Young volunteer receives award from Governor General
Katie Fitzgerald among 46 recipients of Governor General's Caring Canadian Award
Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 06:00 am
A young St. Albert volunteer was presented an award by the Governor General earlier this week.
Katie Fitzgerald, 16, was one of 46 people presented the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award at Rideau Hall on Monday, April 7.
“I was not expecting it at all,” Fitzgerald said of her award. She was notified in late 2013 that she was to receive the award and in early 2014 that she’d get the opportunity to go to Ottawa to be presented it by the Governor General himself.
Fitzgerald can add the prestigious national recognition to her growing collection of awards, which includes the 2013 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award, the City of St. Albert Leaders of Tomorrow Award, the United Nations International Women’s Day Award for Exemplary Service to the Community, the St. Albert Rotary Service Above Self Award and the Great Kids Award: Honourable Mention for Community Service.
The Paul Kane student is involved in several programs, including the SOARing program at the St. Albert Community Information and Volunteer Centre, Building Assets and Memories (BAM), Me to We, the youth advisory council for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and more.
The Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award “recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad,” according to the governor general’s website.
“I’m not totally sure who nominated me,” Fitzgerald said.
Monday’s ceremony was quite formal, Fitzgerald said. She and her fellow recipients were escorted in, and then called up, bowed to the governor general and had a photo with him while their accomplishments were read out.
She did get a chance to have a few words with Governor General David Johnston.
“When I shook his hand he asked me, ‘Do you ever sleep?’ and I said ‘No, not really,’” Fitzgerald said, adding the Queen’s representative in Canada was quite social at the reception with the recipients as well.
While obviously receiving the award and meeting the governor general was the highlight of her brief trip to Ottawa – she flew in Sunday and back out Monday night – Fitzgerald enjoyed the chance to check out the Parliament buildings on her first trip to the nation’s capital.
As for the governor general’s apt question about how she manages her volunteer commitments in addition to school work and her job, she said organization is the key.
“It’s all about just keeping organized and making sure I’m not double-booking myself,” Fitzgerald said.
While Fitzgerald started going along with her mom and brother to volunteer when she was seven, she said she got heavily into volunteering at about age 13.
“It’s just important to give back,” she said. “Every community needs volunteers.”