Local resident and champion of inclusion Chris Morsund is being recognized today with a Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) Widening Our World (WOW) award for his exceptional contribution to creating meaningful employment for adults with developmental disabilities and raising public awareness of the contributions they can make to their communities.
Chris was nominated for a WOW award by Anita Clegg, parent and volunteer from CLBC’s North Region Community Council. Chris, one of four British Columbians receiving the award this year, is the co–owner of the popular Smithers restaurant Chatters Pizzeria and Bistro. For more than 15 years, Chris and his family have been committed to employing people with diverse abilities, making sure they are actively part of the team both in and outside the workplace.
Since 2009, CLBC has presented WOW awards to recognize individuals who are helping to build community inclusion for the people CLBC serves. The 2016 nomination process invited British Columbians to nominate someone they think is creating opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to lead full lives, have rich relationships, choices in how they live, and employment opportunities. CLBC received 40 nominations for its eighth annual awards process; winners were chosen by an evaluation committee of community members, CLBC staff, and individuals served by CLBC.
Three other WOW Awards have been presented in March to deserving recipients:
- Gibsons – Brian Smith, CEO and founder of Persephone Brewing Company for his grassroots efforts to build inclusion and create jobs for the people CLBC serves
- Sooke – Astrid Koenig for her tireless efforts to ensure self advocates have opportunities for employment, education and community connection
- Kamloops – Ronnie Bouvier for creating first time employment for young adults while raising public awareness of the contributions they can make to their communities
Nominations of inclusion champions were submitted throughout Community Living Month in October 2016. This year’s awards requested each submission include a photo reflecting the nominee’s inclusion efforts.
Seonag Macrae, CLBC CEO
“I want to congratulate Chris for being recognized with a WOW Award. Chris exemplifies CLBC’s vision of lives filled with possibility and communities full of opportunity. With the jobs he has created, his staff are learning new skills and building confidence while having pride in doing valuable work. Inclusion is a collaborative effort and I thank Chris and all our other winners and nominees for the work they do each and every day to help the people CLBC serves be recognized for their abilities, their strengths and their contributions.”
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell
“Inclusion is integral to creating a better British Columbia, one in which people of all abilities lead fulfilling lives, and employment is a key part of that. I congratulate Chris on his commitment to working towards an inclusive community and having such a positive impact on the lives of those around him.”
Anita Clegg, Nominator
“Chris feels strongly that people living with developmental disabilities deserve the opportunity to work and be a part of their community, just like anyone else. Chris and the staff have tailored employment to the individual skill set of his employees and provides the same work experience and expectations as he would any other employee.”
Chris Morsund, WOW Award Winner
“I am truly honoured to receive this award, and help other employers recognize the skills adults with developmental disabilities can contribute to the workplace. My staff are excellent employees, always friendly and outgoing and willing to contribute and learn new skills. I am lucky to have them be a part of the team and they have brought real value to my life.”
Community Living BC