Media Advisory – Her Excellency to Present Medal for Volunteers
April 26, 2017
Her Excellency to Present Medal for Volunteers
OTTAWA—As part of National Volunteer Week, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston and His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa, will present the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to 64 exceptional volunteers from Canada’s Capital Region during a ceremony at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. West, on Friday, April 28, 2017, at 8:30 a.m.
The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes the remarkable volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. As an official Canadian honour, the Medal pays tribute to the dedication and exemplary commitment of volunteers.
The list of recipients and their citations, as well as a fact sheet are attached. For more information about the program or to nominate an exceptional volunteer, visit caring.gg.ca.
Media wishing to cover the event are asked to arrive at Andrew S. Haydon Hall no later than 8:15 a.m. on the day of the ceremony.
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RECIPIENTS AND CITATIONS BY WARD
Ward 1 – Orléans
A football coach and passionate fundraiser, Aldege Bellefeuille has changed many young lives by raising awareness of the barriers facing youth from low-income and at-risk families.
Ian Faris promotes community outreach and integration through sports as a director of communications and fundraiser for local sports teams including the Gloucester Hornets’ soccer club and the Capital Xelles basketball league.
Sigurdur Ewald Sigurdson
For more than 20 years, Sigurdur Sigurdson has helped RCMP veterans and his community as a member of the Ottawa Division Veterans’ Association, notably by serving on the editorial board of the association’s quarterly magazine and by organizing numerous social events and visitations.
Ward 2 – Innes
In addition to volunteering with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre, Divya Massilamani has been caring for the elderly at Madonna Care Community for the past eight years. She also tutored high school English, and was involved in the Abhilasha Project and her university’s World Vision Club.
For more than 15 years, Harvey Nuelle has volunteered with the Bruyère Continuing Care Helpline, an outreach service that promotes independent living for vulnerable individuals living alone in rural areas.
Ward 3 – Barrhaven
Raymond (Ray) Desjardins
Raymond Desjardins has been involved with the Royal Canadian Legion since 1998, serving in many executive positions, raising funds and even co-founding a new branch in Barrhaven.
David Sereda has volunteered in several roles with the Barrhaven Royal Canadian Legion, notably organizing the Legion’s Golf Tournament, which has raised thousands of dollars. He is also president of the Barrhaven Food Cupboard.
Ward 4 – Kanata North
With over 20 years of coaching experience, Cathy Briggs has been instrumental in creating popular and competitive soccer programs for more than 1 600 young players in Kanata North.
For the past 18 years, Dwight Brown has participated in hundreds of civic initiatives, including fundraisers for the Rotary Club and the Queensway-Carleton Hospital, Canadian Blood Services drives, Walks for Hospice, and the Running on Empties Christmas Campaign.
Jim Malone has been a volunteer executive board member for the Kanata Lakes Community Association for more than 14 years where he helps to raise funds and serves as a key resource in community clean-ups, consultations and policing.
Judith Miller volunteers with the Kanata Civic Art Gallery, an artist-run co-operative, where she helps promote local artists and engages with the public to raise awareness of the gallery and its programs.
Neil Thomson has been a community volunteer in Kanata for more than 30 years, most recently as chair of the Kanata Beaverbrook Community Association where he is actively involved in developing proposals to support the expansion of the area.
Sarah Trant has volunteered with the Kanata Seniors Council since 2009, and has actively promoted and successfully increased interest in the council by making programs and activities available to seniors in her community.
Ward 5 – West Carleton-March
Greg Patacairk has been a key volunteer at the Dunrobin Community Centre, serving as its president, as a coach and as an instructor of an expanding special needs class. His encouraging, patient nature has made him a pillar in the community over the past 10 years.
An invaluable community asset, Len Russell has served the Constance Bay and Buckham’s Bay Community Association in various positions, including president, vice-president and secretary, for more than 20 years.
Ward 6 – Stittsville
Barbara Bottriell has been publishing the genealogical, political and social history of the area since 1998. As president of the Goulbourn Township Historical Society from 2000 to 2016, she oversaw the digitization of the Society’s local history files.
