City of Duncan honours its bright lights

Some of the greatest contributors in their respective fields were recognized on Monday night as the City of Duncan handed out its awards.

Some of the Cowichan Valley’s greatest contributors in their respective fields were recognized on Monday night as the City of Duncan handed out its annual awards.

The City’s highest accolade, the Scroll of Honour, was presented to Norm Jackson, the head pro at the Cowichan Golf & Country Club and a tireless volunteer for innumerable causes and charities.

Also honoured were Betty Locke, who received the Perpetual Arts Trophy, Gina Jung, who received the Perpetual Trophy for Excellence and Sportsmanship, and Cowichan Green Community, who received the combined Commercial and Residential Awards of Excellence.

“The Cowichan region is truly blessed to have citizens such as Norm Jackson, whose service to others is more than just a volunteer activity — it’s a way of life,” Mayor Phil Kent said as he presented the Scroll of Honour. “Stormin’ Norman. as he is fondly known, is one of the most recognizable people in the Cowichan Valley. His outgoing personality, generous nature and tireless commitment to various charitable community events makes him a well-deserving recipient of this award.”

The hundreds of charities and events to which Jackson has given his time over the years — often as an MC, but also in other roles — include the Hospital Foundation Dinner, Golfers Against Cancer, Rotary tournaments, Tour de Rock, Ronald McDonald House, and KidSport Cowichan. The day before receiving the Scroll of Honour, Jackson was serving as the MC at the United Way’s Run for the Claus.

“Norm’s smile is contagious,” Kent continued. “He truly gives himself to others, and his sense of humour and kindness are what make him extra special.”

Jackson’s good friend, Dr. Peter Leckie, noted that, “Wherever you go, everybody knows Norm,” and said he has “the mind of an eight-year-old, the body of a 35-year-old, and his driver’s licence says he’s 65.”

Tricked into attending the ceremony on Monday, Jackson was, surprisingly, at a loss for words upon receiving the award.

“To be honoured in our own community is sort of the ultimate compliment,” he said. “The caring and giving that we see from all the people in this community is so special.”

Locke, who was on vacation and unable to attend Monday’s meeting in person, watched on live streaming video from a distance as Coun. Sharon Jackson presented her with the Arts Trophy.

Since she and her husband Duncan retired to the Cowichan Valley 20 years ago, Locke became a founding member of the Warmland Calligraphers, and has watched that group grow from 12 to more than 70 members. She has spent many hours volunteering as a teacher at Elder College.

“Seeing her students grow and become proficient in their lettering and in related studies has been extremely rewarding,” Coun. Jackson said.

“Her own work reflects her love of colour and an interest in the quality of line.”

Jung, who was born and raised in Duncan, grew up playing basketball, volleyball and field hockey, and went on to coach those sports at several local schools. She also helped organize the 1991 BC Winter Games and 2008 North American Indigenous Games.

Since her son Mathieu, 17, started playing sports, Jung has been heavily involved with his lacrosse and hockey teams as a coach, manager and executive.

“The lacrosse scene in the Cowichan Valley would look very different, or might not exist at all, without Gina Jung,” Coun. Roger Bruce said.

“Gina’s passion to see kids grow in sport is overwhelming,” Bruce added. “She has hosted numerous tournaments, championships, playdowns and officiated in several different sports. It is her love of sports and the kids that make her step up and volunteer for positions that are in need.”

“I’m humbled and honoured,” Jung said. “I was born and raised here, and my parents had a business here. Like Norm said, it’s so nice when your community recognizes you.”

Cowichan Green Community was recognized for its repurposing of the former Phoenix Motor Inn located on Duncan Street as a combination commercial and residential operation, which houses its own storefront and offices along with a cycle shop, yoga studio and 20 affordable rental housing units.

CGC purchased the former motel and bar in 2013 and completed work on it in 2014. It had already received the 2014 Real Estate Foundation of BC’s Land Award in the Non-Profit category before the city honoured it.

“It means a lot when it comes from close to home,” said CGC executive director Judy Stafford. “And from the people that really saw us go through all the sweat and tears.”