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‘Quite a humbling experience’

It was dreams of becoming a cowboy that brought Mission Mayor JamesAtebe to Canada from Kenya 30 years ago, but it was acceptance,encouragement and support that kept him here.

It was dreams of becoming a cowboy that brought Mission Mayor James Atebe to Canada from Kenya 30 years ago, but it was acceptance, encouragement and support that kept him here.

In turn, Atebe said he was driven to give back to the people who welcomed him, and yesterday his adoptive country honoured him as one of Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants in a Vancouver ceremony.

The people’s choice award was created by Canadian Immigrant Magazine.

Other 2009 winners include former governor general Adrienne Clarkson and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta.

“To be chosen by the people in the community is quite a humbling experience,” said Atebe, who is serving his second term as mayor and also coaches soccer.

“By giving me that recognition is an inspiration to do more.”

Atebe said Canada is uniquely accepting of newcomers and values the cultural, social and economic impact of immigrants.

“(The awards are) going to be a legacy that will encourage (other) immigrants to contribute to their communities,” Atebe said.

 
 
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