Rupert Yakelashek (left) and Franny Ladell-Yakelashek are being recognized as honourary citizens for their dedication to environmental rights and protection. Twelve other people are also being recognized this week by the City of Victoria for their volunteer work in the community. Photo contributed

Rupert Yakelashek (left) and Franny Ladell-Yakelashek are being recognized as honourary citizens for their dedication to environmental rights and protection. Twelve other people are also being recognized this week by the City of Victoria for their volunteer work in the community. Photo contributed

City of Victoria recognizing its honourary citizens in special ceremony

Fourteen people to be recognized for outstanding work in their community

The City of Victoria will recognize 14 honourary citizens of the Capital Region and local First Nations for their exceptional work in the community in a private ceremony today (July 20).

The individuals will receive a plaque and pin for their efforts in categories including arts and culture, business, community volunteering, education, environmental stewardship, First Nations, multiculturalism, social and health issues, sports and youth.

“It was tough to decide who to choose,” said awards committee member Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe. “Some of their stories moved the committee to tears.”

The call for nominations goes out every four years; in 2018 over 25 people were nominated.

In one instance, the competition was too tight, so a youth award was given to a brother-sister pair, Franny Ladell-Yakelashek and and Rupert Yakelashek, for their dedication to environmental rights and protection, and to Diya Courty-Stephens for initiating “Neighbourhood Bites,” which distributes food that would have otherwise gone to waste.

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Mark Ashfield will be recognized in the education category for founding Superheroes of Victoria, which focuses on helping sick kids and establishing a positive body image, and for educating the public on “real life superheroes” like doctors, nurses, specialists and teachers.

“It’s really great, because they get superhero costumes of all sizes so that you don’t have to be really skinny to be Wonder Woman,” Thornton-Joe said. “Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s good for kids to know that.”

Former Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe will be honoured for his volunteer work with the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, Spirit 150 Victoria Committee, Victoria Conservatory of Music, Jeneece Place and others, and for playing an important role to create lasting relationships between community organizations and the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.

Other recipients are: Marika Albert, Fiona Bramble, Denis Donnelly, Siobhan Robinsong, Terry Farmer, Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, Frances Litman, Rob Reid and Patti Stockton.

City of Victoria