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Seven new members to the Order of Abbotsford

The Order of Abbotsford was given to seven outstanding citizens on Monday night. This year
The Order of Abbotsford was given to seven outstanding citizens on Monday night. This year's recipients are (front row, left to right) Karen Matty, Fred Strumpski, George Ferguson, Barbara Mowat (back row left to right) Barry Stewart, Carson Noftle and Les Stagg.
— image credit: Kevin Mills photo

Seven outstanding citizens were honoured on Monday night during the annual Order of Abbotsford ceremony.

An often emotional Mayor George Peary presided over the ceremony.

Peary spoke of the amalgamation of Abbotsford and Matsqui and how the first recipient, former Mayor George Ferguson, played a huge role in the creation of the city.

“He recognized the value of working together,” said Peary. "George Ferguson is an icon.”

Ferguson began his political career in 1969 as an alderman for the District of Sumas. After only one term he successfully ran for mayor. In 1972, the Village of Abbotsford and the District of Sumas amalgamated, with Ferguson as its mayor. He held the position until 1995 when Abbotsford and Matsqui joined together. At that time, Ferguson was again elected mayor and served until 2002.

Ferguson returned as mayor in 2005 and retired in 2008.

Other recipients of the Order of Abbotsford were:

  • Karen Matty – She has been involved in construction, property management and development for 38 years. Matty has served on the Abbotsford Economic Development Commission, the Abbotsford Airport Authority and the Abbotsford Affordable Housing Committee.
  • Barbara Mowat – The president and owner of Impact communications, Mowat devotes her time on a number of committees including UBC Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Research Centre; Board of Director for the Canadian Council for Small Business; and member of the National Advisory Council for Women in Business for the Royal Bank. Her achievements have been acknowledged with the 2010 Governor General’s Award.
  • Carson Noftle – The founder of Focus Architecture, Noftle was the first chair of the City Industry Development Advisory Committee. He has donated his time to many worthy causes, including helping the Church of Latter Day Saints establish its new tabernacle in West Abbotsford.
  • Les Stagg – A full-time faculty member at the University of the Fraser Valley, Stagg has worked with a variety of children with special needs. He has been a researcher for a pilot program providing sexual abuse prevention training to children with special needs.
  • Barry Stewart – A coach, referee and administrator for 40 years. His resume includes volleyball, track and field, rugby, flag football and basketball. He has been running basketball camps for more than 20 years. Soon to be inducted into the local sports hall of fame, Stewart is known for his belief that everyone should be allowed to play, no matter what their level of expertise.
  • Fred Strumpski –  A local business owner, Strumpski has a long history of community and volunteer service. He was a driving force behind the expansion of the independent living facilities at Menno Home. He has personally donated more than $2 million to the Columbia Bible College and has helped many charities and community organizations.
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