Latitude and longitude in giving

After living and working in Prince George for over twenty years, I can say with certainty that the people of Prince George care deeply about others and about their community. The evidence is in the friendliness one experiences in the day to day and in random acts of kindness. And we are a community that celebrates too. Three inspiring individuals were honored as the 2019 Citizens of the Year at the Oct. 11 Prince George Community Foundation Gala at the Coast Inn of the North: Chuck Chin, former city councillor Albert Koehler and Noreen Rustad.

The 2019 Citizens of the Year are all pioneers who blazed trails and will leave legacies that will live on to benefit future generations. Both Chin and Koehler are first-generation Canadians. How inspiring it is that our country and city is a platform where people can come from all over the world and make significant contributions.

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Noreen Rustad is one of the founders of the Prince George Community Foundation, a volunteer driven charitable organization that brings together donors to pool and build permanent endowment funds that support a wide range of community projects that support the arts, culture, health, recreation and sports. I have seen firsthand how these funds have had a positive impact at Studio 2880. Prince George is a generous town.

Chin devoted his talent as a photographer to share the very essence of the rugged and stunning landscape of our home and shared it so generously on the social media site, Hell Yeah Prince George. In a short time, he lifted the spirits of thousands with his incredible eye for beauty, tireless devotion to shooting sports events and capturing thousands of images that tell stories of life in Prince George.

Koehler, to put it simply, got involved. The list is long: Rotary, Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, Barkerville Heritage Trust, Omineca Beetle Action Coalition, The Prince George Chamber of Commerce and the Prince George Symphony Orchestra. I heard him say that he was simply doing what he loved to do to affect positive change. One of those positive changes was a significant role in establishing an engineering program at the University of Northern British Columbia, opening the door for new talent and ideas to come in and join our community.

Rustad epitomizes what it is to start a grass roots movement to get something done. Her leadership and commitment to volunteerism and supporting many organizations in Prince George will have a lasting impact. For over fifty decades, she has served on many boards including Brownies, Girl Guides, Meals on Wheels, Festival of the Arts, UNBC Board of Governors, and the Prince George Community Foundation - that in turn benefits many other organizations and individuals in our community.

Chin, Koehler and Rustad all made the decision in their residency here in Prince George to focus outward, away from self, and to give tirelessly for the betterment of us all. They've proven it; latitude is found not in the receiving, but in the giving.

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