led camp called “Camp We Empower”. Through the camp she helps empower young children, teaching them life skills and helping them become the leaders of the future. Roha is a mentor to many youth and helps within her community by being a part of various leadership groups and committees. She is a shining example of what a leader is and is a perfect person to receive this award.
Cloverdale’s Christina Park (Not in attendance)
Christina Park is a young lady who is passionate and enthusiastic about helping others. For years she has been working to aid Afghan, Syrian, and Iranian refugees in Istanbul, using her ability to speak Turkish to connect with them. Christina went on a service trip back in 2018 to Vancouver Island; She helped within Indigenous Communities by weeding, assisting with household chores, and looking after children. Christina also held an executive position on her school’ds Student Council. Within her position she held the school’s first ever writing contest, and created a Fine Arts Showcase for all the students. Christina is also a youth group leader, a volunteer at the Cloverdale Rodeo, and a junior docent at Historic Stewart Farm.
Langley’s Gabrielle Suedfeld (Not in attendance)
Gabrielle Suedfeld is an amazing member of the community. She helps set up and serve weekly Breakfasts for the Langley Meadows Elementary School Breakfast Club. She also knits prayer blankets, reads to elementary students, and assists at the local Food Bank. She is a wonderful woman who always has a smile on the face and a friendly greeting for everyone.
Cloverdale’s Aryan Verma (Not in attendance)
Aryan Verma is a young leader and an advocate for community empowerment. He was one of the students who initiated Halloween for Hunger which is a program that helps to combat poverty within the community. On Halloween he and a group of his friends dressed up and went door to door, not asking for candy but asking for non-perishable food items to donate to the Surrey Food Bank. Aryan also was a key member in the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program and Hold High the Torch’s Veterans Appreciation Luncheon, helping plan this event for 9 months and putting in over 60 hours for volunteer work. He is an exceptional young man and very deserving of this award.
Cloverdale’s Michelle Young (Not in attendance)
Michelle Young is a pillar in her community, as a valued leader, mentor, and educator in our riding of Cloverdale-Langley City. She initiated the first ever Christmas Hamper Toy Drive for the Cloverdale Hamper Program.and worked hard with her students to raise over $1500 and collect over 200 toys for the hampers. Michelle also coordinated with the United Way of the Lower Mainland to distribute Cold Weather Packages for less fortunate members of the community. Michelle continues to inspire students every day and as one of her students quoted “exemplifies what an extraordinary community leader looks like.”