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Posted: August 3, 2020

Local to receive B.C.’s highest honour

Cranbrook resident Neil Cook is among 13 exceptional people to be appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the province’s highest form of recognition, Lt. Gov. Janet Austin, chancellor of the order, has announced today (August 3).

“As the representative of the Crown in British Columbia and chancellor of the Order of British Columbia, I am delighted to welcome 13 new members to the order,” Austin said. “They have helped us to grow as a province, taught us to care for our environment, enriched our lives with literature and art, helped us to address past injustices and inspired us to become a more caring and inclusive society. To recognize these remarkable people, who are changing our communities for the better in many ways, is an honour of great personal significance to me.”

This year, 160 British Columbians were nominated. The deadline for nominations was March 6. Since its inception, 460 British Columbians have been appointed to the Order of B.C. Members have been appointed from all regions of the province and in numbers generally proportionate to a region’s population.

“As we celebrate B.C. Day, I want to recognize the efforts, achievements and accomplishments of this year’s Order of British Columbia recipients,” said Premier John Horgan. “Congratulations on receiving this well-deserved honour. Your many contributions have enriched the lives of British Columbians and helped make our province an even better place.”

This year’s recipients are:

* Neil Cook, MGC, of Cranbrook;

* Shashi Assanand of Richmond;

* Ryan Beedie of West Vancouver;

* Michael Bublé of Burnaby;

* Shirley Chan of Vancouver;

* Paul George of Gibsons;

* Rusty Goepel of Vancouver;

* John Malcolm Horton of Delta;

* Mel Krajden, PhD, of Vancouver;

* Janet Nadine Mort, PhD, of Brentwood Bay;

* Tracy Porteous of Vancouver;

* Carole Taylor, OC, of Vancouver;

* Ruth Williams of Kamloops.

The following is the awards biography for Neil Cook.

Neil Cook has demonstrated selfless dedication to making his community a better place for all residents. He has made a positive, lifelong impact through the lives of the three children he and his wife, Marilynne, adopted, in addition to the 24 foster children they welcomed into their home and their hearts.

Cook has volunteered much of his time with local non-profits, in areas such as mental health (six years as a crisis line volunteer and six years on the local CMHA board), homelessness (seven years as the chair of the East Kootenay Homeless Coalition, working to build a 24/7 homeless shelter), and community services (seven years on the Cranbrook Family Centre Board, now Summit Community Services, and nine years on the Cranbrook Society for Community Living Board).

Cook had the vision, determination, and perseverance to lead the formation of the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation (now the Community Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies). Cook served as the founding president, and then a director, on the Community Foundation board for a total of 17 years. His work resulted in the establishment of an effective and efficient Community Foundation, which now holds almost $2.5 million in permanently invested funds and returns annual grants to eligible community groups, in perpetuity.

In all his volunteer work, Cook has been kind, inclusive and generous. Cook has been an active member of local service clubs as well, including Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary (three years), Cranbrook Rotary (two years), and Kinsmen (seven years). His other volunteer contributions in the community include 22 years of volunteering with the Cranbrook Community Christmas Dinner as a fundraiser and chef, as well as 10 years on the church committee at Christ Anglican Church.

Cook’s work life also included community service, such as his role as Anne Edwards’ Kootenay MLA constituency assistant from 1992 to 1996 as well as three years as the East Kootenay emergency services co-ordinator.

He also served for three years on the College of Pharmacists for the Province of B.C. and for two years on the City of Cranbrook Planning Council. In the midst of these many contributions to the community, Cook played a key role in supporting numerous community fundraisers and events, including the SPCA, Juvenile Diabetes Association, Kinsmen Mothers’ March, Canadian Cancer Society and the Cranbrook Children’s Festival.

For all the 26 years that Neil has lived in Cranbrook, he has chosen to volunteer his time with many organizations and 6 projects, all with the goal of helping people and improving our community.

Neil Cook was also presented B.C.’s Medal of Good Citizenship earlier this year.

Over the years, the B.C. government has worked to increase awareness of the province’s highest honour to ensure that outstanding people from all walks of life and from all parts of the province have an opportunity to be honoured. The province has received more than 5,900 public nominations for the Order of B.C. over the past 31 years.

Recipients of the Order of B.C. are selected by an independent advisory council. The 2020 advisory council consisted of:

The Order of B.C. investiture ceremony will be postponed for 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions and held for recipients and invited guests at Government House in Victoria in 2021.

Read the biographies of all recipients.

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