John Hopkins receives 2019 Citizen of the Year award
REGINA -- CTV Regina’s 2019 Citizen of the Year, John Hopkins, officially received his award on Friday.
The award is typically handed out at an annual banquet, however COVID-19 prevented this year’s banquet from taking place. In place of the banquet, CTV has awarded Hopkins $500 to donate to a local charity of his choosing. He has selected Mobile Crisis to receive the donation.
“I’m very honoured to win the award and lots of people have helped me – my wife, my kids, my staff here at the [Chamber of Commerce],” Hopkins said on Friday. “This is such a great community that has given me so much and it’s an honour to give back.”
Accomplishments that Hopkins said he is the most proud of include the fundraising efforts he has accomplished with his band, The Garage Band. They were able to raise $1.4 million for the Allan Blair Cancer Centre in Regina, as well as more than $100,000 for mental health initiatives.
Born in Toronto, Hopkins originally moved to Regina in 1981. He found his calling when he started working for Regina Downtown, eventually becoming the executive director. He then moved into the role of CEO with the Regina District Chamber of Commerce.
“Regina has given me everything. I came here in 1981 from Toronto and I literally just came with a guitar and that was it,” he said. “I built my life here and it’s been wonderful.”
Hopkins was active in the establishment of the Paul Martin Aboriginal Education Entrepreneurship Initiative and the All Nations Job Expo. He is also a supporter of Regina trades and skills, ensuring that today’s youth gain insight into leading our future business community.
Hopkins was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer in 2018, which he continues to battle. He used that diagnosis as motivation to encourage other men to get checked for prostate cancer.
“The best way to help myself is to help others,” he said. “I may have challenges but other people have other challenges as well and if I can help them out then that’s fantastic. Especially now as I go through this cancer journey.”
Hopkins was nominated for 2019 Citizen of the Year by several friends, including Jim Park.
“It was mostly for John’s work with First Nations employment,” Park said.
He said Hopkins’ tenacity is one of the key attributes that people can learn from.
“When he takes on a cause he works as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen. He keeps at it until the task is complete,” Park said.
Michael Fougere, who’s part of The Garage Band and the former mayor of Regina, has known Hopkins for more than 20 years. Fougere calls him a community leader and great person.
“Everywhere you turn in the city, you see John’s footprint, his hands on something to do with what’s in our city over the past 23 years,” Fougere said. “I want to congratulate him on getting this award. It’s well deserved.”
Premier Scott Moe said Hopkins has always been a mentor to him, and said he’s more than deserving of this award.
“In whatever we do, whether it’s career wise or personally, you need people to bounce things off, people to bounce ideas off and people to run things by, and John has been one of those people for me, long before I had the position of premier,” Moe said.
Citizen of the Year recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the community. This is the 16th year CTV Regina has honoured a citizen with the award.
Nominations for the 2020 citizen of the year are now open. The form can be downloaded here and must be submitted by Dec. 4.