While bringing you a blog once a week does not seem like a lot of work, often it takes days of digging and sorting and frustration before something can be put into a story that I feel I want to share with you.
Some over the years have been better than others. But I keep pushing on. The efforts I have chosen to spend so much time on, bring family stories together, help to put new pieces of the puzzle in place and often identify new missing pieces. But all the efforts are exerted to bring back the voices of heroes that have long since faded. Putting more life into them helps us to not only preserve our history and heritage, but also helps us remember who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going.
The stories told in this place are, for the most part, about volunteers who came forward to answer the call at a time of need. Volunteering for the most part possibly, that led to shaping their own lives and that of their place of birth, or in many a case, place they chose to serve and perhaps later reside.
Separated from family for months, or years saw the men... and women in many a case, coming home with the unheard of PTSD, or life long injuries and disease, lost limbs and often the loss of life.
Volunteering can start at an early age.. the selling of freshie in your front yard, or the delivering of the morning paper when the neighbour paperboy..or girl.. is sick in bed. As you grow older the more serous causes come to light and all still cry out for volunteerism.
Statistics Canada tells us that in 2010 alone, over 13.3 MILLION Canadians aged over 15, did volunteer work of one sort or another. That amounted to an equivalent of 2 BILLION hrs worked. And that would total just over 1.1 Million full time jobs.
And some times, while not expecting it, you get a nice thank you or pat on the back.
He pioneered the creation of what became known as the Caring Canadian Award. This program allowed anyone in Canada or beyond, to nominate anyone else in Canada, or beyond, whom the nominator believed was deserving of recognition for their tireless, extensive and far reaching efforts without any compensation, to improve the lot of others in Canada.
Plans called for the presentation of an award lapel pin, as shown above, a certificate and letter personally signed by the Governor General. If possible the presentation would include all the possible pomp and ceremony, and take place at Ottawa. Plans also allowed for Lt. Governor's or other high officials to present the award when trips to the capital were not possible.
Nominations came in from all across the country and from those a committee selected 116 recipients in that first year. (14 of these came to BC residents.) Each received the above shown lapel pin, the letter and certificate in impressive ceremonies at Ottawa and across the country.
The lapel pin above is in the colours of blue and gold, the same that appear of the Vice Regal flag. Thus, the connection is shown between the award and the Governor General of Canada.
The maple leaf symbolizes the people of Canada and their spirit. The heart depicts the open heartedness of the volunteer. The outstretched hand portrays the boundless generosity. The helping hand supports the maple leaf.
Over the years hundreds of men and women, and even youth, (one I found only 13 years of age,) were honoured with the presentation of the Caring Canadian Award.
In 2015 the then Governor General, the Right Honorable David Johnston received permission from HRH Queen Elizabeth ll to upgrade the Caring Canadian Award. His announcement in July advised that in keeping with the earlier award, it was being upgraded to an actual medal. It would join the list of the country's official medals and would also be awarded retroactively to all holders of the Caring Canadian Award.
On 12 April 2016, the first ever awarding of the new medal took place at Ottawa. Fifty five very proud Canadian men and women stood at Rideau Hall and had their medals presented by the Governor General in person.
While the medal is part of the official list of honours, it should be noted that this medal, called the Sovereign Medal for Volunteers, is the ONLY medal for volunteerism awarded by the Governor General of Canada.
The front of the silver medal, which is made by the Canadian Mint, has a current image of the sovereign and the inscription of the Canadian Royal Title and the word "Canada" separated by two maple leafs.
The reverse reflects the ideas of caring and generosity and is represented by the two interlaced hearts. The sunburst pattern along the medal's rim reflect the time the volunteer gives and the actions they have performed.
In the fall of that first year of the new medal, I was advised that as a result of then about 17 years of research regarding the Canadian recipients of the Medal of Honor, I had been nominated for, and selected as one of the recipients of this most attractive and prestigious medal.
After the introductions each new recipient was invited to the platform met with and shook hands with our Lt Governor of the time, Mrs Judith Guichon, had our pictures taken individually with the LG and listened as a brief description of our volunteer efforts were read out to our fellow inductees and a room full of honoured guests and family members.
This followed with a wonderful reception and the above photo being taken. I am standing in row two at the centre and behind our former Lt. Governor. Don't confuse me with the other guy with all the hair.
Over the years there have been thousands of Caring Canadian Awards and later the Sovereign Medal for Volunteers awarded. From my calculations I believe that a total of 589 of these came to British Columbia volunteers. About 82 came to the greater Victoria area.
And of the 589, about 214 were the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers.
Three days ago our new Lt. Governor presided over another ceremony at Government House here in Victoria. At that time another 41 recipients received their medals in front of a packed room of dignitaries, family and friends.
You can see this live at... http://video.web.gov.bc.ca/gh/live/
You can see the list of recipients and their citations at...
A number of these recipients were either in or connected to the Canadian Forces or the legion or both.
I wish to congratulate all recipients, but in particular the military men and women listed below...
In Canada, Here's how... go the the Governor General's website...
That's enough for tonight. See you next week.