Surrey recovery-house operator Cole Izsak – who fought two years ago to keep five of his sites from being shut down – received his Medal of Good Citizenship this week.
The medal “celebrates British Columbians who have acted in a particularly generous, kind or selfless manner for the common good without expectation of reward,” and Izsak was among 14 people from 10 B.C. communities selected to receive it.
“In 2021, the medal will recognize those who have gone above and beyond in their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic,” online information adds.
Izsak and Surrey’s Fawzan Hussain were announced as recipients in March, with a virtual ceremony promised in the months ahead.
Wednesday (June 23), Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux congratulated Izsak on Twitter for receiving the medal, thanking the South Surrey resident “for your work in our community.”
— Stephanie Cadieux (@Stephanie4BC) June 23, 2021
Izsak is owner/operator of Back on Track Recovery homes – an initiative that grew through his own journey of recovery. After being deported from the U.S. to Vancouver in 2004, Izsak struggled with addiction and homelessness for several years until he finally sought rehabilitation in 2011. He borrowed $5,000 from family to rent a home, and began recruiting other recovering addicts to live with him as he pursued a better life through abstinence.
According to a biography, “hundreds of young men have turned their lives around because of Cole’s guidance and inspiration.”
“Cole has risen from the depths of despair to a place where he can be an inspiration to others who might wish to take his extended hand of friendship toward a better life through recovery.”
Eighteen-year-old Hussain, from Surrey’s Fraser Heights neighbourhood, 3D-printed and delivered 1,545 personal protective equipment devices – including visors, goggles and face-mask holders – to more than 30 organizations across B.C. over the course of the pandemic.
Other recipients were Victoria’s Andrew Beckerman and Robert McMinn; Cranbrook’s Irene Bischler; Maple Ridge resident Kristi Blakeway; Vancouver’s Zeeshan Hayat, Stephanie Quon, George Reifel and Cara Sinclair; Rolla resident Donna Kane; Nanaimo’s Imogene Lim; Richmond’s Farouq Manji; and New Westminster’s Gale Stewart.
Nominations for 2022 awards must be submitted by Sept. 19.