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Platinum Jubilee Medal presentation recognizes community contributions

Posted on 31 January 2023 by Ryan Dahlman
Lieutenant Governor (Lt.-Gov.) Russ Mirasty presenting to Devon Oman.

By Matthew Liebenberg

mliebenberg@prairiepost.com

There was a sense of excitement and gratitude at a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal presentation in Swift Current.

The medal ceremony took place at the InnovationPlex on Jan. 20 to recognize the achievements and contributions of recipients to their community and society.

Lieutenant Governor (Lt.-Gov.) Russ Mirasty made the medal presentations to 108 recipients. He noted during his remarks that the Swift Current event was one of the largest Platinum Jubilee Medal presentations he attended since the first ceremony in Regina in August 2022.

“I’m grateful to every person and organization that took the time to nominate today’s medal recipients from this region of the province,” he said. “It’s important to reward and encourage those who helped to make our world a better place to live in. Receiving a medal laid in honour of our late sovereign is a wonderful way of doing just that.”

This commemorative medal was created to celebrate the 70th anniversary year of Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne and it became a tribute to her service after her death on Sept. 8, 2022.

“This medal program is an excellent way to commemorate her majesty’s devotion to service while celebrating the dedicated service of people like you in this room today,” Mirasty noted. “This is only the second Saskatchewan commemorative medal, the first being issued in our centennial in 2005.”

Saskatchewan is one of six provinces that created a Platinum Jubilee Medal program. The other provinces are Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Alberta.

“A platinum jubilee is unprecedented and so deserves meaningful recognition,” he said. “Special events and programs were initiated throughout the Commonwealth to celebrate the late Queen’s extraordinary lifetime of service. Our province has chosen to award a total of 7,000 platinum jubilee medals, including the medals being presented to recipients here.”

He thanked medal recipients for generously giving their time and talents in service of their communities and the province.

“You are positive role models for your neighbours, colleagues, family, friends and all those who you interact with on a daily basis,” he said. “The Jubilee Medal is presented to you as a symbol of gratitude for all that you do for our province. I hope that you take great pride in receiving and wearing this medal, because your contributions and accomplishments make us all proud and they do make a difference.”

The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for Saskatchewan is struck in copper and plated with nickel. The circular medal is attached to a ribbon with a new arrangement of the blue, red and white colours found on the other four medals issued during Queen Elizabeth’s reign in 1953, 1977, 2002 and 2012.

The front of the medal features the crowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and the other side bears the Saskatchewan Shield of Arms with the Queen’s Royal Cypher and dates of the reign at the top. It is separated by a pair of western red lilies, which is the provincial flower, and the phrase Vivat Regina (Long live The Queen) at the base. Each medal recipient also received a maroon medal box and a folder that includes a certificate signed by Lt.-Gov. Mirasty and Premier Scott Moe.

The ceremony in Swift Current was emceed by Major Jason Quilliam, the Saskatchewan government’s chief of protocol and secretary of the Saskatchewan Honours Advisory Council. He informed the audience that Queen Elizabeth approved the design of the Saskatchewan medal.

“Her late Majesty personally saw and approved the design of both the medal and ribbon,” he said. “I can tell you that, because I sent her all the drawings to England back in April and received a response from the private secretary saying that her Majesty approves and is pleased to have a medal handed over in her name.”

Medals presented to recipients during the Swift Current ceremony recognized their contributions as volunteers and their service in a variety of areas, including agriculture, arts, business and commerce, Canadian Armed Forces, emergency services, health, politics, and social and community services.

Jean Allen, who has been a Swift Current resident since 1963, volunteered with various organizations over the years. She was born in January 1927, nearly nine months after Queen Elizabeth’s birth in April 1926.

Allen said it was wonderful to receive the Platinum Jubilee Medal. Her volunteer activities in the community included canvassing in support of cancer and heart and stroke fundraisers. She also volunteered for many years with the Swift Current Agricultural and Exhibition Association Doc’s Town committee.

“I guess it was just part of me,” she said about her commitment to volunteer work. “It was part of all of us. My dad was a First World War veteran and they started absolutely from scratch.”

Métis elder Cecile Blanke was thrilled when a phone call informed her that she was going to be a Platinum Jubilee Medal recipient.

“We’re very fortunate to get the medal to remember the Queen,” she said. “I know I will until I’m gone. It is really special that the province did 7,000 medals and that she approved it.”

She grew up at Lac Pelletier and wrote a book about the various aspects of Métis society and life in the valley. Blanke continues to be a strong advocate for Métis history and culture.

“I’m not doing it just to be proud of myself,” she said. “I like to help the people and work with the people. And I still do, even though I’m 88.”

Hodgeville resident Gail Hapanowicz said it felt fantastic to be a Platinum Jubilee Medal recipient.

