Michael Jacques. JANE BEDARD

The Fonthill and District Kinsmen have selected Michael Jacques as their 2019 Citizen of the Year.

The 28-year-old Pelham resident’s inspiring story has become well-known in the past year with the publishing of his book, “Can’t Read, Can’t Write, Here’s My Book.”

Jacques is autistic, and produced the tome using talk-to-text speech technology.

“Michael’s courage, determination and commitment to volunteering makes our community a better place,” the Kinsmen’s Kevin Twomey said. “His passion to help others makes our world a better place and motivates us ordinary people to do more.”

Jacques works part-time at the Fonthill Sobeys, but spent much of his time in 2019 volunteering and speaking to students around the province about his experience as an autistic adult. His book has sold some 17,000 copies, and has led to various media appearances and meetings with both the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Portions of profit from the book have been donated to Special Olympics.

“He’s just an exceptional citizen of the town, and we want to spotlight his abilities and courage,” Twomey said. “It’s not what we can’t do, it’s what we can do.”

Jacques will be honoured during the Fonthill and District Kinsmen’s Citizen of the Year Dinner on March 3, at the Old Town Hall. Tickets for the event are available at Sun Life Financial on Highway 20.