Categories: Entertainment

Volunteers get new national honour

VOLUNTEER SMILES - Several local volunteers were among the recipients of Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers from Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell

Several outstanding and upstanding local volunteers and community leaders were celebrated with a new national honour.

The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers was created last year to replace the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award. The new medal recognizes the exemplary volunteer achievements of people across the country who work in a wide range of fields.

“These hardworking citizens are focused on building strong, caring, and vibrant communities that allow all members to thrive. In this special birthday year for our country, it’s a particular pleasure to recognize some of the people who embody the best of what it means to be Canadian,” Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell said before she handed out the medals.

There were 44 people from the northern half of the province being honoured during the ceremony, several of whom have made notable contributions to the life of St. Albert, Sturgeon County and Morinville, and all of the people that live in those areas.

Claude Carignan has volunteered for 20 years with the 533 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, and Robert Day has been a volunteer SurvivAir coach with the 533 Cadets for a decade.

Margaret “Peggy” Duncan has surpassed 10,000 hours in volunteering with Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton since 2004, and she has also been involved with other community organizations, including St. Albert Victim Services. Joan Mestinsek has also volunteered with Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton since 2004, and has been active in other community organizations, most notably the St. Albert Retired Teachers’ Association and the St. Albert RCMP community outreach program.

Kristopher Porlier has been a youth mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and has also given his time and concern as a victim services advocate for the Edmonton Police Services. He has also been a spokesperson against domestic violence with the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation.

Sophia Qaderi, 19, started volunteering when she was only 11, collecting and sewing clothes for charity. Still a young teen, she travelled to India with the savings from her summer job to give to those living on the streets. Locally, she volunteers through the SOARing program, Strong Girls Strong World in Edmonton, and the Optimist Club. She also volunteers at various Grant MacEwan University events as part of the institution’s ambassador program.

Barbara Sand has spent most of the last 20 years working to developing athletes in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets’ biathlon and marksmanship teams.

“It is an honour to recognize the tireless service of these deserving community leaders. These volunteers enrich the lives of Albertans and make a positive impact in our communities,” stated The Hon. Robert Wanner, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

A separate ceremony will be held for people from the southern half of the province in a few months.

People can visit www.lieutenantgovernor.ab.ca to see a full list of the recipients and their award citations, and caring.gg.ca for general program and nomination details.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.