As a board member and volunteer with the Stittsville Food Bank for more than a decade, Paula Farrell collects and distributes donations through several Food Bank programs, ensuring that families in her community have access to food throughout the year.
Thomas Mark Graza
Thomas Mark Grasza has shared his expertise as an accomplished artist with the British North American Philatelic League of Canada. He also donated thousands of his own original paintings to raise funds for local health institutions and international relief missions.
Tysen Lefebvre founded the Mission to a Million campaign to raise a million dollars to help 100 youth make their wishes come true. Through his inspirational fundraising initiatives in his community and through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he has raised $600,000, and has fulfilled the dreams of 60 young people.
A volunteer firefighter with Stittsville’s Station 81 Fire Hall, Brenda Tirrell is the director of the 9 Run Run event, which raises funds for and awareness of for mental health issues, and was also involved in the development of the Crossing Bridge Residents Association.
Ward 7 – Bay
A board member of the Queensway Terrace North Community Association for more than 10 years, Anna Bevilacqua currently serves as its president and has led the coordination of the community’s annual winter carnival.
In her 16 years with the Ottawa Council on Smoking or Health, Carmela Graziani has researched, written, presented and tirelessly advocated for greater public education and a smoke-free Ottawa. Also a volunteer with the Canadian Lung Association and a patient advocate, she has helped to create healthier public spaces in her city.
Maurice Charlebois has been volunteering in his community of Britannia Village for more than 35 years and has also served as co-chair of the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre’s United Neighbors project since 2008.
Ward 8 – College
President of the East Nepean Little League for 26 years, Bruce Campbell has also served on the Little League International advisory board and founded Challenger Baseball in East Nepean for youth with disabilities.
David Palmer has tirelessly fundraised for Camp Trillium, Camp Chrysalis and the Rotary Interact Club. He has also supported veterans through the Royal Canadian Legion and was a member of the board at a Trenton-based home for young offenders.
Ward 9 – Knoxdale-Merivale
Shannon Bagg Mallen
Shannon Bagg Mallen created the Just for Kicks soccer program for children with developmental challenges after recognizing that no such program existed in the city. She continues to lead the program by fundraising and coordinating more than 80 volunteers.
Eric Rabin has been a math and science tutor with the Pinecrest-Queensway’s Pathways to Education program since 2008, where he spends at least six hours a week teaching youth in economically disadvantaged communities.
Ward 11 – Beacon Hill-Cyrville
For more than 27 years, Jean-Marie Legris has volunteered with Bruyère Continuing Care where he provides exceptional care and service to the organization and its patients.
Steven Dieter has volunteered with the Royal Canadian Legion for 24 years, and has made significant contributions to military history as a result of his passion for veterans. His research on military personnel in the Second World War has shed light on the contributions of numerous veterans who would have otherwise remained unknown.
Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier
For the past 25 years, Anna Bourgon has warmly welcomed thousands of families into the community of Chez Mère Bruyère. Three days a week, she works with expectant mothers to prepare full layettes for their newborn babies, in addition to providing clothing for their siblings.
Festus Ifeolu Akinbobola
Since 2007, Festus Ifeolu Akinbobola has been attending the Tuesday drop-in at Ottawa Innercity Ministries to help make and serve nutritious meals to those living in poverty. His engaging and compassionate interactions with the clientele have made a positive impact on the lives of those in need.
Ward 13 – Rideau-Rockcliffe
Leo Bédard has served with the Royal Canadian Legion for 27 years in such roles as zone commander, president and, currently, as long-term care surveyor. A dedicated volunteer, he has driven members to various appointments, arranged for veterans’ medals to be mounted, and helped ensure that the many events at the Legion hall run smoothly.
Marc Grecco has been volunteering in a number of capacities with the Ottawa East Minor Hockey Association, most notably as a coach. He also recently participated in the RBC Learn to Skate program, where he helped young athletes develop the confidence and skills needed to play.
Stu (Seaward) Higdon
Stu Higdon has been volunteering with Bruyère Continuing Care for 37 years, caring for the well-being and quality of life of patients, and organizing social events and activities to improve and enhance their lives.
