Contributions of 26 volunteers recognized with national honour

October 24, 2017

Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell presented the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to 26 Albertans at a ceremony at McDougall Centre in Calgary on October 24. The presentations were made on behalf of the Chancellery of Honours.

The medal recipients who attended the October 24 ceremony are from Airdrie, Calgary, Chestermere, Coaldale, Cochrane, Langdon and Strathmore. A list of recipients and their award citations is below.

The medal recognizes the time, compassion and commitment that Canadian volunteers offer to a wide range of community organizations.

“One of the best parts of my duties as Lieutenant Governor is having the opportunity to recognize and thank people who make the time to give back to their community. The quality of life we all enjoy depends on those who work to build stronger, healthier and more vibrant communities for the benefit of us all. ” Her Honour, the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers was first presented in Ottawa in April 2016. The medal, which is part of the National Honours System, recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country.

View ceremony photos

The Medal incorporates and replaces the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award.  Learn more or submit a nomination.

Media contact: Janet Resta, Communications Officer, Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta; janet.resta@gov.ab.ca780-919-5505

Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers Recipients - Calgary, October 24, 2017:

Ann Beatty, Cochrane - Beginning in 2011, Ann Beatty has been a committed volunteer with the Cochrane Activities Food Bank. Since becoming chair in 2014, she has spearheaded efforts to expand services by coordinating with other community organizations and introducing new initiatives, such as the inclusion of milk vouchers in all food hampers.

Dany Coté, Calgary - Bénévole pour la communauté francophone de Calgary depuis 18 ans, Dany Côté a eu un impact positif sur la forte présence francophone dans la province. Sa passion pour l'histoire et ses connaissances spécialisées en production audiovisuelle ont permis d'assurer l'inclusion et la documentation de la culture francophone et de la langue française dans la province.

Christina Craig, Langdon - Over the past 10 years, Christina Craig has volunteered over a thousand hours in her community. She has coordinated the development of numerous recreational and cultural projects, and has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to build a stronger and more vibrant community.

Heather Davies, Calgary - For more than 10 years, Heather Davies has volunteered with the Children's Cottage Society of Calgary where she helps with different tasks such as child care, food deliveries, fundraising and office work.

Dennis Davydiuk, Calgary - For more than 13 years, Dennis Davydiuk has brought smiles and laughter to the children of the Children's Cottage Society of Calgary. He can often be found on the floor playing with the kids or reading to them, or caring for infants in the Crisis Nursery.

Sylvia Davydiuk, Calgary - Since 2004, Sylvia Davydiuk has been a loyal child care volunteer with the Children's Cottage Society of Calgary. She is also a dedicated fundraiser and has offered essential support to families in crisis.

Kimberly Greenizan, Airdrie - Retired major Kimberly Greenizan has been bolstering civic engagement in his community for almost 40 years. He works with such organizations as the Royal Canadian Legion, the Airdrie Shrine Club, and the Order of DeMolay to create valuable opportunities for his fellow citizens and to promote volunteerism.

Moiz Hafeez, Calgary - Science student and humanitarian Moiz Hafeez has contributed extensively to his university, city and local immigrant communities as an orientation leader, fundraiser and volunteer medical research assistant. His fundraising work has had international reach, and he serves as a role model for young citizens.

Alex Halat, Chestermere- For more than 23 years, Alex Halat has helped raised millions of dollars for children's charities by organizing hockey events. More recently, he joined the volunteer organizing committee for the Clays for the Cottage sporting event to raise funds for the Children's Cottage Society of Calgary.

Kenneth LaPointe, Calgary - Kenneth LaPointe has been passionately promoting the recognition and preservation of Calgary's historic Francophone community since 1998. In addition to writing a genealogical history outlining the French roots of Rouleauville, he successfully petitioned to have the community recognized as a heritage site by city council.

Robert Harry Lennard, Calgary - Robert Lennard, also known as the “History Wrangler”, is a director of Alberta Heritage School Fairs. His passion for inclusive history is demonstrated by the volume of volunteer work he does to help preserve Alberta’s heritage.

