Community Service Awards
Recognizing Exceptional Contributions
The Community Service Awards provide recognition to one member from each county for their “exceptional contribution to the life and well-being of his or her community.” A call for nominations was released in the October issue of BarTalk. After careful review, three lawyers were chosen to receive the 2002 CBABC Community Service Awards, in recognition that the actions of individual lawyers reflect on the entire legal profession.
Halldor Bjarnason (Vancouver)
There are many ways through which Mr. Bjarnason has exemplified why he is so worthy of this award. He has given freely of his time and skills to such organizations as: the Neil Squire Foundation, which provides technical assistance to aid people with severe disabilities striving to live independently; and the Theatre Terrific Society, of which he has been President and a Director. Theatre Terrific provides performance experiences to people living with mental and physical disabilities. Mr. Bjarnason was active in the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Sports Association from 1989-95. His interest in this organization stemmed from his involvement in cycling as a Paralympic-calibre athlete, culminating in his participation at the Seoul Paralympics in 1988.
The Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network has also benefited from his commitment to their goal of educating parents of severely disabled adults on estate planning and making preparations for the personal care of their children, after they are gone. “Halldor’s distinct array of talents enables him to fight as effectively for the individual as he does for the public policy implications that challenge each individual. I would estimate he spends 10-15 additional hours a week making life better for individuals with disabilities and their families,” said Al Etmanski, Executive Director of the Network.
Gary M. Brooke (Yale)
“He is a shining example of how one lawyer, with persistence and foresight, can help to transform the well-being and cultural landscape of an entire community,” says Janice Crerar, who co-nominated Mr. Brooke. Perhaps the most significant contribution to the region has been through his support of the Shuswap Community Foundation, which he chaired in its first days in 1994. “He was lead-in drafting the constitution, securing the Revenue Canada BN, and in constructing the ‘springboard’ that would ensure a successful launch,” said Clyde Tucker, Secretary of the Foundation. This year, the Foundation distributed $35,000 to charities and will distribute $15,000 in small grants to “neighbourhood” projects throughout the Shuswap.
Mr. Brooke has contributed significantly to the Salmar Community Association. A recent Association undertaking, a land-swap and building project, will provide dedicated Legion meeting space and a live theatre and performance venue. “Without Gary’s volunteered legal expertise to accomplish the conveyances and necessary sub-divisions, that project…would not have been possible,” said Ms. Crerar.
G. Glen Ridgway, QC (Nanaimo)
G. Glen Ridgway, QC has a history of civic service dating back to 1975, when he first became a Trustee of School District No. 65. Since then, he has been active in educational organizations, serving as a Trustee again in 1983, and as Chair from 1985-87. He was an Alderman of the North Cowichan Municipality during 1979-80, and since 1987 has served as a Councillor for that municipality. Mr. Ridgway was President of the Duncan Minor Hockey Association, and the Founding Treasurer of Kerry Park Men’s Curling Club. Young athletes will recognize Mr. Ridgway’s name as he has served as the Coach of both the Duncan Minor Baseball and the Kerry Park Minor Hockey groups, giving many hours to both organizations.
The CBABC thanks the selection committee of the Community Service Awards, composed of The Hon. H.A.D. Oliver, Conflict of Interest Commissioner; Trude LaBossiere Huebner, Researcher/Writer; Frances Statham, Ministry of Attorney General; Doug F. Robinson, QC, BC Branch Past President; and Mark Slay, BC Branch Communications Committee member.
BC Women of Distinction Awards
Congratulations to former BC Supreme Court Justice Patricia Proudfoot, who won a Women of Distinction award in the “Management, the Professions and Trades” category.
Her work as a Royal Commissioner and as a volunteer – including with Big Sisters of the Lower Mainland – has improved opportunities for girls and women. Countless women and judges have benefited from her mentorship and guidance – she was the first woman judge in three BC courts and the third woman to become a Justice of the Court of Appeal.
This article was published in the June 2002 issue of BarTalk. © 2002 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.