Ward 14 – Somerset
Mary Young has been an integral part of the Cambridge Street Public School community for the last eight years. She serves as chair of the parent council, where she organizes and coordinates numerous fundraisers, projects, events and workshops for students, teachers and parents alike. She has created strong partnerships with the wider community to benefit the school.
Ward 15 – Kitchissippi
Gus Kennedy volunteers with Bruyère Continuing Care where he facilitates recreation and leisure activities for patients with traumatic brain injuries. He encourages camaraderie and fun through his weekly Games with Gus program and escorts clients on excursions to the mall.
Ward 16 – River
A volunteer since 1968, Trina Constantini-Powell currently serves as president of the National Congress of Italian-Canadians in the National Capital District, and as the advisory board director of the Dalhousie Food Cupboard.
Robert Crout initiated the annual May Family Fun Day and Shinny Hockey events, and also volunteers with Stride Wheelchairs Plus, which distributes used health care equipment to those in need.
Linda Dodd has served in various roles with the Carlington Community Association and has also canvassed on behalf of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Arthritis Society and the Canadian Cancer Research Institute.
John Sankey has helped improve the condition of local parks and furthered environmental causes as a member of the Hunt Club Community Organization and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, and as chair of the Eastern Chapter Society of Ontario Nut Growers.
Ward 17 – Capital
Allison Dingle has helped promote local and Canadian musical talent as a board member with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra for nearly four decades. She has also canvassed for the Canadian Cancer Society for 20 years and chairs the Centretown Emergency Food Centre.
Beatrice Raffoul is a founding member of the Ottawa Famous 5 Committee and played an instrumental role in the placement of the Women Are Persons! Monument on Parliament Hill in 2000.
Lynn Graham has helped advance public educational activities in the community as chair of multiple committees and organizations, and as a volunteer with the Old Ottawa South Community Association, Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa, Christie Lake Kids, and Girl Guides of Canada.
For more than 36 years, Patricia Hewitt has volunteered with the Emergency Department at the Ottawa Hospital General Campus. She is so dedicated to her role that, for years, the ER staff thought she was a paid employee.
Dr. Susan Pisterman
Since 2004, Susan Pisterman has volunteered her time with early learning and youth-centred initiatives. She served on the boards of both the Youth Services Bureau and Andrew Fleck Child Care Services, where she contributed to improved governance, leadership and programming.
Ward 18 – Alta Vista
A devoted leader in Canadian orchestral music, John Gomez is a founder and dedicated volunteer of the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy, which supports the development of young musicians in Ottawa.
Carmel Horan has been a volunteer cook at Bruce House for more than 14 years. She has also participated in the OK Clean Water Project, which supports the distribution of clean, potable water to some 43 000 people living in 43 villages in the Kumbo region of Cameroon
Ward 19 – Cumberland
Since 2010, Elizabeth Bengle has been instrumental in developing a wooded forest around the Des Sentiers elementary school in Orléans. The space has become an outdoor classroom for students to learn about nature and how to protect it.
Jean Seguin has been a strong leader in the community of Vars, spearheading several projects as part of the Neighborhood Planning Initiative to develop and promote the region’s rich historical heritage.
Ward 20 – Osgoode
Tracey Nesrallah volunteers with the St. Leonard Catholic School Council as a fundraiser and basketball coach. She also volunteers with the Osgoode Youth Association in a range of capacities, from fundraising to teaching drama workshops.
Ward 21 – Rideau-Goulbourn
John Curry has enriched the community of Stittsville over the past 25 years as a volunteer on the boards of various organizations, including the Goulbourn Museum and Architectural Advisory Committee, and the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
For more than 50 years, Bob Easy has coached minor hockey in his community, teaching young athletes of all levels the skills of the game. He also frequently lends his support to various summer ball leagues as well as to the local community association.
A leader in the Ottawa community, Cyril Leeder founded the Bell Canada Cup charitable tournament and was instrumental in raising funds for a cancer treatment centre at The Ottawa Hospital. He is also very involved with the Ottawa Senators Foundation.
