The City of Burnaby is proud to recognize seven Local Heroes for their outstanding contributions to our community.
For a remarkable 25 years, the Local Heroes Award has celebrated members of our community who have committed to enriching Burnaby through volunteerism. The efforts of this year’s seven extraordinary winners have contributed to community well-being by devoting countless hours to enhancing the health, safety and overall quality of life for Burnaby citizens.
Join us in celebrating Burnaby’s 2023 Local Heroes:
- Wendy Beerling
- Lori Geosits
- Navjit Moore
- Joanne Morgan
- Tom Su
- Beverly Thacker
- Helen Wu
City Council acknowledged these individuals at their June 5 meeting with certificates of recognition. To date, the City has recognized 282 Local Heroes.
Every year, Burnaby citizens nominate candidates for the Local Heroes Award. Any City resident who has been an active volunteer in Burnaby for at least five years in a minimum of two activities is eligible.
Learn more about this year’s Local Heroes below.
Biographies of this year’s Local Heroes Award winners
Keeping seniors safe is a priority for retired nurse Wendy Beerling, who has volunteered at Citizen Support Services for the past nine years wearing many hats. This past summer, Wendy spent hundreds of hours offering wellness check-in calls to seniors during the City’s six instances of Extreme Heat Response activations. She ensured that seniors were educated on how to prevent heat stroke and provided resources for senior safety including information about the City’s cooling centres. With the Grocery Shop by Phone program through Citizen Support Services, Wendy volunteers twice a week to shop for housebound seniors’ grocery orders. She also donates her time as a host at the Seniors Social Lunch program and Gadabouts Bus Outings, plus volunteers as a driver for both of these programs.
For more than ten years, Lori Geosits has been an active member of the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society, restoring and protecting the Byrne Creek watershed and providing education tours. Since 2021, she has volunteered with the Burnaby RCMP Block Watch Program as well as Adopt a Block litter pick up. Lori actively engages in numerous City events and sets an inspiring example by proactively working towards enhancing community safety, fostering a healthy environment, and creating a sense of belonging among all residents.
Since 2012, Navjit Moore has been a weekly volunteer at Fair Haven, a seniors housing community. She supports seniors by engaging them in social activities like chess and reading. As an ambassador, she welcomed people at the main entrance of Burnaby General Hospital from 2013, then transitioned to the role of Team Lead in 2016 after witnessing the need for better support and coordination of volunteers. Navjit has successfully trained hundreds of volunteers and oversees and supports 20 volunteers. As a member of the urgent volunteer pool, she assists in screening patients and visitors. In addition to these volunteer commitments, Navjit has been involved with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada since 2015 and has helped raise over $100,000 for the annual Gutsy Walk events over the past 8 years.
For the past 5 years, Joanne Morgan has volunteered for Citizen Support Services, a City of Burnaby led initiative that offers a variety of services and programs to seniors. In addition to calling housebound seniors each week to take their grocery orders, Joanne also volunteers as a driver for the Lunch Program and Gadabout Bus Outings. Joanne is also an active volunteer at Confederation Seniors Centre where she volunteers at the coffee bar and serves as a member of the Board. Joanne is a local hero dedicating herself to serving the citizens of Burnaby daily.
Tom Su is a dedicated community volunteer, lending his time and passion to various organization and initiatives throughout Burnaby. He has been volunteering with the Burnaby Intercultural Planning Table since 2016, supporting the community through engagement activities, community forums, and educational opportunities as a member of their Immigrant Advisory Council. He is also a member of Burnaby Together-Coalition Against Racism and Hate, helping reach out to community members, translating educational materials on fraud and scams for newcomers, and leading anti-racism workshops and focus groups.
Tom also volunteers with organizations like World in Burnaby, Burnaby Pride and Burnaby Local Immigration Partnership, where he works to empower immigrants, refugees and long-term residents. He is also involved with Burnaby Health Services, assisting with volunteer programs at Burnaby Hospital and Fellburn Care Centre.
His compassion extends to his musical talent as a violinist, which he shares by playing for patients in Palliative Care, Dementia Care, and Oncology Support Groups. Through his extensive volunteer work Tom Su makes a positive impact in the community and brings people together.
Beverly Thacker has been a volunteer with South Burnaby Metro Club for 32 years acting as the Social Event Coordinator, Club Secretary and Club President throughout her tenure. Bev has volunteered with many organizations in Burnaby since 1985 as well as organizing activities for the community. In addition to volunteering at Jubilee United Church, Beverly is a regular volunteer at Bonsor 55+ Centre, where she started a Mahjong game group that has continued to meet every Friday afternoon for the past five years.
Since settling in Burnaby more than 20 years ago, Helen Wu has shared her exceptional table tennis skills with the community by providing non-profit table tennis training. Helen, was a three-time Chinese Table Tennis National Champion in her professional table tennis career before immigrating to Canada in 1989. Since 1994, Coach Helen has provided free training to students at Burnaby North Secondary and Moscrop Secondary School to help them prepare for the annual British Columbia Secondary Table Tennis Championships and led both schools to win multiple competitions. In addition, Helen has provided free training to several Burnaby elementary schools. By sharing her gift, Helen has cultivated countless table tennis enthusiasts in the Burnaby community.