The 2015 Order of Abbotsford recipients are Satwinder Kaur Bains, Trudy Beyak and George W. Peary, Mayor Henry Braun announced Monday.
The order recognizes individuals who have excelled in fields of endeavour benefitting Abbotsford residents.
Bains is a scholar, community advocate, ambassador for the Sikh faith and culture, business woman, mother, community leader, volunteer and philanthropist.
An associate professor of social, cultural, and media studies at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) and a PhD candidate in the faculty of education at Simon Fraser University, Bains was one of the instigators behind the successful fundraising of $2.5 million for the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at UFV, and subsequently became its first director.
She was instrumental in establishing the Sikh Historic Project at the Western Hemisphere’s oldest Gurdwara, the Gur Sikh Temple, and helping to secure its designation as a National Historic Site of Canada. Bains has also worked extensively in the areas of immigrant women, youth and families, and immigrant settlement integration.
Beyak was a writer of the Abbotsford News from 1989 to 2009. Her journalism tackled, with international award-winning recognition, local issues related to social, economic and environmental matters. She covered many hard-hitting news stories, including the 2004 avian flu outbreak and Sumas Energy 2’s quest to build a power plant a quarter-mile from the Canadian border near Abbotsford.
She has received 30 international, national and provincial first-place journalism awards and excellent achievement awards for investigative stories and features. That includes the Surrey International Writers’ Association prestigious special achievement award for making a significant contribution to the public good as a writer who sets the highest standards of excellence, integrity and public service.
Since his arrival in Abbotsford, Peary’s impact on the community at-large has been substantial. He served on municipal council for 18 years – first for the District of Matsqui and later for the new City of Abbotsford – followed by a three-year term as school trustee for Abbotsford School District 34, before becoming mayor of Abbotsford from 2008 to 2011. Prior to entering local politics, he also served a six-year term on the Matsqui Police Board.
During the past three years, he and his wife Sylvia have spent intervals in India, where Peary has served as a university instructor through the UFV’s campus in Chandigarh. He has also served as a business instructor at UFV and as a teacher with Newcastle College (the federal prison education provider). He is the current principal of Dasmesh Punjabi School.
The 2015 Order of Abbotsford ceremony will be held July 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the opening ceremony of the Canada Day celebration at Rotary Stadium. Following the ceremony, the Citizen of the Year will be awarded.