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Queen's medal honours spirit of community giving and support

by Lawrence Lannoo

Five area residents were recognized for their contributions to community and country January 17th, each receiving an award with royal significance during a ceremony in Brandon.

The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal, which recognizes the 70th anniversary of her ascension to the throne, was awarded to 1,000 recipients across the province.

As explained in the invitation letter to the event: “For 70 years, The Late Queen exemplified the true meaning of public service. Her Platinum Jubilee is a welcome occasion to highlight those, who, like Her Late Majesty, dedicated themselves to the service of family, community and country.”

Among those selected in the constituency of Spruce Woods were Dennis Gullett of Wawanesa; Robert Gudnason of Glenboro; Lorelie Mitchell of Glenboro; and Peter Sawatzky of Glenboro.

As well the late Gladwyn Scott of Carberry, which is in the provincial riding of Agassiz, was posthumously honoured with a medal.

The awards to the Spruce Woods residents were presented by Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, Lieutenant Governor Anita R. Neville, and Spruce Woods MLA Cliff Cullen.

The ceremony, held in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building at Brandon University, honored 80 residents living in eight provincial ridings in the western portion of the province.

Each MLA, with input from local government, nominated 10 residents in their constituency who demonstrated a devotion to their communities through their actions of support and contributions toward their well-being.

Cullen, speaking January 19th, said the medal was meant to highlight the positive role Manitobans can play in their communities and the constructive contributions they can make toward society as a whole.

“We thought it was a nice way to recognize contributions to local communities and to Manitoba as a whole,” he said.

Dennis Gullett, who has served the Wawanesa area in both fire department and ambulance roles for 31 and 27 years respectively, said it was a privilege to receive the medal.

He said he enjoyed his volunteer efforts in the area, which included assisting in the construction of a new pool at the Wawanesa Water Park.

Robert Gudnason also served in a variety of volunteer roles in the Glenboro area through time, including for the fire department, the golf course, kids’ baseball programs, and the Build-A-Barn efforts to construct a new rink in the town.

“I am honoured for sure,” he said, adding he was supported by many other volunteers in his activities to support the community.

He said his wife Angie shared in his appreciation of the medal.

“She is pretty happy,” he said. “She is the one who put it on Facebook.”

Lorelie Mitchell’s contributions to the community included supporting the Glenboro and Area Foundation, the Raystone Memorial Center, the Glenboro Health Auxiliary and a variety of other causes.

“I am quite pleased,” she said, considering the medal’s significance. “It is interesting to be recognized for having done things in the community.”

Peter Sawatzky, the Glenboro artist whose nature sculptures are renowned nationally and internationally, said he was grateful for the local and provincial support he has received in pursuing his artistic visions and reproducing them in sculptures.

“To me, this medal is as much their award as it is mine,” referring to the supporters, local and across the province, who have encouraged and respected his creations.

Speaking of the Glenboro area in particular, Sawatzky said, “I have been here for 47 years, and I love this community.”

Carberry resident Gladwyn Scott passed away in August of last year, but his contributions to the province were not overlooked in the selection process for honorees.

As noted on the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum website: “He was a founder of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame and has served as their newsletter editor for the past decade. For his contributions to baseball in his province, Scott has been inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.”

Scott’s wife Marguerite accepted the Jubilee medal on his behalf during the Brandon ceremony.

“He would have been pleased, particularly because (Agassiz MLA) Eileen Clarke put his name forward and nominated him.

“He considered her a very good friend.”


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