FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Freedom of the City ceremonies for Jean Leahy and Sue Popesku have been postponed due to provincial restrictions.

“We are so excited to recognize these powerhouse women for their many contributions to our community and we will reach out again when we have rescheduled the ceremonies,” said Megan Brooks with the City of Fort St. John.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced revised public health orders on Tuesday, which includes no indoor organized gatherings of any size. The orders take effect Wednesday at midnight until January 18th.

Council posthumously awarded Popeski and Leahy 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.