A genuine ‘thank you’ to community builders

On Sunday, Feb. 10, I awarded Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals to the following: Mustaq Ahmed, Beth Aikenhead, Carol Anderson, (Jude) Frank Babineau, Anne Butler, Michael Chambers, Mary Christie, Fuad Chowdhury, Jean Cochrane, Carl Cosack, Elizabeth Dove-Djuric, Ruth Ewert, Edward Fullerton, Dan Hill, Jane Huggins, Mike Larson, Jane Lennox-King, Jim Lister, Bernie Lucht, Malcolm MacPherson, Chris McKhool, Bob Murdoch, Arie Nerman, Victoria Nolan, Helen Pearce, Catherine Porter, Wayne Roberts, Jeannie Smith, Harold Timms, Terry Watada, and Joan Wood.

Following are the words that I shared with them, their families and friends:

It is my privilege to represent a community with so many talented, skilled and generous people. So many among us are worthy and owed, somehow, our very public thanks and praise. I can tell you that you, the recipients of the Jubilee Medal, stand out in the community, but you are also representative of a community that is generous, skilled and talented. That much became obvious in sifting through the many nominations submitted – it was a great reminder of how lucky we are to live where we do.

So, congratulations to you all!  The commemorative medal that you are about to receive – the Jubilee Medal – marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth the Second’s ascension to the Throne as Queen of Canada.

Over the past year, Canadians have being honoured for significant contributions and accomplishments and/or distinguished service to their fellow citizens, to their community and to their country.

As a Member of Parliament, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say, I have been deemed to qualify for this Jubilee Medal. Personally, I think it’s a bit premature. I can only tell you that by the time the voters retire me from this vocation – or I retire myself – I hope to have met the qualifying standard and be as worthy of this honour as the rest of you.

Also as a Member of Parliament, I have been provided with 30 Jubilee Medals to distribute to those who, in my judgment, have met that standard.  I assure you that that is not an easy task.

With just 30 medals to give out, that made choosing the few amongst the 110,000 residents of Beaches-East York a big challenge.  And, of course, there are many more who are eligible for consideration by virtue of their influence or impact on our community even though they don’t reside here amongst us.

You will find, I think, when you get an opportunity to meet and chat with each other, that what all of you have in common with each other is a certain modesty – a modesty entirely inconsistent with your accomplishments and the gifts you have shared with this community and this country.

Beyond that modesty, your gifts to us, to this community and our country, have come in many forms: words – spoken, written and sung – music, ideas, time, triumphs and courage. But they are all gifts of such great generosity and value that it was only ever right that we find an opportunity to say thank you. The 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne has provided us with that opportunity.

Sometimes we say “thank you” as a matter of course, as a matter of politeness.  But you will know that there are times when we say “thank you” because we can’t contain it.  It is an irrepressible urge and is done with joy and enthusiasm when the gift we have received is so great.

This, today, is that kind of “thank you” to you – one given with great joy and enthusiasm – because your gifts to us have been so great.  And, I can tell you, that it is a great privilege for me to be the one to say it, on behalf of our community.

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Well said Mr. Kellway. And I would have to say given your commitment to our community to date you will have most certainly have filled the prerequisite of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.

Keep up the great work and I wish you smooth sailing and following seas.

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