Finley Armanious, in a word, was shocked.
The retired Vernon doctor was still searching for the right words after being informed Wednesday he was one of 13 people being named to the Order of British Columbia.
“As you can imagine I was very surprised and quite taken aback,” said Armanious, 86, who started work as an intensive care physician at Vernon Jubilee Hospital in 1979. “It is a great honour. The highest honour I’ve ever received.”
Armanious, who performed other medical duties aside from working in intensive care, was also a tireless fundraiser for the hospital, mainly through the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation.
The Order of British Columbia announcement was made by Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon.
“The Order of British Columbia is the province’s most prestigious accolade and is an official part of the Canadian Honours System,” said Guichon. “It is an opportunity to publicly recognize those who have dedicated themselves to bettering the lives of their fellow citizens.
“These recipients exemplify the positive difference one person can make in a community and are an inspiration to all British Columbians.”
Of the 13 recipients named to the order this year, 11 are from the Lower Mainland. The only other Interior recipient, beside Armanious, is Charles Jago of Prince George, a leader in education, economic development and the arts.
Wendy Grant-John of Vancouver, a First Nations economic and community leader, is a former resident of Tachie, outside of Fort St. James, in the province’s north-central region.
“The Order of British Columbia recognizes remarkable accomplishments by extraordinary British Columbians,” said Premier Christy Clark. “This year’s recipients have each made a difference in their communities and to the province.”
Recipients of the Order of British Columbia have been selected by an independent advisory committee from public nominations.
The Order of British Columbia investiture ceremony will be held for recipients and invited guests at Government House in Victoria sometime this fall.
Since the order was first introduced in 1989, 345 people have become members.