News Flash

City News

Posted on: December 14, 2021

Coquitlam Honours Sandy Burpee with Freedom of the City

Freedom of the City medal

COQUITLAM, B.C., Dec. 14, 2021 – Tireless community volunteer Sandy Burpee will be named Coquitlam’s 12th Freedom of the City recipient in early 2022.

Coquitlam reserves its highest honour for those who serve the city with distinction. Burpee has directly or indirectly improved the lives of thousands of people in Coquitlam, the Tri-Cities and beyond over the years with his hands-on volunteer work and leadership in a wide variety of areas, including homelessness, poverty, violence prevention, restorative justice and search and rescue.

Making a Difference in Many Lives

A retired BC Hydro engineer, Burpee’s exemplary service to the community has included:

  • Serving as founding chair of the Tri-Cities Housing Coalition, chairing the Tri-Cities Homelessness Task Group for 12 years, and serving as interim chair of the Metro Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness;
  • Advocating for and being instrumental in the creation of local temporary and cold weather shelters and a permanent shelter on Gordon Avenue;
  • Serving as volunteer coordinator for SHARE’s food bank for a decade, including staffing and managing the depot and developing operating procedures;
  • Volunteering with Coquitlam Search and Rescue for over 11 years, including field deployment, executive roles and fundraising;
  • Chairing a committee that developed a youth restorative justice program and served as the Founding Chair of the resulting Fraser-Burrard Community Justice Society (now Communities Embracing Restorative Action); and 
  • Founding a local Together Against Violence committee and chairing it from 1994 to 1998.

Burpee worked alongside his wife, Cathy Burpee, on many of his homelessness and anti-violence initiatives. The City recognition will add to numerous other accolades he has received for his efforts and leadership, including: 

  • The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Community Spirit Award (2018)
  • An Honorary Fellow Award from Douglas College (2018) along with his wife Cathy 
  • The B.C. Medal of Good Citizenship (2017)
  • The Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers (2015)
  • The B.C. Achievement Foundation’s Community Award (2015)
  • The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) 
  • Life membership to Coquitlam Search and Rescue and the Rollie Award for Excellence (2015) 
  • Recognizing an Outstanding Citizen

Details about the City’s ceremony to honour Burpee will be made public early in the new year. 

Freedom of the City recipients are considered to have served the City with distinction for having made long-term contributions to the community, made a significant improvement in civic life and culture and been recognized by their peers and others outside of Coquitlam. 

Burpee will join the ranks of past Freedom of the City recipients Don Cunnings, Fern Bouvier, Reverend John Davies, Dorothy Fleming, Larry Fleming, Rene Gamache, Dr. J. Crosby Johnston, Jean Lambert, Bob McNary, Eunice Parker and Leonore Peyton.

To learn more about the Freedom of the City award and past recipients, visit www.coquitlam.ca/freedom.

Media contact
Jay Gilbert
Director Intergovernmental Relations & Legislative Services
City of Coquitlam
clerks@coquitlam.ca
604-927-3010

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