Senator Vim Kochhar with Dr. Asha Seth

Indo Canadian Senator receives award

An Indian Canadian Senator has received the 2010 Canadian Helen Keller Centre Award for his outstanding community service  in Canada.  At a Gala event held on May 7th, 2010 held at the Royal York Hotel, Senator Vim Kochhar, a nationally acknowledged champion of people with physical disabilities, received the award at the sixth Annual awards dinner.  Known for continuously invoking the historic achievements of Canada ’s disability community, the Senator received the award in the presence of around 500 people who had gathered to celebrate the occasion including Indian High Commissioner Shashishekhar Gavai and Consul General Preeti Saran.

“I grew up with the idea that you have to give something back to your community. We all have a contribution to make. I’ve been very lucky that my business allows me to devote a lot of time to charitable work and it’s been immensely rewarding. Believe me, there’s a lot of personal satisfaction in serving your community,” says Kochhar.

On January 29th, 2010 Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his appointment to the Canadian Senate, the first Indo-Canadian named to Parliament’s upper house. Hailed as a great day for the disability movement, Kochhar’s appointment was also roundly applauded in Canada ’s South Asian community who congratulated the Senator.

“Congratulations.  You are an inspiration to us all,” said Dr Asha Seth, a member of the Awards Committee.   “Now that you have been appointed to the Senate, the road was long, the journey was difficult…But you did it!  I have to say the path of change is an endless one.  Not only do you make Canadians proud, but your fellow Indo Canadians are honored to have such a strong individual representing them in the Senate. I value our friendship and I value everything you have done for me.  I wish you all the success and happiness.”

The Senator’s involvement in disability causes began in1984 and one of the Senator’s most recognizable accomplishments is the creation of The Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons, which has raised a majority of $20 million at its annual venture “The Great Valentine Gala.” Senator Vim has been a major supporter of the Paralympic movement and is now the Chair of the Canadian Paralympic Foundation.

Other distinguished guests of the evening included The Honourable Jim Flaherty, MP, Minister of Finance, Master of Ceremonies, Suhana Meharchand, CBC News Network, Honourable Hal Jackman, Honourable Lincoln Alexander, Senator Con Di Nino, Senator Joyce Fairbairn, Senator Vim Kochhar, Deepak Obhrai, MP and Parliamentary Secretary, Alan Tonks, MP, and  Chief Bill Blair, Toronto Police.

“When you know him, you will find that it is very difficult to say no to Vim Kochhar.  His motto has always been ‘why not’ and he is a true Canadian.  We are proud to be associated with him.  Congratulations,” said many of the dignatories in their speeches at the dinner.

The event sponsored by a number of organizations was also held to raise funds for many services at the Canadian Helen Keller Centre (CHKC).   The only residential training centre in Canada for deaf-blind persons, the CHKC services help people develop alternate ways to care for oneself, one’s family and one’s home and facilitates connections to peers and the community through the development of alternative forms of communication, computing and through self-advocacy and peer support.

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