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Rossland resident receives Diamond Jubilee Medal

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September 11, 2012 · 4:17 PM
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Bobbi LaFond shakes hands with Senator Nancy Greene-Raine, after receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Monday night in Rossland. / Arne Petryshen photo

Rossland resident and tireless volunteer Bobbi LaFond was presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal on Monday night.

People packed into the Rossland Legion Hall to be a part of the ceremony, where representatives from many diverse organizations LaFond has been a part of talked of her importance to the community.

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne, the medal is given to prominent volunteers in the community.

Kim LaFond, Bobbi’s brother introduced speakers, while Rossland Mayor Greg Granstrom, John Greene and Senator Nancy Greene-Raine sat alongside Bobbi at the front.

Over the years, LaFond has played an instrumental part in organizations such as Scouts Canada, Rossland United Church Women’s Organization, Girl Guides, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Rossland Health Care Auxiliary, Meals on Wheels, Rossland Legion and the Rossland Curling Club.

John Greene, owner of Rossland Hardware, was a part of the nomination committee.

“A couple weeks ago I got a call from Nancy wondering if there was someone in town worthy of this medal,” Greene said.

After asking around it was LaFond’s name that came up over and over.

“It was without a question… Bobbi LaFond was our nominee.”

When it was finally time for LaFond to talk after receiving the medal, she couldn’t read her notes because of the tears in her eyes.

“I’m thankful for having lived most of my life in this community and raise our family here,” LaFond said. “I volunteered as a way to pay back the community.”

She said that when she was raising her 15 children, it was with the help of school teachers, coaches and other leaders that helped.

“You don’t do it alone, you do it with everyone,” she went on. “Over the years, I’m thankful for being able to volunteer. I met a lot of great people in Rossland. I’ll never ever forget all of the people that I’ve known and the good times that we’ve had.”

LaFond described her career of volunteerism as “doing a few things here and there,” and said it’s meant as much to her, as anybody she’s volunteered with.

Laurie Karn, who spoke on behalf of Rossland Fall Fair, Rossland Curling Club and 2nd Rossland Cub Mothers, said LaFond had turned her on to volunteering when her oldest son joined Beavers in 1985.

“Within the first few weeks, Bobbi had somehow signed me up with the cub mothers auxiliary,” Karn said. “Before long, I was helping at bottle drives, serving at teas, cooking and cleaning up at banquets and involved in many other events and fundraisers.”

LaFond also persuaded Karn to join the Fall Fair Society, which brings Rossland together to celebrate old-fashioned community.

“That is what’s important to Bobbi, her community,” she said. “She is an inspiring example of dedication, commitment and service to this community.”

In 1978, Lafond and Deyanne Davies started Rangers together, a group for grades 10, 11 and 12 high school girls. Davies recalled she had wondered to herself at the time: “Why would Bobbi, who is so busy with her family and her community stuff... take one night a week to work with other people’s teenagers? (Bobbi) responded by saying that she wanted to do something for herself for a change.”

Senator Nancy Greene-Raine awarded the medal. She was also the one who called LaFond last week to tell her she would be honoured.

Greene-Raine noted the influence LaFond had on her large family and the community.

“Our country grew with big families and nowadays we don’t have big families anymore,” she said. “I think we’ve become a little bit selfish. It’s truly wonderful to see a family like yours, a family that is so strong.”