“What a wonderful day,” she mentioned. “My father was a paratrooper. He jumped out of a plane in Normandy. That’s the guys who deserve a medal. I was so shocked. I didn’t think I did anything to deserve getting a medal, but the province thinks so and I’m very grateful.”

She developed an interest in the history of the Saskatchewan flag after discovering Hodgeville’s connection to the flag designer Anthony Drake, who was a teacher at the local school when he created the design for the provincial flag in 1968.

Drake returned to England before the official unveiling of the flag. Hapanowicz was able to connect with him and through her efforts he made two visits to the province in 2016 and 2019. She wrote a letter to Queen Elizabeth II a few years ago to inform her about Drake’s achievement as flag designer. Hapanowicz received a reply from Buckingham Palace to commend her efforts to bring attention to the history of the provincial flag.

“I love the Queen,” she said. “My mother named me after the Queen, as my middle name is Elizabeth, and so I adore the Queen. … That letter is framed along with her picture, and now it will also have this medal and another picture on the wall with all the other memorabilia of the Saskatchewan flag.”

Swift Current resident Andy Keys will wear the Platinum Jubilee Medal next to a medal he received for serving in the British Army during the Gulf War. His son, who is currently serving in the British Armed Forces, recently received the British version of the medal commemorating the Queen’s platinum jubilee.

“I find that life is very coincidental,” he said. “I’m a big follower and loyal to the Royal family and the heirs and successors. So I’m very proud to get it.”

Keys is a member of the Legion branch in Swift Current. He spearheaded the restoration of a historic Second World War tank on display outside the Lt. Colonel Clifton Centre and he co-founded an annual Halloween haunted town fundraiser that donates money to a variety of community organizations.

He felt it was important as a medal recipient to acknowledge that his contribution to the community was only made possible through the support and effort of others.

“Behind whoever receives the award there’s a whole  host of other people that should get it as well,” he said. “So if I’m accepting it on their behalf as well. Whatever I seem to do, there is a good following that will help me, whether we’re refurbishing the tank or we’re doing the haunted town or whatever we’re taking on at that time.”

Below are the names of recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal at the Swift Current ceremony. The announced reason for receiving the medal is indicated behind each name.

Jean Allen (services to agriculture); Dawn Anaquod (public service); Helen Arnold (services to arts); Destin Ash (health care); Glenn Baxter (volunteer service); Laura Beddome (public service); Jason Berner (volunteer service); Kim Bilanski (volunteer service); Cecile Blanke (volunteer service); Iris Bonaise (public service); Johnathan Bouchard (services in Canadian Armed Forces); George Bowditch (services to sports); Al Bridal (services to politics); Philip Brown (volunteer service); Sharon Bucsis (services to agriculture); Andrew Cartmell (business and commerce); Victor Carulei (health care); Erin Clifford (public service); Christopher Costley (public service); Anthony Curti (services to Royal Canadian Mounted Police); Barry Cuthbert (business and commerce); Icasiana de Gala (public service); Keith de Ronde (protective services); Garner Deobald (agriculture); Tim Dlouhy – posthumous (business and commerce); Kimi Duzan (social services); Sharleine Eger (volunteer service); Howard Ellis (volunteer service); Laurel Feltin (public service); Donna Fiset (health care); Shauna Friesen (community service); Kurt Fuchs (volunteer service); Michael Gering (business and commerce); Madhurja Ghosh (public service); Jeffery Giesbrecht (services to Canadian Armed Forces); Evan Gordon (services to Royal Canadian Mounted Police); Richard Goulet (public service); Shann Gowan (services to arts); Larry Grant (public service); James Frank Green (protective services); Archie Green (volunteer service); Abhishek Gupta (public service); Linda Hall (volunteer service); Shaun Hanna (volunteer service); Gail Hapanowicz (volunteer service); Marsha Hawkins (volunteer service); Elwin Hermanson (public service); Marilyn Jahnke (services to agriculture); Larry Johnson (services to sports); Marlene Johnson (business and commerce); Krista Kelly (services to Canadian Armed Forces); Andy Keys (services to the military); Stan Knight (services in Canadian Armed Forces); Peggy Koethler (volunteer service); Gwen Kowalski (volunteer service); Guy Lagrandeur (public service); Scott Lamb (business and commerce); Edna Laturnus (public service); Stan Lautsch (volunteer service); Alison Lewis (services to arts); Harold Martens – posthumous (agriculture); Luigi Mazzotti (business and commerce); Penny McCune (business and commerce); Lori McDonald (public service); Norman McFadden (services to sports); Arlene McKenzie (volunteer service); Trent Michelman (public service); Gregory Nagel (for philanthropy); Curtis Nelson (business and commerce); