The Government House ceremony hosted by His Honour Col. (Ret’d) the Honourable Donald S. Ethell celebrated the service and accomplishments of 23 Albertans, including Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, former MP and Senator the Hon. Douglas Roche, Canadian Forces veterans and members of the RCMP, Officers and Members of the Order of Canada and long serving staff of the Alberta Legislative Assembly. A complete list of medal recipients is attached.
“These medal recipients have demonstrated a tremendous commitment to building a strong province and nation for the benefit of all citizens,” said Lieutenant Governor Ethell. “They have brought energy, innovation and compassion to the work of serving the greater good and strengthening the quality of life we all enjoy and they have more than earned this honour.”
The Diamond Jubilee Medal, which is a national honour, recognizes citizens of all ages and walks of life who have made significant contributions to their communities. The medals are being presented at ceremonies across the province, hosted by the Lieutenant Governor and other dignitaries, public bodies and organizations taking part in the program. Information about the Diamond Jubilee is at www.gg.ca/diamondjubilee.
Recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal - November 20, 2012, Edmonton, Alberta
Chief Justice of Alberta, the Honourable Catherine Fraser (Edmonton)
Hon. Catherine Fraser has offered distinguished service and leadership as Chief Justice of Alberta and Chief Justice of Northwest Territories since 1992. Chief Justice Fraser has been instrumental in advocating for the rule of law, judicial independence and human rights at the international level and she has also been extensively involved in judicial education initiatives.
The Honourable Douglas Roche (Edmonton)
Hon. Douglas Roche is a celebrated author, parliamentarian and diplomat, who has specialized in peace and human security issues throughout his distinguished public service career. He lectures widely on peace and nuclear disarmament themes and is a past Senator, Member of Parliament, and Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Sheriff Ken Achtymichuk (Sherwood Park)
Ken Achtymichuk is a 15-year veteran of the Alberta Government Solicitor General Sheriffs where his duties have included working with four Lieutenant Governors of Alberta. Prior to joining the Sheriffs, Ken offered 29 years of service to the city as a member of the Edmonton Police Service.
Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour (Edmonton)
Margaret-Ann Armour is a renowned expert on bio-safety and a beacon for young Canadian women wishing to pursue careers in science and engineering. She was a founding member of Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology and now serves as Associate Dean of Science (Diversity) at the University of Alberta. She is a Member of the Order of Canada.
Marjorie Bencz (Edmonton)
Marjorie Bencz is dedicated to providing a voice for the poor and safeguarding the right of all Canadians to maintain their sense of dignity regardless of their socio-economic situation. She is Executive Director of the Edmonton Gleaners Association Food Bank and past board chair of the Canadian Association of Food Banks. She is a Member of the Order of Canada
Constable Sherrie Choo (Slave Lake)
Sherrie Choo’s service to crown and country include contributions as a civilian research investigator into the Pickton case in Vancouver, as a six-year veteran of the RCMP and as an active community volunteer. She was a member of the St. Albert RCMP detachment before being transferred to Slave Lake where she served during the wildfires of 2011.
Bertha Clark (Athabasca)
Bertha Clark is a respected elder, trailblazer and champion for indigenous women across Canada. She founded the organization now known as the Native Women's Association of Canada, she has been a member of the Métis Judiciary and the Aboriginal Veterans Society, and has also been a tireless defender of the rights of the underprivileged. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Sergeant Barry de Seguin (Edmonton)
Barry de Seguin has served as a member of the Alberta Sheriffs for more than 20 years. He has been actively involved in recruit and recertification training, has worked at both the Edmonton Law Courts and the Alberta Legislature Building and currently serves with the Officer Safety Unit of the Solicitor General and Public Security Staff College in Edmonton.
Lt Colonel (Ret’d) Brian Hodgson (Edmonton)
Brian Hodgson is Sergeant-at-Arms and Director, Visitor Ceremonial and Security Services for the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. He has served in the British and Canadian armies in Europe and Afghanistan and is former commander of the South Alberta Light Horse. He is an active volunteer with many organizations, including the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.
