Congratulations to everyone who received the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers at the May 29, 2017 ceremony in Edmonton, co-hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Following are the recipients' medal citations:
Daniel Alba, Edmonton - For over 20 years, Daniel Alba has been a dedicated volunteer in his school district. He is noted for helping a 10-year-old boy overcome challenges related to a traumatic brain injury and successfully integrate and participate in school activities and in society at large.
James A. Bourgoin, Red Deer - Jim Bourgoin has been an active volunteer with the Red Deer Legion for 30 years, regularly visiting veterans as part of the Outreach Visitation Initiative program since 2005. He further gives to his community by organizing curling tournaments and fundraising for programs that help people with intellectual disabilities.
Berta Briggs, Wetaskiwin - Berta Briggs has been a national board member, judge and symposium volunteer with Communities in Bloom since 2000, in addition to being active in local youth leadership programs such as 4-H. Her dedication to community building has transformed locales throughout the country and has strengthened the bonds between Canadians.
Claude Carignan, Edmonton - Claude Carignan has volunteered 20 years of his time and efforts to the 533 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in St. Albert. Particularly in his role as president of the squadron's sponsoring committee, he has shown how passionate he is about the cadet program.
Linda Christensen, Leduc - When Linda Christensen founded the Leduc, Alberta chapter of Special Olympics Canada 25 years ago, she began transforming lives and attitudes as a manager, coach and coordinator of the basketball, softball and bowling programs. Her dedication and involvement over the years have translated into many opportunities for athletes and has created a more closely-knit community.
Robert Crites, Penhold - Since 2010, Robert Crites has helped veterans as president of the CWO Bobby Girouard Alberta Branch of the Royal Canadian Regiment Association. His leadership and fundraising efforts have aided countless veterans.
Robert Day, Sturgeon County - Robert Day has been a volunteer SurvivAir coach for the 533 St. Albert Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron for a decade, where he has dedicated his time to passing on his expertise to the cadets he teaches. He has become a model of leadership and citizenship for his cadets.
Margaret Duncan, St. Albert - Margaret "Peggy" Duncan has logged more than 10 000 volunteer hours with Children's Autism Services of Edmonton since 2004, serving as a board member and coordinator of events and volunteers. She has also been involved with other community organizations, including St. Albert Victim Services, and has canvassed for various charities.
Barbara Ferguson, Sherwood Park - A dedicated community volunteer, Barbara Ferguson has long been a staunch supporter of Alberta's arts and culture scene. She is also an exceptional member of the Royal Canadian Legion Tofield Branch. Under her direction as Poppy Campaign chair, contributions to the branch have doubled in recent years.
Bonnie Ferguson, Sherwood Park - For 18 years, Bonnie Ferguson has been contributing her time to causes related to veterans and remembrance. Thanks to her research of local military history, 50 soldier biographies were added to the Legion's provincial command recognition books, and 40 memorial prints were commissioned through the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation.
Allistair Fraser, Sherwood Park - Since 1982, Allistair Fraser has worked with St. John Ambulance, raising the profile of emergency medical volunteers and building a partnership between St. John volunteers and provincial emergency response networks. His efforts have significantly furthered the mission and objectives of the organization.
Barbara Furuness, Wetaskiwin - Over the past 25 years, Barbara Furuness has devoted countless hours to operating the 42 Wetaskiwin Air Cadet Squadron. She has created new opportunities for and enriched the lives of the cadets by fundraising, coaching and organizing excursions.
Sidney Furuness, Wetaskiwin - Sidney Furuness' dedication to the 42 Wetaskiwin Air Cadets is reflected in his 38-year involvement with the squadron. Over the years, he has coached and trained biathlon and SurvivAir teams, in addition to organizing fundraisers so that cadets have the opportunity to participate in free outdoor excursions.
Beverley Hanes, Red Deer - Beverley Hanes exemplifies the values of the Royal Canadian Legion through her efforts to support veterans and promote remembrance. Whether volunteering with the Christmas Bureau, the Central Alberta Regional Trail Society, or seniors' care initiatives, she consistently proves her deep commitment to her community.
