Local residents honoured during award presentation
A number of Airdronians were among the 180 Albertans honoured at the Red and White Club in Calgary, Oct. 9.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Lieutenant Governor Donald S. Ethell and Wild Rose MP Blake Richards presented the local residents with Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals for outstanding community service.
“It’s a great honour to be here with all of you today,” said Harper.
“You are the people who make a difference in our community. Citizens who give of themselves are a means for all of us to share a better tomorrow. (When I see all of you) I am filled with great admiration and grand hope.”
Dick Buchanan, the owner and operator of Air Alta Insurance, has been one of Airdrie’s most active community members for decades, volunteering with the Lions, Rotary and Shriners as well as the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce.
Al Jones, the owner and publisher of ADvance Distribution and Here’s The Scoop, has been an active volunteer for years, serving the community with a variety of local organizations including the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, Airdrie Air Show and the Airdrie 55+ Games. (See story on page 12).
Former NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy has become a spokesman for victims of abuse, and is a volunteer with the International Olympic Committee. Kennedy has also been active in many community efforts in the area, including the Wild Rose Hockey Challenge.
Master Corporal Travis Lanoway is a veteran who has served in Bosnia and Afghanistan, and is now a paramedic with the City of Calgary.
He has volunteered with the Order of St. John, the Museum of the Regiments and Emergency Medical Services charities.
Marilyn Lind created Manna House, a ministry with Airdrie Alliance Church that serves communities in and around the city of Airdrie with an evening of homemade food and live entertainment.
Airdrie’s youngest recipient, Stephen McPhee, 11, has helped thousands in need through Stephen’s Backpacks Society, which fills backpacks with school supplies, shoes, clothing and toys for those who cannot afford to purchase these items. (See story on page 11).
Lori McRitchie is the executive director of the Airdrie Food Bank, she also chaired Tour de Airdrie, raising thousands for victims of family violence.
Sergeant Weldon Stacey is a veteran of World War II who flew in North Africa and the Middle East, safely delivering supplies and VIPs throughout the region as well as patrolling oil pipelines.
Following the war he worked for Air Canada and kept flying as an instructor with the aviation club in Calgary until he was 65.
Paralympian and resident Earle Connor and Olympic swim official Shane Esau also received medals. (See story on page 20).
Mayor Peter Brown attended the ceremony in support of the Airdrie residents.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I was just thrilled to be there when the Prime Minister was presenting them with their medals. It’s a reflection on how many great people we have living in Airdrie. I am amazingly proud.”
The Diamond Jubilee Medal was created in honour of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne. Unveiled on Feb. 6, the medal will be given to 60,000 Canadians by the end of the year.
According to the Office of the Prime Minister, the medal is a symbol of the achievements of Canadians from all walks of life and the Queen’s own service and devotion to the nation.
“It is my honour to congratulate you for all of your hard work,” said Ethell. “You have all done great things on behalf of all your fellow citizens.”
Richards presented medals to eight of the 10 Airdrie and area recipients.
“All of the recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal have provided invaluable service to our community, and I was proud to recommend each of them to the Governor General,” said Richards. “My hope is that their example serves to inspire Canadians, just as Her Majesty has, for years to come.”
The commemorative medal depicts a crowned image of Her Majesty, the Queen of Canada.
The reverse side features a central diamond shape overlaying a pattern of diamonds and maple leaves.
The design also includes the dates 1952 and 2012, as well as the Royal Crown above the letters EIIR, (Elizabeth II Regina, the latter word meaning Queen in Latin). Finally, the medal includes the motto “VIVAT REGINA,” meaning, “Long live The Queen!”
See a story on page 17 about a local farmer who also received the medal.