An appreciative and emotional Don Basserman became the latest Prince George resident to be conferred with the Freedom of the City honour.
“I’m so proud of this community, especially over the past few weeks for the support and leadership that you showed the Canada Winter Games,” he said to about 700 people gathered for the annual civic dinner, celebrating Prince George’s 100th birthday.
Bassermann is known as one of the biggest community boosters in the city, and a mainstay in leadership positions throughout his career. He is a past board member of Tourism Prince George, the 2015 Canada Winter Games Bid Committee, and the Two Rivers Gallery.
Basserman was a city councillor, director at the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, a senior advisor and former chair of the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition, and a Prince George educator and school administrator. Currently, he is a board member of the Barkerville Heritage Trust, and of the Northern Agricultural Initiative Advisory Committee.
Freedom of the City is a rare honour. Only 12 other individuals and one group have received the honour prior to Basserman: Cliff Dezell, Shirley Gratton, Anne Martin, Colin Kinsley, John Backhouse, Harold Moffatt, Garvin Dezell, Carrie Jane Gray, Pastor Lance Morgan, Ted Williams, Chief Justice J.O. Wilson, and Peter Wilson. The Rocky Mountain Rangers Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corp. also received the award.
Mayor Lyn Hall announced at the dinner a logo to be used with city volunteer-related functions saying, “The Volunteer City – It’s in our Nature.”
Hall also thanked everyone who volunteered for the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
“For the past 100 years, volunteers have built this community,” said Hall. “They continue to rise up to give their talents, skills, energy and knowledge to make this city a great place to live,” Hall said.
Honoured at the dinner for their volunteer contributions were:
Outstanding Volunteer Award of Merit: Dan Rogers and Robin Draper.
Recreation and Culture Award of Merit: Linda Self, Andrea Fraser, Lisa Redpath, Betty Burbee.
Community Service Award: Pat Culham, John Nieson, Kristi Francis, Bart Vanderlinde.
Youth of the Year: Emily O’Reilly.
Honourable Mentions: Erica Haugland, Yalda Safaei.
The City of Prince George also awarded McInnis Lighting with the Heritage Places Award. The annual distinction is the City’s way of recognizing places of significance in the city’s history.