Debbie Herman, Millet - Debbie Herman has made a significant impact in her community over the past 16 years, serving as a coach, volunteer and chairperson of Special Olympics Alberta in the Foothills region. Whether raising funds through the annual Road Rally, helping the floor hockey squad win bronze medals, or guiding the Leduc curling team to a provincial silver medal, she has encouraged athletes to develop their skills and thrive within a larger community.
Jeannine Kowalski, Barrhead - For the past four years, Jeannine Kowalski has dedicated much of her time to ensuring that the Barrhead Food Bank meets her community's needs. As its coordinator, she is responsible for logistics, purchasing equipment, providing positive direction to fellow volunteers and building relationships with other community groups.
Mohit Kumar, Edmonton - Mohit Kumar has been a tutor since 2006. In 2013, he created Excite Challenge and Empower Learners, a homework and mentorship program. The program helps at-risk, special needs and struggling elementary school students improve their grades, learn important life skills, explore career options and build self-confidence
Harold Lefebvre, St. Paul - For over 20 years, Harold Lefebvre has been dedicating his time to the Legion, serving at both the local and national levels. Through his work, his branch has maintained consistent membership numbers and revenues, constructed a new Legion building, and collaborated with other organizations to better serve the community.
Nadine Leming, Leduc - Four years ago, Nadine Leming began volunteering with the Leduc & District Food Bank. As vice-chair, she assists with administration, helps develop policy, recruits board members, forms local partnerships and organizes fundraisers, all of which makes her a great ambassador. She is also a committed volunteer with several other charitable groups.
George Lucki, Sherwood Park - George Lucki has tirelessly volunteered for multiple health and mental health initiatives for over 20 years. He helped found the Alberta Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, served as director of the Chimo Animal Assisted Therapy Project and helps charities navigate through required governmental systems.
Vincent Martin, Red Deer - Vincent Martin is a dedicated volunteer with the Red Deer Food Bank Society and with various veterans' organizations. Through his fundraising efforts and leadership, he has contributed to the health of his community and to the legacy and well-being of former soldiers.
Christine McCourt-Reid, Edmonton - Christine McCourt-Reid has been volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society for eight years, as a national and regional board member, a member of the Relay Advisory Training Team, a Relay for Life organizer and as a fundraiser. She has invested hundreds of hours engaging like-minded individuals and expanding the impact and presence of the Society.
Bobbi McCoy, Red Deer - Roberta "Bobbi" McCoy has advocated for veterans in her community in numerous ways, from organizing Candlelight Tribute Ceremonies with Veterans Affairs Canada to establishing the Riders & Cruisers Alberta charity for homeless and at-risk veterans. Currently serving on the executive of the Royal Canadian Legion's regional command, she ensures veterans receive the services they require and that their legacies are kept alive.
Joan Mestinsek, St. Albert - As a volunteer with Children's Autism Services of Edmonton since 2004, Joan Mestinsek has served on its board of directors and has assisted at many of its fundraising events. She is also active in other community organizations, notably the St. Albert Retired Teachers' Association and the St. Albert RCMP community outreach program.
Brian L. Morris, Devon - For 20 years, Brian Morris has been a member of the local Royal Canadian Legion branch, where he has served in several executive roles, raised funds and generally stepped in to help whenever required. He has successfully organized many community events and, as chair of the Honours and Awards program, has ensured veterans are recognized for their service.
Janice Morris, Devon - A committed volunteer, Janice Morris has served on the executive of the Devon branch of the Royal Canadian Legion for over 12 years and as a leader with the Girl Guides of Canada. Her efforts have ensured youth, seniors and veterans are recognized and supported.
Faiza Moussa, Leduc - Recognized for her leadership and compassion, Faiza Moussa has volunteered for the Leduc & District Food Bank for eight years. Apart from daily operations, she has helped oversee new initiatives including a recycling program run in conjunction with the Edmonton Airport, and a cooking workshop that shows clients how best to make use of their monthly baskets.
Neal Nelson, Hardisty - Neal Nelson loves his community and is always willing to lend a hand whenever possible. His tireless volunteering for multiple causes demonstrates his compassion and dedication. He has volunteered with the Royal Canadian Legion for 48 years in various capacities and currently serves as its treasurer.
