Five people from Sylvan Lake or with ties to the community were among 31 deserving Central Albertans who were presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals by MP Earl Dreeshen last Wednesday.
The commemorative medals were created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. During the year of celebrations, 60,000 deserving Canadians will be recognized with the medals.
The local people recognized were Dr. Brad Bahler, Pat Blakely, Amanda Lindhout, Mary Elizabeth Reaume and Earl Raymond Chadwick.
Following are the citations read during the ceremony which took place at Westerner Park’s Harvest Centre.
Dr. Brad Bahler was born and raised in Sylvan Lake. After completing medical school he chose to return to his home community. Dr. Bahler is the lead physician on a committee that is lobbying for an Urgent Care Centre for Sylvan Lake and area and is the head of the Wolf Creek PCN. He is being honoured today, as well, for his work on behalf of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Pat Blakely is the past mayor of Sylvan Lake and a 30 year school board trustee. She is leaving an extensive legacy to the Town of Sylvan Lake including the C.P. Blakely Elementary School that was named after her. As an active member of the Sylvan Lake Archives, she is entrusted to keep the rich history of Sylvan Lake alive and available to all interested parties.
Amanda Lindhout, a native of Sylvan Lake, was a freelance journalist. In 2008, she journeyed into Somalia where she was kidnapped and held hostage for over 15 months. Through this experience, Amanda was inspired to found the Global Enrichment Foundation which dedicates resources to improving the struggles of the Somalia people with specific focus on empowering Somali women and all women across the globe. Unfortunately, Amanda is not able to be here today — but her step father Perry Neitz is here to accept the award on her behalf.
Mary Elizabeth Reaume is tonight’s oldest recipient at 102. At 17 she began teaching students from Grades 1-8 in a one room school, as well as English to their immigrant parents. She was instrumental in starting the Friendship Centre, which is now Sylvan Lake Seniors Centre. She was always a leader in fundraising, from her church to the Fish and Game Association and the Lion’s Club. She started the ‘It’s New to You’ second hand store to provide affordable clothing for Sylvan Lake residents and was an active volunteer until she was 95. Currently residing at Michener Extendicare, we are very pleased to have Mary here with us this evening.
Earl Raymond Chadwick is a World War II Naval Veteran who served during the Battle of the Atlantic. Mr. Chadwick has been a lifelong athletic organizer and participant, formerly serving as the director of Red Deer Athletic Association and as a tournament organizer both in Canada and Europe. In 1970 he was the Red Deer Sportsman Of The Year. Currently he spends much of his time visiting shut-ins and taking them for outings in the community.