42 Canadians presented with Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

In celebration of National Volunteer Week, Governor General Julie Payette presented the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to 42 Canadians yesterday during a ceremony at Rideau Hall.

The Medal for Volunteers recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. As an official Canadian honour, it also pays tribute to the dedication and exemplary commitment of volunteers.

The medal is manufactured at the Royal Canadian Mint’s Ottawa facility. A circular silver medal, it has a 36-mm diameter and a suspension ring. The obverse depicts a contemporary effigy of the Sovereign with the inscription of the Canadian Royal Title and the word “CANADA” separated by two maple leaves.

The medal’s reverse indicates the ideas of caring and generosity, represented by two interlaced hearts. The sunburst pattern of the rim symbolizes the time that volunteers are giving as well as their actions. The ribbon uses the viceregal colours of blue and gold, and the five gold stripes evoke the fingers of a hand, present in the Caring Canadian Award (CCA) emblem, while the deep red colour is associated with royalty.

The design was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority and based on a concept by Darcy DeMarsico, of the Chancellery of Honours.

In 2016, the medal replaced the Governor General’s CCA, created in 1995 by then-governor general Roméo LeBlanc.


Annick Bernatchez, of Gaspé, Qué.

For more than five years, Bernatchez has co-ordinated the local Relay for Life—as well as a mini-relay for students—in which she has consistently engaged the majority of the population. In addition to promoting active living in the region, she has advanced cancer prevention efforts through both advocacy and community involvement.

Jean-Louis Blais, of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Qué.

A Korean War veteran, Blais joined the Royal Canadian Legion in 2002 to help his fellow citizens and to contribute to the Poppy Campaign, which he runs each year by organizing fundraisers and coordinating the team of volunteers. For 10 years, he visited schools to talk about veterans, and he continues to attend funerals for veterans.

Mark Chaplin, of Waterloo, Qué.

Chaplin has been volunteering with the Navy League of Canada since 2009. He’s currently at the Valcourt branch, where he fosters and maintains the well-being of the cadet corps. He helps to recruit new volunteers and manages their duties, organizes fundraisers, connects with young people, and encourages them to be creative and to share new ideas.

Alan DeBusschere, of Melfort, Sask.

Head coach of the Special Olympics curling program in Melfort, DeBusschere has devoted more than 10 years to coaching, fundraising and organizing events for local athletes.

Jean-Guy Doucet, of Saint-Léonard-d’Aston, Qué.

Chair of the Moisson Mauricie/Centre-du-Québec board, Doucet acts as an ambassador and spokesperson in addition to presiding over the charity’s finances and fundraising. Under his direction, the organization has expanded to provide food, employment assistance and training to more than 18 000 individuals.

Imelda Earle, of Conception Bay South, N.L.

A volunteer with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Canada since 1989, Earle continues to play an important role in this annual event. She sits on its provincial board of directors and is directly involved in fundraising initiatives as well as in all organizational matters relating to the run.

Dahlia ElShafie-Mostafa, of Calgary, Alta.

ElShafie-Mostafa, an influential leader in the Muslim and Arab communities, has volunteered with many charitable organizations in Calgary over the past six years. She inspires millions of listeners through her international radio broadcast which has touched the lives of many and is a valued resource for new immigrants to Canada.

Dr. Ginette Gagné-Koch, of Moncton, N.B.

Since joining the Canadian Executive Service Organization in 2001, Dr. Gagné-Koch has volunteered within Canada and internationally to improve health programs. Her dedication has led to restructured health organizations and new business partnerships in Saudi ArabiaCosta RicaSaint Kitts and Nevis as well as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. She has also contributed to the development of regional health services and programs in Indigenous communities throughout Canada.

Valerie Gendron, of Fort Simpson, N.W.T.

Gendron has been a speed skating, minor hockey and soccer coach and mentor with local athletic clubs for more than 17 years. She has trained the next generation of athletes in Fort Simpson, building their confidence and leadership through organized sports.

Gabor Glasz, of Montréal, Qué.

Through his work with Head and Hands, and with Foyer Hongrois, Glasz has been actively giving back as a lawyer and as a member of the Hungarian community. The legal aid and advice he provides has helped elderly citizens access proper housing.

Gaston Hachey, of Grande-Anse, N.B.

Hachey has been a dedicated volunteer with the St-Simon and St-Jude parish in Grande-Anse over the past 20 years. He is also the president of the Founding Cultures Museum, which acknowledges the regional legacy of First Nations, Acadian, Irish, British and Scottish peoples.

