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Outstanding Citizen of the Year: 85-year-old Burnaby man refurbishes bikes, donates to kids

Burnaby resident Dennis Baker is the city's outstanding citizen of the year.
Dennis Baker is Burnaby's Outstanding Citizen of the Year for 2022.

Burnaby resident Dennis Baker is outstanding.

The City of Burnaby has awarded Baker, 85, with the Kushiro Cup, representing Burnaby's 2022 Outstanding Citizen of the Year award, for his full-time volunteer work refurbishing bicycles and donating them to families in need.

Last year, Baker donated a record number of 137 bicycles and tricycles to more than 100 Burnaby children through the Burnaby Christmas Bureau.

“I have the self-satisfaction of knowing I’ll make some kids happy,” Baker said in a news release.

The Kushiro Cup is awarded to Burnaby residents who have “positively influenced the community and the lives of its citizens” through more than 10 years of volunteer service.

Baker, a retired salesperson, has been volunteering with the Burnaby Lougheed Lions for the past 35 years and has been refurbishing and donating bicycles for more than 17 years.

“It is this type of selfless volunteerism and community connection that the Kushiro Cup is all about,” said the council report approving the award.

Baker spends up to 50 hours a week working on the bikes to make them look as new as possible.

And he's not ready to quit yet, according to the press release.

Baker will be formally presented with the award later this year.

Mary Gates won the cup for 2021, with council lauding her years of service as the chair of District 4 (Southwest) community policing advisory committee, as well as her work on the Burnaby Citizens Crime Watch and three decades of volunteerism with Girl Guides of Canada.

The Kushiro Cup tradition began in 1982, when a delegation from Burnaby's sister city Kushiro, Japan, gave the cup to Burnaby, according to the city's website. Kushiro awards a similar cup to its citizens, named the Burnaby Cup.