Thursday July 24, 2014


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Rotarian honoured for aid efforts

Shawn Gill Photo

MP Bob Zimmer (right) presented long time Fort St. John resident and Rotary Club member Bruce Christensen, pictured with his wife Cheryl, with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal to honour his years of outstanding service to the community.

Councillor Bruce Christensen was honoured with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee award to honour his years of service to the community and efforts to eradicate polio worldwide.

Surrounded by loved ones, including Cheryl, his wife of 39 years, his children and grandchildren, Christensen humbly accepted the award from MP Bob Zimmer, acknowledging the charitable efforts of the rotary members in attendance and the local business community.

"You don't do what you do to receive this, but it's an honour," said Christensen.

The retired businessman has resided in Fort St. John for 24 years and has served as a city councillor since 2006. In addition to his extensive record of political and charitable service in the area, Christensen has also been a minor hockey and baseball coach.

In recent years, Christensen has focused his efforts on the worldwide eradication of polio.

Polio is a disease that leads to muscle weakness, loss of control and paralysis.

Since 2006 Rotary International has received over $350 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to combat polio. Rotary's fundraising efforts have resulted in $228 million in additional funding for polio eradication.

Though polio infection was eradicated in western world by the early 1960s, it was still endemic to 125 countries in 1985. Today it only affects three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, with India the most recent country to become free of polio.

"If I can live to see the end of polio that will be my happiest day," said Christensen after the ceremony.

Recently, Christensen, a regional coordinator for End Polio Now, was one of fifty people in the world who attended a conference held in Chicago to create a strategy to defeat polio. Their findings were recently presented to the United Nations General Assembly.

Celebrating six decades of rule, the Diamond Jubilee award honours Queen Elizabeth II's reign. It will be given to 60,000 Canadians who have made a significant impact on their local community or region.



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