Johnathon Hemstreet, of Sarnia, Ont.

From a very young age, Hemstreet has demonstrated altruism through his dedication to various community initiatives and programs. Whether assisting with programs and events or fundraising with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, St. Patrick’s Catholic High School, the local food bank or on his own accord, he has always worked to help those in need of assistance and support, exemplifying the virtues of citizenship and co-operation.

Garry Hunt, of Canmore, Alta.

Hunt is an active volunteer who drives patients to medical appointments, and who helps to develop and maintain hiking trails in the area. He helps low-income individuals file their taxes through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, and has officiated during competitions at the Canmore Nordic Centre.

Robert Ing, of Toronto, Ont.

Ing has volunteered with the Electronics Technicians Association since 1992, promoting the education and employment of technicians and technologists around the globe. As a result of his internationally recognized certification study guide, he has helped specialists in the field earn credentials and build careers in the technology sector.

Bradley Allan Krewench, of Windsor, Ont.

Krewench has been volunteer director of the Windsor Military Institute since 2003, and has organized numerous events including the Windsor Military Conference. He also volunteers as a paratrooper with the Liberty Jump Team, which performs at airshows across Europe and the U.S. to promote military history and paratroop operations.

Danielle Lepage, of Saint-Thomas-de-Joliette, Qué.

Since 2009, Lepage has devoted her time to organizing the annual benefit in support of research into sensory neuropathy at the CHUM Research Centre’s laboratory of neurogenetics of motion. From 2001 to 2009, she volunteered at the federal women’s penitentiary in Joliette.

Alison MacLean, of South Surrey, B.C.

MacLean has been volunteering with the Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society since 2005, filming and archiving veterans’ stories for the museum’s outreach program. She has also made multiple trips to Afghanistan to document and raise awareness of the plight of children and women in that war-torn country.

Roma Maconachie, of Winnipeg, Man.

Maconachie was instrumental in founding International Hope Canada in 2001, when she set up and managed the organization’s entire warehouse space and helped establish crucial partnerships within and beyond the community. She later served a four-year term as president, and continues to be involved to this day by operating the website.

François Marion, of Marionville, Ont.

For 10 years, Marion has served as board president of the Villa d’Accueil Sainte-Thérèse de Marionville, where he has led building enhancement projects and helped organize social events. Since 2011, he has also led a multi-community citizens’ committee that promotes the interests of residents.

Valerie McIntyre, of Winnipeg, Man.

In 2001, McIntyre played an integral role in creating International Hope Canada, where she continues to co-ordinate shipments of usable medical equipment and supplies to developing countries around the world. She also helps to improve lives locally and globally as a volunteer with Al-Anon and the Jubilee Fund.

Maureen Meston-Pockett, of Regina, Sask.

For more than 20 years, Meston-Pockett has been actively involved in her community. She has devoted her time to youth, to people with visual impairments and to terminally ill patients by giving countless hours of her time to such organizations as the Qu’Appelle Health Region’s Palliative Care, Regina Lakeside Lions Club and many more.

Tad Milmine, of Calgary, Alta.

Since 2011, Milmine has spent countless hours speaking out against bullying at high schools and youth organizations across the country and abroad. Through his message of acceptance, he has become a model of determination and resiliency within the LGBTQ community.

Olivia Monton, of Dorval, Qué.

For the past 10 years, Monton has devoted her time to a number of organizations and causes, helping others at home and abroad. In 2014, she established Live for the Cause, a foundation that encourages volunteerism and philanthropy in Montréal and supports local grassroots organizations.

Sherry Morrow, of Bradford, Ont.

Morrow was the driving force behind the creation of the Greenhouse Co-op Team and the Food For Thought community garden and outdoor classroom. This initiative has brought together volunteers from her school and other public schools, as well as from the local community.

Blaise Mounga, of Saint-Eustache, Qué.

Mounga has been an award leader for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award program for the past 12 years. Over time, he has helped more than 60 youths take part in this international program and earn at least one of the awards. Under his leadership, these young people have developed their potential and self-confidence by taking part in and winning public speaking and sports competitions.

John Murphy, of Canning, N.S.

Murphy has helped improve the lives of countless Nova Scotians affected by alcoholism, poverty, mental illness and abuse. Through his involvement as a director and psychiatric social worker in numerous community health centres, he is a true champion of mental health and wellness.

