Neil Evans has something most Canadian residents can only dream of holding, in fact, he has two!
In 2012, Neil was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award for his commitment to community in his hometown of Fort St. John. And this past August he was honoured yet again with the Queens Platinum Jubilee, marking his dedication to health care in the North Peace as well as the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
Celebrating local contributions in the Northeast
Each year representatives from the Federal and Provincial Governments are invited to nominate citizens considered deserving of recognition for their significant contributions to service and fellow citizens.
When Neil received an email notifying him of his second honouring, he was a bit taken aback.
“It was quite a shock. I was fairly quiet the past ten years in terms of community. But then you take a step back and you reflect on everything that you were involved in. It's like…Wow!”
In total, Neil has two certificates, a pendant, and a medal. Inscribed on the medal is a crowned effigy of the Queen and the words “VIVAT REGINA” (long live the Queen) laid in a field of diamonds. While the pendant and certificates bare the signature of the Governor General, the BC coat of arms, and the signature of the member of parliament who nominated Neil; Prince George - Northern Rockies MP - Bob Zimmer.
All four are on display in his office at the Fort St. John hospital.
“I would keep it at home, but with 4 boys, we've got animals, you name it. They are safer here”
Giving back to the community
Evans believes he was honoured for his work both at work and in the community.
“I think a big piece of it was from my recruitment strategies and efforts over the past few years. I got very creative there and got quite lucky with recruiting a lot of RNs (Registered Nurses) to Fort St. John.”
It wasn't just his work with recruitment that landed him the medals. Neil was the medical director for the 2020 BC Winter Games; he is involved in many community organizations, and he is the lead organizer of the annual Crystal Cup, a massive 3-day weekend-long pond hockey tournament played on Charlie Lake, just a few minutes North of Fort St. John.
It's a family affair
Within the Evans family, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Neil’s father, Larry Evans, a former fire chief and city councillor, was also the recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003.
Neil’s commitment to creating community and opportunity for people in the North Peace Region has put him in rarified air and sets the standard for how to develop meaningful relationships in the North.
Are you wondering how you can you win yourself a Diamond Jubilee award from the Governor General? Here are some words of advice from a two-time winner:
“Get involved with your community. Not only be a part of it but help create that community. There is nothing wrong with creating community and making [it] a great community for all others around you.
At some point I realized, none of the other [stuff] matters. It really doesn't. It's about what? What feels good for you. What feels good for the people around you, your friends, your family, and everyone. Not only [should you] assist with community, but once again create community. Be involved.”