Col. (Ret’d) Paul F. Hughes (Calgary)
Paul Hughes served Crown and country with distinction as a member of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and later as a reservist with the Calgary Highlanders and the Southern Alberta Militia District, rising to the rank of Colonel. He has also been active with the Alberta Army Cadet League and the Regimental Trust Fund. He is currently Honourary Colonel of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.
Dr. Helen Huston (Edmonton)
Helen Huston has made service as a medical missionary her life’s work. She has received international recognition for her considerable efforts in Nepal and India to deliver hospital care and to encourage community health and literacy programs, especially for women. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Alberta Order of Excellence.
Fiona Jakielaszek, QARANC (Ret’d) (Morinville)
Fiona Jakielaszek has served in Britain as a Captain in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. She has also been a very active member of the Edmonton Unit of the Nursing Sisters Association of Canada, offering excellent support in a range of capacities, including duties as a member of the Unit’s executive.
Dr. W.J. David McNeil (Edmonton)
David McNeil has been the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta since 1987. His prior public service includes duties with the Alberta Government Personnel Administration Office and the Government of Saskatchewan. He has been actively involved with organizations such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Athabasca University and the United Way.
Dr. Geraldine Nakonechny (Edmonton)
Geraldine Nakonechny is a nursing educator who devised one of Canada’s first e-learning systems in occupational health and gerontology and created like programs in Australia and Ukraine. She has fostered international student exchange and led a Canada-Russia program on regulatory networks and enhancing the role of nurses. She is a Member of the Order of Canada.
Al O’Brien (Barrhead)
Al O'Brien has been a key contributor to improving public finance in Canada. For over 35 years, he held key Alberta government posts and played an instrumental role in reducing the province's debt and improving financial systems. He has also served as chair of the Federal Expert Panel on Equalization and Territorial Financing. He is a Member of the Order of Canada.
Jean Paré (Edmonton)
Jean Paré has translated her love of cooking into the successful Company’s Coming series of cookbooks, which have enjoyed popularity around the world and serve as trusted standbys in Canadian kitchens. In addition to her culinary and publishing success, she has been a generous supporter of numerous community organizations. She is a Member of the Order of Canada.
Holger Petersen (Edmonton)
Holger Petersen is a Canadian music industry leader who has been highly successful in fostering new outlets for Canadian talent. He has strengthened music in Canada through his service as founder of the award-winning Stony Plain Records, as a co-founder of the Edmonton Folk Festival and as a radio broadcaster. He is a Member of the Order of Canada.
Dr. Ray Rajotte (Edmonton)
Ray Rajotte has been a pioneer in the search for a cure for diabetes. He founded the University of Alberta’s acclaimed Islet Transplantation Group and was instrumental in the development of the Alberta Diabetes Foundation and Edmonton’s world-class Alberta Diabetes Institute. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Alberta Order of Excellence.
Dr. David Schindler (Wildwood)
David Schindler is an internationally regarded leader in efforts to protect fresh water resources in Canada and around the world and to strengthen awareness of climate change and the environment. He is the Killam Memorial Professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta, an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Alberta Order of Excellence.
Inspector Karen Simon (Red Deer)
Karen Simon is a distinguished 31-year veteran of the RCMP who has served in Saskatchewan and Alberta. She also has made valued contributions as an active volunteer in the communities in which she’s served, with organizations such as the Red Deer Women's Outreach Society, the Rotary Club, local swim clubs and the Air Cadets.
Dr. Matthew W. Spence (Edmonton)
Matthew Spence is a Canadian health care leader and innovator. After a career in pediatrics at McGill and Dalhousie universities, he became president and CEO of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research where he initiated new approaches to funding health research. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Alberta Order of Excellence.
Gayle Stannard (Sherwood Park)
Gayle Stannard has worked in various capacities for Alberta Culture since 1985. She serves the Government House Foundation and the Alberta Order of Excellence Council, where she has been actively involved in developing the Order’s new education programs. She was the key organizer for the Alberta Centennial Medal program in 2005 and is a dedicated community volunteer.
Sheila Weatherill (Edmonton)
Sheila Weatherill’s distinguished record of community leadership includes contributions as president and CEO of Capital Health. She also has served organizations such as the University of Alberta, the YMCA, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service. She is a Member of the Order of Canada.
For more information, contact:
Janet Resta, Communications Officer, Office of the Lieutenant Governor