Heroes of Ottawa

Ottawa is a city that cares, that volunteers, a city where people look out for each other. It's a city full of everyday heroes. Do you know a #HeroesofOttawa? Let me know. Send me an email with the subject line "Heroes of Ottawa" to mark.sutcliffe@ottawa.ca.


Kenneth Campbell and Gelila Geremew

Kenneth Campbell and Gelila Geremew have dedicated their careers to helping individuals and families of African and Caribbean descent in our city. Through the non-profit organization Jaku Konbit, they champion our community by offering workshops, tutoring, summer camps, senior outreach, and more, fostering economic and civic participation for all of #TeamOttawa.

Kenneth and Gelila believe in the strength of diversity. Jaku Konbit's approach blends cultural enrichment with essential services, emphasizing that confidence in one's identity is the key to success. By connecting entrepreneurs with established community and business leaders, they're paving the way for Ottawa's youth of African and Caribbean descent to thrive in the city's business landscape.

Gelila was recently presented the Black History Ottawa's Youth Leadership Award for her volunteer work with Jaku Konbit, the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities and more.

"The goal is a better Ottawa for everyone, and we all have a role to play." Kenneth and Gelila, your community-building efforts are commendable. On behalf of #TeamOttawa, thank you for uplifting, connecting, and supporting our city's diverse communities.

To learn more about Jaku Konbit, visit their website: Jaku Konbit – Building Our Community Together


Lauren Bays

Lauren's journey began in a terrible situation, but she persevered, leaving an abusive domestic relationship behind. Moving to Ottawa, Harmony House became her refuge, offering the crucial shelter, resources, and care that helped her to break free. Today, Lauren stands on the other side, dedicating her efforts to supporting people who, like her, need the support and tools to escape similar situations.

Escaping domestic violence is no easy feat, and Lauren's story underscores the immense difficulty of this path. Her experience, knowledge, and strength have now become guidance for others. We salute Lauren for her selfless commitment to her community.

"It helps my clients that I've been in their shoes. I hope they think that if I can do it, they can do it."

It's heroes like Lauren who make #TeamOttawa such an amazing team. Congratulations on beginning your Master of Social Work at Carleton University, we have no doubt that you will continue to do amazing things in our community.

If you or someone you know is in a violent situation, Harmony House has a safe place to meet and discuss how to safely exit, and what documents you should prepare. You can contact Harmony House at their new outreach office at 613-608-1499 or at outreach@harmonyhousews.com.


Johhny camp

Johnny Berhanemeskel 

Ottawa native Johnny Berhanemeskel, who now plays professional basketball in France, credits #TeamOttawa for getting him to where he is today:

"I'm personally very indebted to the Ottawa community because of how much they've helped me. I want to be a part of helping the next kid."

Johnny Berhanemeskel became University of Ottawa's all-time leading scorer before playing professional basketball in Estonia, Ukraine, and recently landing in France.

This summer he was back at Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School to start the Johnny Basketball camp for #TeamOttawa kids.

Johnny’s personal goal of his camp was simple: to repay the kindness and support he received from the Ottawa community throughout his journey. Johnny’s priority was first to make the camp affordable and accessible for all kids. That way he could give kids a way to get involved at a time when kids need it the most.

He goes above and beyond for his campers, even replacing sneakers whenever needed. Johnny has shared more than basketball skills with his campers. He’s imparted perseverance and kindness.

Thank you, Johnny for giving back to your community, and inspiring the next generation of #TeamOttawa kids. Good luck this season with BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque.

Vahid Peiman Heroes of Ottawa

Vahid Peiman 

Here’s another #HeroesofOttawa. On a routine day Mr. Vahid Peiman picked up an elderly passenger in his taxi. Mr. Peiman was confused when the passenger asked him to let him out 10 km away from his destination. The elderly passenger revealed he did not have enough money for the full fare. Mr. Peiman did not charge him the fare and gave him funds to get him through the next month.

“I don’t want you to ever feel stuck, so you call me if you are ever stuck, and I will help you as much as I can.”

The elderly passenger did call, and Mr. Peiman did help. They remain friends to this day.

Thank you Mr. Vahid Peiman, for showing compassion, respect, and for lending a hand to someone in need.

Greg Antoine 2

Jaxon and Greg Antoine 

Greg Antoine's life took an unexpected turn this July, due to a mountain biking accident. His young son, Jaxon, displayed remarkable courage and quick thinking. In the midst of a stressful situation, seven-year-old Jaxon dialed 911 after retrieving his father's phone from his pocket, all the while ensuring not to move his dad to prevent exacerbating his injuries. Due to Jaxon's quick thinking, Greg was brought to the Ottawa Civic hospital where he received life-saving care. Greg and his family are now navigating the road to recovery as Greg faces paralysis from the chest down. Despite the challenges ahead, Greg's resilience shines through as he embarks on a road to recovery, with the support of his wife Brittany and their two children. Jaxon's bravery stands as an inspiration to us all, highlighting the strength and importance of family in the face of adversity.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started to offer support to Greg and his family: Fundraiser for Brittany Antoine by Olympus Canada : Support the family of Greg Antoine (gofundme.com)

Hugh Campbell

Hugh Campbell

Here’s another #HeroesofOttawa. When a fire ignited in his neighbour’s backyard last May, Hugh Campbell didn’t hesitate. With quick thinking and resourcefulness, he swiftly doused the flames using a planter and water from his pool. Mr. Campbell displayed remarkable ingenuity. Your neighbour, the Ottawa Fire Services and #TeamOttawa thank you.

Brandon 6

Brandon Peacock

In 2020 Brandon Peacock courageously put himself in harm's way to save a woman’s life. Brandon was getting a haircut when someone driving by opened fire. Brandon was shot 3 times as he protected a fellow bystander. Doctors didn’t know if he would survive or walk again due to the injuries. The odds were against him – but through his determination, rigorous training, and rehabilitation, Brandon completed a marathon a year later. Brandon then founded the organization Hit The Ground Running which helps other trauma survivors get access to the resources they need to reach their new 100%. Thank you, Brandon, for your bravery and selflessness. You are a crucial member of #HeroesofOttawa.

Consider a donation today: Hit The Ground Running - Supporting Trauma Survivors (htgrcharity.com)


Khai Skebo

19 year old Khai Skebo, who is currently taking the Pre-Service Firefighting Program, was on the Cumberland Ferry when he saw a boater in distress. Khai immediately jumped off the ferry, swam to the drowning boater, pulled him on board and began performing first aid and checking his vitals. Thank you Khai! Your bravery and quick action saved their life. We are grateful to have you among the #HeroesofOttawa.


Geoff Wall

In memory of his daughter Morgan, Geoff Wall started an annual car wash alongside his firefighter colleagues. Over the past 12 years 'Team Morgan' has raised more than $300,000 for children's cancer research at CHEO. Geoff Wall, Martin Herde, Gary Shaver, Bernardo Venditti, and Trevor O'Grady, you are #HeroesofOttawa.