Marvin Neumann, Edmonton - Marvin Neumann is committed to preserving Canada's military history on the former Canadian Forces Base Griesbach in North Edmonton. He has spearheaded several commemorative events and monuments to recognize local veterans, particularly the members of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. His latest event took place in November 2015, when Flanders Park was dedicated to mark the 100th anniversary of John McCrae's iconic poem.
Avery Nham, Edmonton - Avery Nham is a young man with an impressive depth of knowledge about military history. In addition to sharing his passion with others at his school, he is a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Program and volunteers to help with Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Larry Pempeit, Edmonton - Larry Pempeit has been a leader and activist for Albertans living with a disability for more than 30 years. Through his work with the Handicapped Housing Society of Alberta, the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital and other charitable committees, he has helped many individuals with disabilities gain greater independence and access, and has fostered the growth of a more inclusive community.
John Pickett, Edmonton - Since 2010, John Pickett has been helping Alberta veterans as a member of the CWO Bobby Girouard Branch of the Royal Canadian Regiment Association. He supports veterans by providing free transit for them and by paying weekly visits to mobility-impaired individuals in their homes.
Kristopher Porlier, Edmonton - Since 2004, Kristopher Porlier has acted as a youth mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, as a victim services advocate for the Edmonton Police Services, and as a spokesperson against domestic violence with the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation. He has made his community a safer place to live.
Sophia Qaderi, St. Albert - Sophie Qaderi believes that you're never too young to start volunteering and giving back to the community. As a reading buddy and as an assistant at shelters, she encourages others to do the same.
Barbara Sand, St. Albert - For close to two decades, Barbara Sand has been dedicated to developing athletes as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. Her commitment to sports is reflected in the hundreds of hours she dedicates to training and overseeing the Cadets' biathlon and marksmanship teams.
Denise Seib, Thorsby - Denise Seib has been a very active volunteer in her community, contributing to fundraising activities and events at the school her children attend. She is recognized for her role as chair of both the school and parent councils at Thorsby Junior/Senior High School.
Roger Smiley, Fawcett - A dedicated Legion member of 20 years, Roger Smiley has promoted remembrance in his community by designing and fundraising for a new cenotaph, and by spending time at local schools promoting the Legion's poster and essay program.
Gordon Steinke, Sherwood Park - Over the past decade, Gord Steinke has been an active promoter of various charitable events including the Kids with Cancer Society and the Prostate Cancer Ride for Dad. His involvement has fostered greater awareness of and financial support for these causes.
Julianna Stern, Beaumont - Julianna Stern is a volunteer tutor at her school where she provides help to students in both official languages. In her community, she volunteers and chairs the local Youth Council; at the international level, she helped organize a humanitarian trip to Honduras to equip children with skills to reach their full potential.
Roderich Stewart, Vegreville - Rod Stewart is truly committed to veteran advocacy and recognition, having spent countless hours ensuring those in his community are properly served and honoured. His efforts have led to an increase of designated veterans' beds at the long-term care facility. He is also recognized for arranging meetings with government officials and for helping out at award presentations.
Tracy Stewart, Edmonton - For more than 31 years, Tracy Stewart has been volunteering with various departments at the Norwood Extended Care facility. Her enthusiastic daily commitment to caring for others has made a difference in the lives of many, whether by bringing patients to their appointments or by playing cribbage with the residents.
Robert Walker, Edmonton - Since 2010, Robert Walker has served his community as chair of the Kids with Cancer Society and as a board member of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Most recently, as chair of the Somali Canadian Women and Children Association, he has helped the organization gain financial stability.
James Warren, Tofield - A volunteer for over 20 years, James Warren's dedication to the betterment of his town is exhibited by his involvement with multiple organizations. Whether as president of Tofield's accessible bus program, as sergeant-at-arms of the local legion, or a volunteer with Beaverhill Rural Crime Watch, he truly cares about his community.
Lubna Zaeem, Edmonton - Since 2002, Lubna Zaeem has supported and empowered immigrants and refugees in Edmonton communities who are dealing with various social, domestic and resettlement challenges. The guidance, leadership, program development expertise and counselling she provides through several organizations has helped many people and families.