A man who has been in the city's brightest spotlights on stage is also someone who hides from it when it comes to his charitable deeds.
But people nonetheless noticed the many community contributions of Andy Beesley, and Friday night he was named Prince George's 2013 Citizen of the Year.
"Since arriving in Prince George in 1980, Andy's community involvement has been extensive," said Murry Krause, chair of the nominating committee and a past recipient of the Citizen of the Year honour. "He has worked with the Prince George Crisis Intervention Centre, including five years as a volunteer crisis counsellor, and he helped create the Prince George Teen Crisis Line."
For the past six years, Beesley has been the manager of the Cariboo Cougars Major Midget Hockey Team, plus he managed several B.C. Hockey "Best Ever" teams. Also in the hockey realm he was volunteer chair of the Under-16 BC Provincial Hockey Championship in Prince George. He has trained hundreds of coaches and key volunteers in the Speak Out Program aimed at prevention of child abuse and bullying.
"Andy played an instrumental role in the formation of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program in Prince George - a model now used across the country," said Krause. "Andy volunteered to sit on tribunals to mediate disputes between social assistance recipients and social service staff, and has trained more than 100 others to do the same work."
Beesley has also availed himself to the municipality, sitting on advisory committees pertaining to social grants and ethics in the hospital setting. He was a member of the successful bid team that won the 2015 Canada Winter Games hosting duties for Prince George.
This past year, Beesley was also one of the most recognizable people in the arts, performing the lead role of Jean Valjean in the acclaimed Judy Russell staging of Les Miserables, having also held the lead role in Jesus Christ Superstar and a major supporting role in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum.
"His diverse experience has also made Andy a popular workshop trainer and coach," said Krause. "He is a mentor, a guide, and an inspiration to many in Prince George."
The other nominees in this year's Citizen of the Year field were:
- Selen Alpay, the owner/operator of the Prince George Canadian Tire and active supporter of various local causes.
- Betty-June Gair, for her work with many civic beautification projects and the Prince George Golf and Curling Club.
- Alison Hagreen, the executive director of the Prince George Brain Injured Group.
- David Halikowski, who was honoured earlier this year by the City of Prince George for outstanding community service.
They were all honoured at a gala dinner Friday night at the Coast Inn of the North, hosted by the Prince George Community Foundation.