By Laura Lennie, News Staff
Fourteen Stoney Creekers were awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the federal government last week.
Jagtar Singh Chahal, David Thomas Allen Dedrick, Roy Ellis, Tina Fougere, Sherry Revesz-Lenders, Thomas Li, Donald John McMaster, Ann Paul, Lori Raudnask, Michael Rehill, Jagtar Singh, Robert Slattery, George Stal and George Wallace received the medal, which pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne and recognizes those who have made significant contributions to their communities.
NDP MP Wayne Marston presented the medals during a ceremony last Thursday at the Stoney Creek Municipal Service Centre.
Individuals nominated candidates from their community or organization for the honour. A selection committee considered all nominations and selected the recipients.
A total of 60,000 individuals will be awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal this year across Canada.
“The important thing about it is, when people receive a nomination from their peer group or from their community group, the respect is shown to them. We send it on and then the governor general’s office has final say in these, so this has been validated,” Marston said. “I’m quite thrilled and they’re all very deserving of this honour. There’s a cross section of people here and it’s exciting, it’s nice to see.”
Jagtar Singh Chahal
Chahal is the chair and chief executive officer of Hamilton Cab. He has been active across Hamilton community in various non-governmental organizations, promoting civic inclusiveness to enhance the understanding of Hamilton’s religious, social and cultural diversity.
“I’m very happy and honoured to be receiving this medal. I came from India; Canada is my new home, I really love it here and there are lots of opportunities. I love being here. It’s the best country in the world.”
David Thomas Allen Dedrick
Dedrick has coached house league hockey, house league and rep baseball and has acted as a period blacksmith at Battlefield House Museum and Park and Balls Falls for more than 15 years. He also volunteers at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Wesley Urban Ministries.
“It’s a real pleasure to be here, it’s an honour. There are a lot of people that are more deserving than me, but it’s very nice to be recognized. It’s very humbling.”
Ellis has dedicated his time to ensuring the sacrifices made by soldiers, past and present are not forgotten. He has organized remembrance rallies, candle light vigils in military cemeteries and has attended more than 100 repatriation ceremonies.
“I’m very honoured, to say the least. In my wildest dreams, I never thought that I would be nominated and be awarded one (a medal), so it’s a very great honour not only for me, but also for our organization (North Wall Riders Association) and what we do to raise awareness and funds for the veterans. It’s nice to get recognized for all our hard work and efforts; I just wish everybody in our organization could have got one because they deserve it as well.”
Fougere is the founder and CEO of the Canadian National Autism Foundation. She has made significant contributions to medical research through her own experience with her son with autism and has spent countless hours organizing autism events, while also sharing her knowledge and expertise with schools, parents and the community.
“I’m very humbled by the award, but I don’t feel that I deserve it. I feel it should go to all the volunteers that have supported me and to especially my son and daughter. They’re why I do all that I do.”
Revesz-Lenders is well-known for her tireless efforts to save the turtle ponds in Stoney Creek from a proposed development. She is a passionate and committed environmental leader and serves as chair of the board of Environment Hamilton.
“It’s an honour. I feel humbled. There are so many volunteers out there that do so much. To be recognized for all the little things you’ve done is pretty amazing.”
Li is a dedicated member of the community. He has provided significant support to the United Way, Red Cross, City Kidz, veterans organizations, Canadian Forces members and diverse communities over the last 40 years.
“I feel great. I’ve always liked helping people that needed it. I will continue to do the best I can and work harder for the community. I didn’t expect this, but it’s great, it’s an honour.”
Donald John McMaster
McMaster is a lifetime member of the Hamilton Naval Veteran’s Association and has volunteered for more than 30 years to members past and present of the military. He also held the position of liaison officer for the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Triumph 308.
“I’m absolutely honoured. It’s fantastic. I am most honoured.”
Paul lends her time to a number of causes in the community and beyond. She acts as the Hamilton area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child year-round, collects shoes and boots for local charities twice a year and gathers household goods and clothing for Hamilton’s Eva Rothwell Centre.
“It’s very humbling, it’s wonderful, to receive this medal. I’m amongst very good company and I think it’s marvelous that they have things like this. This is not the reason people volunteer but it’s nice to be recognized in a different way and by the Queen, on her special year that she’s honouring others, that’s really terrific too.”
Raudnask has dedicated 35 years to volunteering. She has run to end breast cancer, as well as sat on numerous boards and fundraising committees at local schools, the Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce, Courage to Cope and in her church.
“It’s an honour and privilege to be given an award from our Queen. It was a very emotional moment and one of the highlights of my life. We serve in our community and country because we want to give back and help others, expecting nothing in return. When we are recognized for doing what we love, it is a very special moment.”
Rehill has served the community as chair of St. John Ambulance and Alternatives for Youth, as well as co-chair for Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s Anti-Poverty Task Force.
“It’s a great feeling to receive this medal. I’m honoured and humbled.”
Singh is the volunteer community outreach liaison on behalf of the local Sikh temple. He has been an advocate for educating the community on Sikh culture and its beliefs.
“I’m honoured. I was surprised when I found out I would be receiving this medal. I’ve always enjoy doing stuff in the community and helping out others.”
Slattery’s contributions range from coaching basketball and baseball to chairing numerous boards and as a member of many Stoney Creek organizations, councils and committees. He also has served as president of Club 60 and vice-president of New Horizons Seniors.
“I’m very honoured. It’s nice to be recognized, so it’s terrific. It’s wonderful. It’s nice to be recognized at any time.”
Stal has spent countless hours assisting cadets and offering his service to veterans and his community. He also volunteers with his church, Friends of HMCS Haida and the Hamilton Signals Association.
“I feel humbled by this honour because I know a lot of other people that were probably more deserving than I was. I don’t do all the volunteering just so I can get something in the future for it; you just do it because you like doing it and you like helping people. I get personal satisfaction out of helping people.”
Wallace has been involved with the Winona Peach Festival since 1975 and serves as a director. He has also coached minor league hockey and prescoaches local women’s hockey.
“I’m just overly excited and very surprised to get it. When I got Wayne’s letter saying I was going to get presented this, I was overwhelmed. I’m very pleased and very honoured.”