David McKenzie, Calgary - David McKenzie has served on the expansion committee of the Children's Cottage Society of Calgary since 2007. When the Society was severely impacted by a major flood in 2013, he worked tirelessly toward the clean-up of the Crisis Nursery to ensure children could return to the facility.

Wendy Nelson, Coaldale - With a skill set encompassing a wide range of disciplines, Wendy Nelson has made positive contributions to her community for over 20 years. She has promoted military history and heritage, organized and managed search and rescue missions, and coached athletes and other volunteer coaches involved in the Special Olympics.

Richard Newmiller, Calgary - Richard "Rytch" Newmiller is a tireless advocate for deaf and hard-of-hearing communities in Alberta. Through his dedication and expertise in the field of accessibility technologies, he has helped countless individuals achieve barrier-free access to communication and ultimately lead better lives.

Krista Oliphant, Calgary - Dedicated to youth development and engagement, Krista Oliphant has been volunteering at Varsity Acres School, with Scouts Canada, and as a Build Our Kids' Success Program coordinator. For three years, she has promoted better health, literacy and citizenship among future leaders.

Jim Peplinski, Calgary - Former NHL hockey player Jim Peplinski has helped more than 60 000 children through his involvement with the Children's Cottage Society of Calgary. Over the past 30 years, he has hosted numerous fundraising events and solicited contributions from the community in order to keep the Society's doors open.

Natalie Ross, Calgary - As a volunteer with the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society, Natalie Ross introduced The Christmas WishList in 2005; for the past 10 years, she has acted as the program's coordinator and has organized the annual volunteer and donor appreciation event. She also serves as president of the parents' council at l'école La Mosaïque.

Bikar Singh Sandhu, Calgary - For nearly two decades, Bikar Sandhu has provided invaluable support for seniors by assisting them with income taxes and applications for federal and provincial benefits. He also provides computer training and drives many patients to their appointments.

David Schumann, Strathmore - David Schumann has been a dedicated volunteer with the Royal Canadian Legion in Strathmore for over 15 years. He frequently assists with the maintenance of the Legion building and equipment, and he is often the first to arrive at events and the last to leave, putting in the time and effort required to get any job, big or small, completed properly.

Bruce Sherley, Calgary - When Bruce Sherley offered to donate a swing set to the Children's Cottage Society of Calgary, he realized the organization was in need of a general handyman. Serving in that role since 1990, he has also fulfilled the responsibilities of vice-president and president of its board of directors.

Gregory Stone, Calgary - Gregory Stone has dedicated his time to the In the Lead mentorship program, coaching at-risk youth towards becoming future leaders. In addition, he has worked with various organizations involved in preserving Canadian military history, educating youth, and supporting soldiers, veterans and their families.

Ousher “Sam” Switzer, Calgary - Sam Switzer has been an active Rotarian for over 40 years and a member of several boards, including the fundraising committee for Calgary's Heritage Park. He is a senior associate with the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, and is a member of the Skål Club, the Al Azhar Shriners and Masonic Lodge #9.

Jeff Vandergeest, Yahk-Kingsgate, B.C./ Cochrane, AB - For more than 13 years, Jeff Vandergeest has been helping to increase recreational opportunities and accessibility in his community. As a lead craftsman of a volunteer crew, he has proposed, designed, planned and worked on variety of construction and maintenance projects for the local recreation complex.

Theresa Vandergeest, Yahk-Kingsgate, B.C./ Cochrane, AB - Theresa Vandergeest started volunteering when she moved to Kingsgate in 2003. In 2006, she helped plan and organize the Yahk Community Centennial Celebration. She has been the secretary of the Yahk-Kingsgate Recreation Society over the past six years, participating in every community activity, such as the annual craft fair and Christmas craft sale.

Robert Wambold, Cochrane - Robert Wambold volunteers with Calgary Search and Rescue Association, where he currently serves as president and assists with missing person searches, civil emergency response and public education. He also gives his time to the RCMP Auxiliary Constable Program, the Army Cadets and Cochrane Search and Rescue Association.

Lt-Colonel Richard Wright C.D. (Ret'd), Calgary - Richard Wright has spent more than 15 years contributing to the welfare of his fellow Canadian Army veterans. He is a long-serving member of the Canadian Association of Veterans in UN Peacekeeping, having held numerous executive positions within the organization.