A Port Moody restaurateur has been recognized by the province for his effort to make the world a better place.
Fred Soofi was one of 15 British Columbians to receive the 2022 Medal of Good Citizenship, which recognizes “extraordinary” citizens.
“This is a really huge honour for me,” he said by phone Tuesday.
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This year’s recipients have gone “above and beyond to serve and meet the needs of others,” Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Lisa Beare stated in a press release.
Soofi, 72, is the only recipient from the Tri-Cities this year. He was nominated by Coquitlam school board Trustee Jennifer Blatherwick, who has seen Soofi volunteering at community events across the Tri-Cities.
“Either he’s donating food, or he is sponsoring, or he is behind the counter serving food,” she said. “Fred and I have known each other for a long time and he contributes to a huge variety of causes.”
Soofi may be best known in the community for his business, Pasta Polo, and the support it offers the community. The restaurateur has taken a step back from the business as ownership gradually shifts to staff, but he’s staying busy. Soofi sits on six different boards including the Vancouver Heritage Month Society and the PoMo Arts advisory board.
His interests aren’t just local either.
“Not just the Little League type stuff or the middle school grad or that kind of thing, but also he has worked with Amnesty International and really humanitarian important causes,” said Blatherwick.
Soofi immigrated to Canada in the early 1970s, settling in Saskatchewan. He attended university there and worked in restaurants to help pay for his schooling. Soofi moved to Port Moody in 2001, when he started Pasta Polo.
Soofi emphasizes the importance of building strong communities.
“Community and people are my passion,” he said.
But he’s not just involved in local causes. Soofi is also passionate about international human rights. He’s involved with Amnesty International. When he found out a Ukrainian mother needed a home earlier this year, he put the family up in one of his heritage homes.
The septuagenarian shows no sign of slowing down. He’s currently working on a proposal for a project he’s hoping to get approved in Port Moody that would include seniors housing and childcare.
A few years ago, he was quoted in a story wondering how the community would remember him when he was gone: “A businessman who died a millionaire. Or a businessman who contributed and helped his community?”
He’s already building a legacy and continues to do work to make the Tri-Cities a better place for all.