EDMONTON — Longtime volunteer and philanthropist Eugene (Ben) Hochhausen will be awarded the 2010 Kevin Carr Christian Leadership Award.
Hochhausen, 85, will receive the award at a luncheon at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre Oct. 7.
Named to commemorate Newman Theological College’s first lay president, the award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the Christian community and beyond.
Previous recipients of the Kevin Carr Award are Jean Forest, Ernest Chauvet, Tim Spelliscy, Douglas Roche, Don Zinyk and Sister Annata Brockman.
“I’m surprised,” Hochhausen said modestly. “There’s a lot of people in this city that are deserving of this award. Now I find it a little humbling to be placed in the same category as Doug Roche and Jean Forest.”
Hochhausen is a retired engineer and businessman with a penchant for volunteerism. Twenty-two years ago he sold his successful Edmonton engineering business to, in part, dedicate more time to volunteer work.
“There is a great deal of satisfaction in doing volunteer work,” he says. “The pay is lousy but in the volunteer area you meet a lot of very fine people doing the same thing.”
A member of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Hochhausen has volunteered for many causes and organizations, including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), the Foundation of St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College, and the Edmonton Food Bank.
For the past 25 years he has served with the CNIB in various capacities, including as chair of the Northern Alberta district and as a member of the national council and the national board of directors.
In 1998, he and his wife Mary established an endowment fund to provide up to $10,000 a year for research in adaptive technology for blind and visually impaired people.
For his contributions to the blind in Canada, the Provost native received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. Six years later, he was made an honorary life member of the CNIB.
A devoted follower of Jesuit Father Murray Abraham’s work with the poor in India, Hochhausen and his daughter Jeanie Brown, one of his five adult children, financed the building of a training centre for the poor in the Himalayan foothills of West Bengal.
Completed four years ago, the 7,000-square-foot centre (650 square metres) offers education to the poorest of the poor in the areas of mushroom cultivation, animal husbandry, weaving, sewing, English language skills and computer operation.
Hochhausen has also served on many archdiocesan committees and institutions, including the Serra Club, the archdiocesan Communications Committee, the archdiocesan Capital Projects Review Board and the board of governors of Newman Theological College.
He chaired the committee responsible for establishing the Foundation of St. Joseph Seminary and Newman College and was the foundation’s first chair in 1992-93. He served on the foundation’s board of governors until 2007.
Hochhausen is known for his involvement in his parish, where he served as leader of the St. John’s Boy Scouts, Venturers and Rover Scouts for 20 years. He also served as a member of the parish council. He currently volunteers weekly at the St. John’s distribution centre for the Edmonton Food Bank.
Hochhausen is also a member of the Foundation of the Telus World of Science and serves on the board of directors of the World Braille Foundation.