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Nine recognized for community service
Nine residents of the city and region were awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals at a ceremony at the Inn of the North Monday morning, commemorating not only the queen’s contributions over her 60 years as reigning monarch but individuals who make a difference each day in their communities as well.
MLAs Pat Bell and Shirley Bond were on hand to present each medal after recipients were piped in by Sheldon Clare, who was honoured with a medal on a previous occasion.
Andrea Mackenzie accepted the first medal, awarded to her husband, Dr. Jack Mackenzie, who passed away mid-January.
It was an emotional presentation for Bond, who spoke of the doctor through tears. Bond explained she was delivered by Mackenzie, and he was on hand when her twins were born. He was also the doctor who cared for her parents, often making house calls.
“Our family has had a long connection with the Mackenzie family,” she explained.
Bell introduced Dick Voneugen. Among his many accomplishments, Voneugen, who Bell described as a very active senior, made the ice oval a reality and is integral to many sports programs in the city.
“I’ve never actually thought of Dick as a senior before,” Bell said.
Bond said Dr. Michelle Sutter was the lone female in a male-dominated specialty in the city for many years. Besides being active in organizations supporting health, women and the community, Sutter advocated for the cancer centre, bringing the idea to the attention of Bond over and over again.
“She said I need you to be an aggressive advocate for a cancer centre in northern B.C. She was an enormous catalyst.”
Bell explained he’s known Murray Sadler, QC, for about 25 years.
“He is one of the strongest champions of northern B.C.,” he said.
Bell added, among many services, Sadler played a key role in getting a university to northern B.C. and advocated for the cancer centre.
Syl Meise, Bond said, has about 50 years in volunteer service to the community, particularly the Pineview area.
From sports to seniors projects to drama productions, she said Meise has been active in beginning and serving through many programs. And he is planning to continue the same sort of lifestyle in the future, she said.
“Syl has volunteered for the 2015 Canada Winter Games.”
Robert Leslie Waldie, better known as Les, Bell said, might be best-known as the campaign manager for the Canadian Cancer Society Northern Lodge. Active on several boards, Waldie was also part of the 2015 bid committee for the Canada Winter Games.
“He is absolutely committed to health and welfare through corporate programs to employees,” Bell said.
Kathy Nadalin was chosen by Premier Christy Clark to receive one of the medals.
Bond said among her many services, Nadalin helps ensure 200 Christmas bags are created and delivered to local seniors who might otherwise have little to commemorate the holiday. A volunteer at the Elder Citizens Recreation Association, she is not only president, but also does the grant writing, acts as ad director, scrubs the place when she needs to, and makes cookie dough “by the tonne”, according to Bond.
Bell said Thomas Bowden Michael’s medal was presented at his funeral.
“He was a friend and a mentor,” Bell said.
A Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, Michael was the first pilot in the province to fly the Spitfire. A member of the Legion and Rotary Club, Michael spent 30 years in the north as a businessman.
“He is someone B.C. will dearly miss,” he said.
Pete Amyoony, Bond said, could not make it to the ceremony.
A member of several associations advocating for seniors, Bond said Amyoony is also an old-time dance instructor and writes a column about gardening.
“It’s a humbling process to actually look at the people who live in Prince George and the region,” Bond said. “As a life-long resident of Prince George, it is one of the things I am most humbled by.
“Where’s Maclean’s when you need them?”