UPDATE: The Freedom of the City ceremonies have been postponed due to provincial restrictions announced on Tuesday.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – ‘Freedom of the City’ ceremonies will take place for Jean Leahy and Sue Popesku over the next two weeks.

The presentations will take place at 6:30 p.m. on December 23rd for Leahy, and December 30th at 6:30 p.m. for Popesku. Only those invited by the City will be able to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Council awarded Popeski and Leahy would be awarded the honours last year.

The ‘Freedom of the City’ is the highest award that can be bestowed on individuals or groups.

Leahy passed away in August of 2019 at the age of 84. Leahy was a tireless advocate for seniors in the B.C. Peace and helped to create Save Our Northern Seniors. The group continues to advocate for better senior care in the community.

Popesku passed away suddenly in April of 2020.

Popesku spent countless hours volunteering and working to bring out the best of Fort St. John.

Popesku also had her hands in everything arts and culture in the region, including working and volunteering with museums and arts councils. She was a crucial piece in setting up the Fort St. John North Peace Museum in its current location.

The Peace Liard Regional Arts Council and the Fort St. John museum launched an archive named after Popesku. The website aims to honour and preserve the many years Popesku dedicated to building and enriching communities.

Earlier this year, Popesku received a special posthumous award for Distinguished Service from the Heritage BC Awards for her impact on culture and heritage in the Peace region. She also received a posthumous Janet Taylor award from the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation in November for her work in the community and with the organization.

Popesku was a founding member and executive director of the Foundation.

The ‘Freedom of the City’ is the Canadian version of what the Americans refer to as the ‘Key to the City’.

Previous Freedom of the City recipients includes Charles ‘Bud’ Hamilton, the 2276 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, Richard Neufeld, Jim Eglinski.