Johnny Fukumoto – Winnipeg, Manitoba
How does this person typify a humanitarian as described in the definition above?
He generously gives of his time each month to serve meals and connect with the less fortunate at the local food bank (called the Community of Hope) near his home. He has compassion for others and takes responsibility to take his gifts and opportunities to make changes, create awareness, extending his resources/generosity for their benefit without personal gain.
Every year he organizes a fundraiser to support orphans in Romania and give them a Camp experience that changes their lives.
Very recently I experienced that personally when I needed to fly to Europe to attend my Father’s funeral. He was quick with offering support and used his connections to arrange for flights and coverage at work, making sure everyone was taken care of, offering financial and emotional support that went beyond anything I had ever known possible. This is not an isolated event, it happens time and again. If he is aware of a need, he will find a way to meet it. This goes way beyond anything you would expect and I wouldn’t be surprised if this has impacted every person he has met.
He has used his own races as platforms to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues. During World’s Toughest Mudder 2014 his gym ran a parallel event, going through 24 hours of workouts to raise awareness and 100% funds for mental health and to support each other as community.
Integrity (doing what you say you are going to do) and generosity are 2 of the 5 core values he created for his business and he welcomes his staff team, clients and family to hold him accountable to these on an ongoing basis.
Provide 1-3 examples of the nominee’s selfless acts within the past 12 months
Oct 31/15 ran/hosted 6th Annual Pumpkin Charity Workout charity event for Anxiety Disorder Association of Manitoba (ADAM) that had100 participants in costumes, working out with pumpkins, raised over $2000.
May-June 2016 ran/hosted the 5th Burpees for Romania fundraising campaign for Impact Romania (sending orphans in Romania to Summer Camp and raising funds to purchase farmland for a safe place to live and work for orphans) $29,000 raised this year!
July 2016 part of a team of about 15 people who brought a Colombian refugee family (a mother and 2 teenage boys) to Winnipeg (city in Canada where he lives) that is ultimately responsible for their care for their first year of settlement.
Describe the major impact that this person has had on others’ lives
Specific examples are numerous and I will speak for some of the ones I am aware of, knowing well that I will only provide a small glimpse of the extent of his impact.
He is a father to 2 small boys (3 months and 2.5 years) and lives in a modest house to ensure that resources are spent responsibly and with a focus on others. He shares his passion for OCR with his family, taking the kids along and built a kids climbing wall in his living room. I know he is very concerned about being a better father, and sets goals about that!
He supports his wife in her pursuit to become a pregnancy support specialist at the gym and taking time out of his own workday to make this happen. They are a strong team, with much love and respect for each other and an open heart for anyone they meet. They are role models, living out their vision of our community at the gym, at church, in the neighbourhood and their own family.
Johnny is closely connected with his family in Toronto and has strongly supported his father’s and sister’s fundraising efforts for various causes. He has used his expertise in personal training to impact their lives and the lives of their friends. Johnny’s wife’s entire immediate family and a few extended are a part of the gym community and they have in turn inspired many to reach beyond their own strength to be there for others.
The gym community of several hundred ‘regular folks’ in Winnipeg has a very strong sense of family and trust in the humanitarian vision of Johnny that not only focuses on causes far away and abroad but is also very practical and tangible for them. It is common for Johnny to extend special considerations after a job loss or other financial crisis for a member.
Each year he organizes a peanut butter and jam drive to support the local food bank where he also volunteers regularly and has inspired others to get involved. He is well respected by other gym owners and is a leader in bringing knowledge to the city and sharing this with others.
He has been creating a lot of awareness for mental health and through this touched many people personally in their quest to find acceptance and understanding, besides raising funds to support the continuation of services and programs. He has been setting an example of humanitarian efforts in the fitness industry both in Canada and the US, emerging as a leader in a business group of 200+ facilities.
Internationally this is most recently apparent by the support of a Columbian refugee family, they will be supported through their first year in Canada by a group of 15 people. His continued annual efforts for Romanian orphans are making a big difference and in the past he has lead missions trips to Africa and other parts of the world.
My life is not the same because of the impact Johnny has had on it. It started with getting my physical health back after years of neglecting to look after myself. I have witnessed this many times over after getting to know him better. He has a way of inspiring others to set goals and to reach beyond their current abilities, opening doors to reach beyond their circumstances. For me this turned into taking responsibility to create a vision of where I wanted to go and who I wanted to become. His support through my journey has been unwavering and I wondered many times where he takes his strength, energy and faith to continue from. He is a great humanitarian who will do what is right even at the expense of his own comfort. He has strengthened me in my pursuit to become strong and responsible, a better version of myself. He has encouraged my children to be active and involved, has helped with getting them into a great school. He has opened up doors to get involved with church and through this equipped me with the best source of strength I could ever imagine. He has created job and education opportunities not just for myself but others as well, even if it may not have seemed the smartest move at the time, simply because he trusted that it was right.
Most recently (in the last few weeks) he jumped into action when my Dad suddenly passed away and I needed to travel to Switzerland. He raised and gave funds to pay for the flights and lost work time, helped organize meals for my children while I was away and even took care of an insurance deductible that was looming from an accident of a tree falling on my house and deck. While this is very much in character for him and he has offered help in many ways in the past with cars, resources, time and family support, it is touching me in a special way that he cares so selflessly about others and myself. His level of altruism is exceptional and deserves recognition beyond his immediate circle of impact. It is this kind of life that will create ripple effects and has the ability to affect more people than we can imagine.
It is an honour to nominate Johnny for this award and I will not hesitate for an instant to urge you to consider this submission favourably. He is a great candidate for this award and will continue to strive to make a difference every day!