Langley’s 2016 H.D. Stafford Good Citizen of the Year has a long history of service to the community.
Gordon Zacher, a retired chartered accountant who has called Langley home for more than 50 years, earned his place among the community’s most dedicated volunteers by contributing hundreds of hours of his time — many to major sporting events.
Zacher’s is a “truly astounding and remarkable list of contributions,” said Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce president, Scott Johnston, as he introduced this year’s winner during the Chamber’s annual Christmas dinner meeting on Tuesday night.
“Harold Stafford epitomized what a good citizen should be.
“Whatever project or cause he became involved in you could be sure he would not let it go till he’d seen it through to a successful and meaningful completion.”
He was, in a word, tenacious, said Johnston — a description that also fits Zacher, who Johnston praised for “dedicating personal time and resources to advancing causes critical to the health and well being of our community and its citizens.”
Among his contributions, Zacher served nine years as chair of the B.C. Disability Games and three years as treasurer of the Vancouver 2007 Bocci Ball World Cup.
He was also a director of the 2000 B.C. Summer Games for Athletes with a Disability, the 2010 B.C. Summer Games and the 2014 B.C. Seniors Games.
Outside the sporting world, Zacher spent five years as a director with South Fraser Home Support and Cornerstone Care.
Accepting the award, Zacher called the honour “stunning” and “a very humbling experience.”
But it was one he almost missed.
In fact, it took a bit of subterfuge on the part of last year’s Good Citizen, Milt Kruger, to convince Zacher to rearrange his schedule and attend the dinner.
Kruger told Zacher he was needed to entice Michael Jackstien to come, because he was this year’s winner.
During his remarks, Zacher singled out the late George Preston as one of his favourite clients and, “My mentor, I guess, about volunteering.”
Preston, who was well known for his generosity, in terms of both time and money, was often busy behind the scenes, too, said Zacher.
He could be found quietly helping anyone who needed help, whether it was “buying someone braces for their teeth or shoes, because a kid didn’t have shoes.”
It was that example, Zacher said, that he tried to follow.
Zacher met Preston through the Kinsmen, a club whose motto is “Serving the Community’s Greatest Needs.”
“I’ve done a lot of things over the years and it’s great, as a chartered accountant practising in Langley for over 30 years, I got to meet a lot of people, and volunteering was a way of giving back to the community.”