Surinderpal Rathor first came to Williams Lake after immigrating from India in 1974 at the age of 21, and has lived here ever since. He met his wife Sharon here that same year, and together they raised two children: their daughter Roop, who passed away in 2014; and their son Robin. Surinder’s children and grandchildren were all raised in Williams Lake, and his parents now call the community home.
Surinder’s first job in Williams Lake was as a freelance photographer for the Williams Lake Tribune. A year later, he was hired at what was then P&T Mills, now Tolko Industries, as a utility person. Surinder eventually became the head electrician of Tolko’s Soda Creek Division, retiring in January 2021 after a nearly 47-year career.
First elected to Williams Lake City Council in 1993, Surinder served 7 consecutive terms totalling 21 years. He was elected Mayor in 2022 and is the first Indo-Canadian to serve as Mayor of Williams Lake.
Outside of politics, Surinder has served on many community boards and been involved with many local organizations and initiatives, including the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, Cariboo Memorial Hospital Association, Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin, Cariboo Lodge, Williams Lake Stampede Association, Williams Lake and District Credit Union, Williams Lake Community Policing, Victim Services, Employee Family Assistance Program, Drug and Alcohol Prevention Committee, Seniors Activity Centre, Tourism Discovery Centre, and the 2002 BC Winter Games Commission.
He has also volunteered with the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program since 1975, for which he was awarded the 2018 Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. He has also been the recipient of the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award, the 2005 BC Community Achievement Award, the 2002 Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award, and the 1992 Canada 125th Anniversary Award in recognition of his service.
“We can’t accomplish anything except by way of working together.”
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