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(Updated 10:30 p.m., Jan. 25)

30 local residents receive Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Nick O'Connell and Zybina Richards pose with Ottawa-Orléans MP Royal Galipeau after receiving their Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medals on Friday. Fred Sherwin/Photo


The floor House of Commons was the scene of a very special ceremony on Friday as 30 area residents were bestowed with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by Ottawa-Orléans MP Royal Galipeau.

The recipients received their medals in front of more than 200 family and friends who occupied the Commons seats usually reserved for the MPs.

More than 487 Ottawa-Orléans residents were nominated for the honour by the public at large. Their names were submitted to Mr. Galipeau's office and then vetted by a nonpartisan committee of past medal recipients who chose the final group of 30.

A total of 60,000 Canadians have received medals during the past year including more than 60 area residents. Ottawa-Orléans MPP Phil McNeely presided over a ceremony in July in which 21 local residents received a medal

The 30 recipients honoured on Friday included prominent businessman and philanthropist Andre Lacroix from Lacroix Source for Sports, Special Olympian Ada Chan, Fallingbrook Community Association president Zybina Richards and former Cumberland mayor and Ottawa-Orléans MPP Brian Coburn.

Ms. Richards was especially touched by the fact that she had been chosen to receive a medal. She immigrated to Canada in 1989 and settled in Fallingbrook in 1990 with her husband and their young son. Within a year she was volunteering at her son's school and joined the parent council.

Not long afterwards she joined the Fallingbrook Community Association and would eventually become president, a position she has held for the past eight years. As president she was the lead organizer of the Fallingbrook Canada Day Celebration, the Fallingbrook Family Fun Days, the Fallingbrook Garage Sale and the Fallingbrook Community Volunteer Awards. She is also a member of the Greater Orleans Canada Day Celebration board of directors.

"This is very special," said Ms. Richards who will celebrate the 10th anniversary of her Canadian citizenship ceremony later this year. " I am profoundly grateful to receive this award. Canada opened its doors to me in 1989 and I wanted to give back to this blessed country by helping my community and trying to make it a better place."

Nick O'Connell has been a community volunteer for as long as he can remember. The 26-year-old helped his parents set up for the Fallingbrook Canada Day Celebration when he was just four years old. Since been involved in practically every Fallingbrook Community Association event since then, and for the past three years he's been the outdoor rink manager responsible for three outdoor rinks. Like Ms. Richards, he is also a member of the Greater Orléans Canada Day Celebration organizing committee.

"I was very surprised when I found out, but I'm very honoured because my mother received one in November," said Mr. O'Connell. "Being so young and to have done so much means a lot. It means that younger people in the community can get things done. It doesn't matter how young you are, you can still do things."

Orléans Young Players artistic director Kathi Langston also received a medal for her work in introducing and encouraging young people to pursue the arts. She was also a driving force in bringing the Shenkman Arts Centre to Orléans.

Cadet cadre instructor Maj. Tim McKee received a medal for his dedication and devotion to the develop.m.ent of youth through the Cadet program. Denis St. Denis is a lifelong volunteer and past recipient of the City of Ottawa's Civic Appreciation Award.

Former St. Matthew High School student Jessie McWatty was honoured for having volunteered more than 1200 hours, mostly as a camp counselor. She has also been a swimming instructor and a CHEO Telethon call attendant.

Gerry Dust is a partner in the law firm Dust, Evans, Grandmaitre. He received his medal for his many fundraising efforts including acting as a co-chair on the fundraising committee for the Orleans Y. He is also a past president of the former Cumberland Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of the Orléans Chamber. In 1999 he received the Chamber Champion Award for lifetime service.

Other recipients include Les Chansonniers founder Gilles Julien; past director of the Ottawa Childcare Providers Resource Network, Andrea Lee Gingras; CTV's David O'Byrne; Women's World Cup and Olympic soccer referee Carol Anne Chénard; Ottawa Police constable, community volunteer and football coach Stephen Carroll; student volunteer Emily Joy Beaudoin; Snowsuit Fund director Joanne Andrews; retored Major and veteran community volunteer Jean-Claude Allard whose wife Élisabeth Allard received a medal for community service in July; Royal Canadian Legion executive member Ken Green; former Carlsbad Springs Community Association president Denis Labrèche; Notre-Dame cemetary "field of honour" caretaker Denise Laframboise; St. Peter High School choir director and performing arts teacher Bernard Leger; former Canadian Forces member and mental health advocate Ross MacDonald; Fédération des femmes canadiennes d’Orléans and Société franco-ontarienne du patrimoine et de l’histoire d’Orléans director Françoise Miller; Carlsbad Springs Community Association member and Optimist Ghislaine Monette; St. John Ambulance volunteer and Friends of the Ottawa Public Library member Cpt. Colin Plows; Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada director John Reid; Le Prélude public school teacher and choir director Michel Rozon; former AOE Arts Council executive director Christine Tremblay and elementary school teacher Katherine Shaw.

In addressing the recipients, Mr. Galipeau thanked them on behalf of a "grateful nation" for their passion and dedication to their fellow man and to their community.

"We are assembled here today to honour 30 of these selfless citizens whose driving motivation is to help others; to help their community grow; and to make the best country in the world even better," Mr. Galipeau said.

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was struck to celebrate significant contributions and achievements Canadians and to recognize those who, like Her Majesty, have dedicated themselves to service to their fellow citizens, their community and their country.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

 

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