By Andrea Arnold
Five members of the Robson Valley communities were honoured for their contributions to the Robson Valley, on Monday in a special Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medallion presentation held by Member of Parliament Bob Zimmer.
McBride District Fire Chief Dave Hruby, and Ozalenka Alpine Club founder Glen Stanley, former McBride Community Paramedic Tanya Rich, Valemount Councillor Pete Pearson and Curtis Pawliuk, General Manager of the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA), were all in attendance at the presentation held at Cedars Christian School in Prince George on Monday. This past spring, MP Zimmer put out a call for nominations highlighting hard working first responders, community service, military, veterans and leaders in the community or any other citizen that deserves public recognition.
This year Queen Elizabeth II marks 70 years of service, becoming the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.
“In honour of this historic milestone, I will be presenting 70 deserving Canadians in our region with a unique medallion to commemorate this event and to recognize the achievements of our residents,” Zimmer said. “Various presentation ceremonies will take place throughout the riding of Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies between now and the end of this year.”
Several of the nominees said they had no idea they had been nominated until they received the email inviting them to the event. Chief Hruby experienced a mix of both confused and excited as he shared the email with his wife Rosemary.
“I still don’t have any idea what this is all about, but am extremely honoured at the nomination,” said Hruby on Sunday.
Stanley said it was a lovely surprise, and both Pearson and Pawliuk echoed that sentiment. Rich said that she was completely shocked and became quite emotional when she found out she’d been nominated.
Each of the medallions are numbered 1-70, ensuring each person’s award is unique.
Chief Hruby received medallion number 4. He was nominated for his service as fire chief for over 40 years and helping establish local highway rescue along with other first responders. He initiated the 9/11 Memorial March and has been a willing volunteer for community events throughout his time in McBride.
Following Monday’s event, Hruby said it was a huge honour.
“Thanks go out to my nominator, and the entire fire crew – I appreciate you all making me look good.”
Glen Stanley received medallion number 5 as an added birthday present. Stanley served as a Robson Peaks Pathfinders leader for nearly 30 years as well as established and led the Ozalenka Alpine Club for over 25. He has mentored countless youth in climbing, hiking and life skills, and is a celebrated local artist.
“It was a lovely privilege to be with all the other nominees and hear of their wonderful contributions to their communities,” said Stanley. “It’s been a privilege too, through the years, to be able to contribute in a small way to this community in beautiful Robson Valley.”
Medallion number 6 went to Tanya Rich. Rich served the McBride area as the Community Paramedic for several years. She trained community members in CPR and epi-pen use. She continues to assist seniors and other community members in need.
“This has been such a pleasant surprise and incredible honour to be one of the recipients,” she said.
Valemount’s Curtis Pawliuk received number 9 recognizing his efforts in the development of recreational areas in Valemount, including the bike park. He has played a big part in snowmobile safety and recreation, the promotion of tourism in the area as well as the conservation of recreational areas. He has also been involved in the Caribou closure situation.
Following the event, Pawliuk said, “This is an honour and I am grateful to be able to work for an organization like VARDA who take such pride in safety, stewardship and the promotion of public recreation.”
Medallion number 10 was presented to Pete Person for his service to the community of Valemount through his community service, and his involvement with the Royal Canadian Legion and veteran support. His contributions through his role as a Village Councillor and through Tourism Valemount were also listed as part of his valuable service.
“It was humbling to be in the ceremony along with so many others who do what we do,” said Pearson. “We don’t expect to be called up by the MP to be recognized in front of a bunch of people.”
Newly appointed Valemount CAO, Eric Depenau was awarded a medallion as well for his service to the Prince George community prior to his change in job. He was busy hosting an event in Valemount and was unable to attend in person, but his wife accepted his award on his behalf. Two other local individuals will also be receiving recognition at a later event as they were unable to attend Monday’s presentation.