The outstanding service of 18 Alberta community leaders has earned them a new national honour. Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell presented the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to individuals primarily from across Central and Northern Alberta at a ceremony at Government House in Edmonton on October 17.
The medal recognizes the time, compassion and commitment that Canadian volunteers share with a wide range of community organizations.
The medal recipients who attended the October 17 ceremony are from Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lamont/ Fort Saskatchewan, Mayerthorpe, Red Deer, St. Albert, Stony Plain and Whitecourt, as well as one recipient from Calgary. See below for recipient names and award citations
A second ceremony will be held in Calgary on October 24 to honour recipients from Southern Alberta.
“There are many aspects of the quality of life that we enjoy as Canadians that depend on the energy, compassion and leadership of community volunteers. This medal is a way of our country to show just how much their efforts are valued and appreciated.” 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.
The Medal incorporates and replaces the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award. Lieutenant Governor Mitchell presented the medals at the Edmonton ceremony on behalf of the Governor General of Canada. About the Medal or to nominate.
Media contact: Janet Resta; firstname.lastname@example.org; 780-919-5505; Communications Officer, Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
Dana Allen, Calgary - Dana Allen has a long history of volunteering in her community. She has served with Scouts Canada and the Calgary Emergency Medical Services, was chair of the parents' council at St. Pius' School, and is an active volunteer in the public school system.
Ghislain Bergeron, Edmonton - Depuis presque 20 ans, Ghislain Bergeron fait preuve d'un engagement et d'un dévouement exceptionnels envers la collectivité francophone de l'Alberta. Que ce soit en tant que membre de l'Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta ou de la Fondation franco-albertaine, ou chanteur de talent, il est toujours fier de faire connaître son patrimoine./For nearly 20 years, Ghislain Bergeron has demonstrated outstanding dedication and commitment to the Alberta francophone community. Whether speaking as a member of the Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta or the Fondation franco-albertaine, or performing as a gifted singer, he is proud to share his heritage with others.
John Chu, Edmonton - John Chu has been volunteering with Telus World of Science Edmonton since 1994, inspiring thousands of children and adults alike to explore science and to expand their curiosity about the natural world.
Patrick Duggan, Fort McMurray - With 13 years of service as a member of the Fort McMurray Fire Department, Pat Duggan has raised funds for a number of local charities, including Santas Anonymous and the local food bank. He has organized the annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial Day ceremonies, and has helped raise funds to build a municipal fallen firefighter memorial.
Gino Ferri, St. Albert - Since 1991, Gino Ferri has volunteered his time to raise funds for and awareness of autism spectrum disorder. Through his work with local and provincial organizations and by influencing legislation, he has improved support services for Albertans on the autism spectrum.
Scott Germain, Fort McMurray - A 10-year veteran of the Fort McMurray Fire Department, Scott Germain has contributed to many local charitable events. He currently sits on the fire department's charity committee and is the coordinator of the local Rooftop Campout campaign, which raises more than $40,000 each year.
Brad Grainger, Fort McMurray - Brad Grainger has worked in various capacities as a medical volunteer. He has served on the board of directors for the local HERO Air Medivac Foundation and the James Banting Foundation. He has also raised funds for both the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life and Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
Hazel Hoyt, Stony Plain - For 30 years, Hazel Hoyt has been a crisis advocate with the Victim Services of Stony Plain, Spruce Grove and District, where she has provided support to victims in times of distress.
Beth Jager, Mayerthorpe - Beth Jager has become a respected mentor as a coach and athletic director of the Mayerthorpe High School sports teams, as well as chair of the Mayerthorpe Youth Justice Committee. Through her volunteerism, she devotes many of her evenings and weekends to youth development.
Cory Kokotailo, Lamont/Fort Saskatchewan - Cory Kokotailo coaches volleyball, basketball and badminton in the communities of Andrew and Lamont. He runs sports camps for youth not already registered in the community's competitive sports leagues, and successfully solicits business sponsorships and raises funds to keep the camps running.
Lorna McIlory, Grande Prairie - In addition to serving as president of the Alberta Horticultural Association, Lorna McIlroy has volunteered as a judge with Communities in Bloom (CiB) over the past 10 years. She has also helped with fundraising and has drafted such nationally accepted training documents as The Philosophy of Judging. Her contributions have been essential in determining the direction of the organization.
Louise Meier, St. Albert - For over 20 years, Louise Meier has been active within the Air Cadets, first as a volunteer on the parent committee, and now as commanding officer. Her dedication to the squadron is evident through her leadership of fundraising activities or on the executive level.
Mary O’Neill, St. Albert - Mary O'Neill has shared her expertise and leadership in health care, education and research for more than 30 years, transforming community service and improving the lives of those in need.
Tom Pickard, Whitecourt - For more than 30 years, Tom Pickard has volunteered with youth, veterans and sports organizations in his community. He has coached minor hockey and has contributed to his local PARTY youth safety program and to the Royal Canadian Legion.
Ryan Pitchers, Fort McMurray - Ryan Pitchers has been an active volunteer for almost 30 years, participating in several fundraising events such as charity breakfasts and campouts. His tireless efforts have helped raise close to $100,000 annually for his community.
Sharon Schultz, Red Deer - Sharon Schultz has been fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society for eight years, notably by founding and hosting a tea party to support the purchase of head coverings for cancer patients. Her giving spirit shines through this and other volunteer initiatives, inspiring others to give back to their community.
Valerie Scott, Whitecourt - Valerie Scott has spent the past decade and a half volunteering with service clubs like the Friends of Whitecourt Society and the Christmas Hamper Committee. She has helped to improve the quality of life of many members of the community by providing food for the hungry and by raising funds for medical equipment.
Lezley Zwaal, Edmonton - Since 2006, Lezley Zwaal has directed Quilts of Valour, a non-profit charitable organization that provides quilts to injured veterans to recognize and honour their service. To date, over 7 400 quilts have been donated and presented; due to the overwhelming response from veterans, the organization has expanded across the country.