As president of the Manotick Culture, Parks and Recreation Association, Noel Norenius has worked on developing several community projects, including tree plantings, park pathways, a Remembrance Park, and the arena’s expansion.
Shaun Tolson has contributed to the village of Kars in many important ways, notably as president of the Kars Community Association and as a former volunteer with the Ottawa Police Service.
As a founding member of the Rideau Township Historical Society, Georgina Tupper has been volunteering her time as an archivist since 1974, documenting and preserving the history and heritage of the community.
Ward 22 – Gloucester-South Nepean
For nearly a decade, Lesia Gilbert has volunteered with the Riverside South Community Association where she was instrumental in raising thousands of dollars in support of the holiday toy drive.
Emily Prieur is making a significant impact on her community through her focussed volunteer initiatives and leadership. She is devoted to helping people in Aboriginal communities, in the north and in Ottawa, and she helped establish an organization that raises funds for children with disabilities like cerebral palsy and autism.
A social media champion of various charities in Ottawa, Stuart Schwartz created the #NoMoreBullies campaign, as well as the #StuStrong campaign, which has raised more than $270,000 in support of leukemia and stem cell research.
Jennifer Vollrath has been involved in numerous volunteer initiatives, notably as emcee of Cocktails for Cancer in support the Canadian Cancer Society, and has personally sponsored two newly arrived Syrian families.
Ward 23 – Kanata South
Henry Terrace Jacobs
Henry “Terry” Jacobs has always looked for new ways he can volunteer his time to make a difference in society. Through his involvement with the Royal Canadian Legion, the Kinsmen Club and as the co-establisher of the Canadian Volkssport Federation and the Kanata Wanderers, he has done just that.
Richard Lemieux’s volunteer efforts with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 593 have made the organization a better place. As sergeant-at-arms, he led the Remembrance Day parade, and as veterans services officer, he has organized veterans’ activities and has helped assist veterans with a variety of claims through Veterans Affairs Canada.
For the past 15 years, Rick Chase has used his success as an entrepreneur to advise multiple charitable and not-for-profit boards that are looking to make a positive impact with limited resources. He was also instrumental in raising $50,000 for the Kanata Food Bank.
In addition to being an active volunteer in youth sports leagues, Rob Nino is currently president of the Glen Cairn Community Association, which hosts special events throughout the year for Kanata residents.
FACT SHEET ON THE MEDAL FOR VOLUNTEERS
The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country in a wide range of fields. As an official Canadian honour, the Medal for Volunteers pays tribute to the dedication and exemplary commitment of volunteers.
Eligibility and Nomination Process
Any person who is a Canadian citizen and who has made significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to their community in Canada or abroad is eligible. Candidates must have demonstrated an exemplary commitment through their dedicated volunteerism. The Medal is awarded to individuals only, not to groups or couples. Non-Canadians are also eligible if their contributions have brought benefit or honour to Canadians or to Canada.
Anyone can nominate a volunteer by submitting an online nomination at caring.gg.ca in a few simple steps. There is no deadline for submissions. Nominations are accepted on an ongoing basis.
The Chancellery of Honours, part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, administers the program and receives all nominations. Each one is carefully researched and then reviewed by an advisory committee, which makes recommendations to the governor general. The selection process is non-partisan and merit-based. Presentation ceremonies are held throughout the year, in communities across Canada.
Description of the Medal
The Medal for Volunteers consists of a silver circular medal that is 36 mm in diameter with a suspension ring. The obverse depicts a contemporary effigy of the Sovereign, circumscribed with the inscription in capital letters of the Canadian Royal Title and the word “CANADA”, separated by two maple leaves.
The reverse indicates the ideas of caring and generosity, represented by two interlaced hearts. The sunburst pattern of the rim symbolizes the time that volunteers are giving and their actions. The ribbon uses the viceregal colours of blue and gold. The five gold stripes evoke the fingers of a hand, present in the Caring Canadian Award emblem, while the deep red colour is associated with royalty.
The design of the medal was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, based on a concept by Darcy DeMarsico of the Chancellery of Honours. The medal is manufactured by the Royal Canadian Mint at its Ottawa facility.