Angie Ng, of Richmond Hill, Ont.

Ng has been mentoring and instructing youth through the Third Unionville Scout Group for the past 10 years. She encourages them to attain their goals and become better citizens in the community. She also promotes opportunities for young people in her community and raises awareness of the issues and challenges they face.

Jennifer O’Connor, of Halifax, N.S.

For over a decade, O’Connor has offered leadership training sessions to Grade 9 students at Armbrae Academy. For her 40th birthday, she launched the Forty 4 Change project, which featured 40 different acts of volunteerism including fundraising, a blood drive, and support for residents at retirement centres and young mothers’ homes.

Barbara Penney, of Glovertown, N.L.

Penney has volunteered with the Canadian Red Cross since 1975, and has made a tremendous difference at the local and national levels of the organization. She has been instrumental in the Youth Training in Action Program as a teacher sponsor and overall advocate for youth engagement in Glovertown.

Jean-Yves Phaneuf, of Granby, Qué.

Over the past 40 years, Phaneuf has initiated numerous projects that have led to the development of soccer in his community and even across Canada. Among his greatest achievements as a volunteer are the founding of the Granby Cosmos in 1978, and the Tournoi international de soccer Jean-Yves Phaneuf de Granby.

Imogen Pohl, of Lethbridge, Alta.

Over the past 10 years, in every community where she has lived, Pohl has been an active volunteer with Girl Guides Canada, Scouts Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion and the local food bank.

William James Pratt, of Tillsonburg, Ont.

A prominent volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society, Pratt endeavours to be an inspiration, an educator and an advocate in his community. He is the driving force behind numerous fundraising campaigns for the Society, notably its Ride ‘n’ Stride event.

Hannah Rosen, of Calgary, Alta.

Rosen has served in various capacities within the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society at Queen’s University, most notably as chair of the Heart and Stroke Committee, for which she led several fundraising initiatives. She has also volunteered for the Children’s Outpatient Centre at Hôtel Dieu Hospital and helped build a school as part of a service mission to Kenya.

Terry Russel, of Utopia, Ont.

Since 1992, Russel has been teaching the RCMP’s Musical Ride Troop drill to equestrian clubs and interested audiences. He also volunteers with organizations aimed at helping at-risk youth through riding and animal care programs.

Kent Scales, of Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Scales has been a member of the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, Prince Edward Island Chapter advisory board since 2008. Currently its vice-chair, he is also chair of the More Wishes More Wonders campaign and co-chair of the annual Exile Island fundraiser. He is also involved in other volunteer endeavours in his community.

Emma Smith, of Vancouver, B.C.

Smith began volunteering for Forum for Young Canadians in 2006 and since that time, has been working for a wide range of organizations across the country and abroad, including the Mainland British Columbia Military Family Resource Centre, Team Canada Healing Hands, and the Vancouver Resource Society for the Physically Disabled.

Joan Steckhan, of Saskatoon, Sask.

Steckhan has made significant contributions to Canadians as a volunteer over the last three decades. Her work with such organizations as the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, Girl Guides of Canada and the Riverside Kiwanis Club consistently supports youth, veterans and community engagement.

Judy Stewart, of Winnipeg, Man.

Stewart has been an interpreter at Fort Whyte Alive for 15 years. She actively engages with visitors and shares the history of the area by re-enacting the daily life of an 1880s sod house pioneer.

Richard Reid Tait, of Sorrento, B.C.

Tait has taken on several leadership roles within the RCMP Veterans’ Association, and has offered his skills and expertise as a retired peace officer to a number of sporting events hosted by the BC Special Olympics and the BC Summer and Winter Games Society.

Beverley Thomson, of London, Ont.

Over the past 16 years, Thomson has been the volunteer director of a successful and unique administration, management, treatment and counselling program that operates as a non-government-funded home for recovering alcoholics and addicts.

Gloria Toews, of Regina, Sask.

Toews has volunteered with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award since 1999, as a member of the finance committee from 2000 to the present, and as treasurer from 2000 to 2008. She was also on the organizing committee for the 2006 Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Youth Event, which was attended by the Earl of Wessex.

Amarjeet Warraich, of Winnipeg, Man.

Warraich is a dedicated and extremely influential member of Winnipeg’s Sikh community. His endeavours to promote his culture in Canada landed him his role as president of the Manitoba Punjab Cultural and Senior’s Centre.

For more information about the program or to nominate an exceptional volunteer, visit caring.gg.ca.

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