Cranbrooks Neil Cook has been presented with a Medal of Good Citizenship. Government of B.C. photo.

Cranbrooks Neil Cook has been presented with a Medal of Good Citizenship. Government of B.C. photo.

Neil Cook awarded Medal of Good Citizenship by Province

Neil Cook, a Cranbrook resident for the past 26 years, has been honoured with a Medal of Good Citizenship from the Government of British Columbia.

“I was actually quite surprised,” Cook said in an interview with the Townsman. “I hadn’t been warned at all ahead of time that the application had gone in, so when the lady phoned me from Victoria I was quite surprised, but it’s very nice.”

Cook has dedicated a huge portion of his life to the people of Cranbrook, volunteering countless hours of his time and helping to build and support numerous projects and organizations.

He explained that years ago when he was between different work experiences he volunteered with the Crisis Line.

“You got to really see where the gaps were when people phoned in crisis,” Cook said. “Whether they just needed gas money or a place to sleep with kids at night travelling. It was the full spectrum of concerns, so you got to find out what was needed and that’s what got me going on the Community Foundation and then working quite a while on the homeless shelter.”

Cook played a crucial role in founding the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation, now known as the Community Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies (CFKR) back in 2003. The Foundation accepts donations and invests them permanently allowing the money to accumulate interest. That interest then funds grants to non-profits who aim to serve their communities, which now go all the way down to Elkford, something Cook says is incredible to see.

Today the CFKR holds around $2.5 million across 37 permanently-invested endowment funds and supports many community services and organizations.

He served as president and then director for the CFKR for over 17 years, during which time he was a big component of their growth and success. While that’s an accomplishment he’s proud of, Cook said some of the things that stick out in his mind from his 26 years of community service are “a lot of the little benefits.”

“I got to play Santa Claus for a lot of foster kids and that sort of thing — a lot of annual events that I look forward to year round, the Children’s Festival and stuff like that,” he said. “It was more spread out, there were some major things, but I just enjoyed working with kids and stuff a lot too.”

Cook and his wife Marilynne have shared their home with 24 foster children over the years. He’s also spent 22 years volunteering with the Cranbrook Community Christmas dinner as a fundraiser and chef, as well as being a member of the Church Committee at Christ Church Anglican for the past decade.

It’s only fitting then, given his various Christmas-based community service, that when the out-of-the-blue call from Victoria came in, Cook was busy stuffing Christmas presents and getting ready for Christmas.

“The timing was really nice,” he said. “I was very humbled by it.”

Cook has also served for seven years as the volunteer Chair of the East Kootenay Homeless Coalition. A big part of his vision with this work is to create a 24/7 homeless shelter in Cranbrook, a pursuit which is still ongoing.

He’s also been a member of the Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary, the Cranbrook Rotary and the Kinsmen.

“Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the Good Citizenship Medal,” said Premier John Horgan in a press release. “Your outstanding contributions to the well-being of your communities inspire us all. The generous gifts of your time and support make a difference in people’s lives and help build a stronger province for everyone.”

Right now, Cook has been taking a little time off from the CFKR but plans to get back into it in the spring, working on promotion and speaking at different events around town in order to help continue to foster its growth. He said he also plans to do some more volunteer work, perhaps at the SPCA.

“I guess what I would say to folks in Cranbrook is if you have time just volunteer with one activity a year,” he said. “If you had 20,000 people volunteer one activity in a year you’d have an incredible force to deal with when it comes to issues needed in this town.”



paul.rodgers@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Tri-Kon will be delivering concrete barriers on Friday afternoon for a patio space that will be shared between Soulfood Farm to Table and Sakura.Trevor Crawley photo.
Outdoor patios in the works for downtown core

Efforts already underway to set up outdoor patios on Baker St. from four local business

The BC Wildfire Service will be conducting an ecosystem restoration burn near the old Kimberley airport next week. BC Wildfire Service file.
Ecosystem restoration burn planned for old Kimberley airport area next week

Burn could begin as early as Monday, April 12, 2021

From wall hangings to plant hangers, keychains and shelves, Radiant Knots creates a variety of pieces to suit for any taste and style.
Cranbrook Arts is Looking Radiant

Cranbrook Arts Featured Artist for the month of April is Radiant Knots.… Continue reading

The Peach is adhering to the mandatory mask protocols put in place by the Provincial Health Officer on Nov. 19. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Interior Health doesn’t echo B.C.’s daily COVID record

80 new cases reported Thursday, April 8, compared to 91 the day prior

The new 6,300 square foot Cranbrook Food Bank facility is located at 1624 Industrial Rd 2 and is open to the public Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
New Cranbrook Food Bank officially open to the public

The new facility is located at 1624 Industrial Rd. 2 and open Monday, Wednesday, Friday

A large illuminated heart was installed on the roof of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital May 1, 2020. (VJH Foundation photo)
Three deaths linked to COVID-19 outbreak in Vernon hospital

Interior Health reports two additional deaths at VJH

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read