RMRS Founder Candace Gordon named 2012 Citizen of the Year

“Candace Gordon is the embodiment of the committed volunteer who works tirelessly on projects and causes that are close to her heart and changes a location from a town to a community.”


2012 Citizen of the Year Candace Gordon & Fred Armstrong at MR Community Foundation Awards - April 12, 2012
Candace with 2011 Citizen of the Year Fred Armstrong

On April 12, 2012, we were thrilled as RMRS Founding Member Candace Gordon was announced as Maple Ridge Community Foundation’s 2012 Citizen of the Year. Candace began working with Ridge Meadows Recycling as a truck driver and has been on our Board of Directors for the majority of the past 40 years, stepping off only for the 12 years she spent as a member of Maple Ridge Council. She was instrumental in developing programs to integrate people with developmental disabilities into our work site, leading to what is now known as our Supported Work program.

Her causes have been many – social inclusion & poverty issues, environmental conservation & recycling, arts advocacy & local festivals to name a few – but her projects and the organizations that have benefitted from her involvement are too numerous to count.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Candace.  In making her contributions Candace has made many friends of all ages and from every walk of life.  She brings wisdom and good cheer to each organization.  We are so fortunate to have Candace as a Maple Ridge citizen.” -Linda King

Candace’s 2012 Citizen of the Year Acceptance Speech:

“I wish first to thank the Maple Ridge Community Foundation for the honour of choosing me to be Citizen of the Year. I want to acknowledge my fellow nominees in whose august company I find myself, all of whom are distinguished and equally deserving of this honour.

Candace Gordon & Julie Koehn at Opening of RMRS Cardboard Building at Cottonwood Landfill 1981
Candace and Julie Koehn at Opening Ceremony in 1981

I am filled with gratitude to Julie Koehn, my nominator, known to us as “Mother Recycling,” whom I have known and volunteered with since first moving to Maple Ridge. Julie, I can now forgive you for making me play Garbage Gus in the recycling puppet plays.

Thank you to the Recycling Society, celebrating 40 years of leading the way as a community-based, not-for-profit business and the largest worksite in the province of persons with developmental disabilities. Also thanks to Kim Day, the current Executive Director, and to Kelli Speirs, our long-serving, retired Executive Director.

Thank you to Leanne Koehn, who organized the many support letters. Leanne first came to the recycling depot in a cardboard box where she slept while her parents loaded newspaper into a trailer. She became our first bursary winner in Environmental Studies and last year we welcomed her back as Communications Manager where she has efficiently herded us older folks into the 21st Century and the realm of social media.

Two other organizations have celebrated 40 years of service to the community, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Arts Council and the Family Education and Support Centre. Thank you to Vicki McLeod and Faye Luxemburg-Hyam for your kind words.

2012 Citizen of the Year Candace Gordon & Mayor Ernie Daykin at MR Community Foundation Awards - April 12, 2012
Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin congratulates Candace on being named 2012's Citizen of the Year

The Haney Farmer’s Market worked with the Recycling Society to put forward my nomination. Thank you to Eileen and Paul Dwillies and to the entire board who insisted on each signing my letter of support.

To Alouette Home Start Society, Social Planning, Maple Ridge Agricultural Advisory Committee and Mike Murray’s remembering of my early years volunteering for the Parks and Recreation Commission and my work for the BCRPA, thank you so much.

To the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Katzie Community Network, the largest community planning table in the Lower Mainland, thank you for your support.

And last but certainly not least, the dear friends that wrote such kind words supporting my nomination.

Volunteering weaves the social fabric of our town, builds community capacity and strengthens our resiliency.

Volunteering provides us with an opportunity for leadership roles, offers us a place to champion our passions and it builds solid networks of warm friendships.

It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes strong networks and volunteers to build a vibrant and resilient community. If you want to be happy, do not aim for happiness. Be of service to others and it will come to you.

This honour is a testament to all of you that I have had the privilege of volunteering with and to all of you here tonight who have strived to make a difference and help shape Marvellous Maple Ridge.”