Medal of Good Citizenship for Chilliwack advocate

John Simpson received a provincial honour on May 31, a Medal of Good Citizenship for his support of those with brain injuries.

MLA Throness presents Chilliwack's John Simpson with a Medal of Good Citizenship on May 31.

MLA Throness presents Chilliwack's John Simpson with a Medal of Good Citizenship on May 31.

Well-known Chilliwack citizen John Simpson received a commendable recognition on May 31.

On behalf of Premier Christy Clark, MLA Laure Throness presented Simpson with the province’s newest honour, a Medal of Good Citizenship.

Launched in July 2015, the prestigious Medals of Good Citizenship recognize select individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward.

The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life. Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round. More than 220 nominations were reviewed this year.

Simpson was honoured with the medal for his pioneering services that he offered free to people with acquired brain injuries (ABI). For more than three decades, Simpson devoted thousands of hours of service and emerged as an influential advocate in the field, resulting in the formation of local and provincial supportive organizations.

“Sometimes, words like ‘dedicated’ and ‘generous’ don’t go far enough,” Premier Clark said. “Over four decades, John Simpson has provided some 16,000 hours of support to victims of brain injury and their families.” Many of the people he helped had no funding and no one else to help them.

“And that’s in addition to his work educating professionals and the community about the cause,” she added.

He established the first annual brain injury conference in 1982, which ran for 25 years. Simpson was also instrumental establishing what is now the B.C. Brain Injury Association.

In 1997, he founded the Fraser Valley Brain Injury Association and he is still active with the group that serves more than 150 clients each year in five cities. In 2014, under his leadership, the Brain Injury Alliance was formed, to better serve the estimated 22,000 British Columbians who have ABI.

“John Simpson has been a powerful voice for many people with brain injuries who otherwise would suffer without a champion,” MLA Throness said.

Through Simpson’s advocacy, the Province of B.C. contributed $3 million for services provided by community-based brain injury associations. The alliance also received $1 million endowment fund for education, employment and training for people with ABI.

Simpson said he was very surprised to learn that he would be receiving the Medal of Good Citizenship, and that those with acquired brain injuries deserve genuine and patient attention to their needs.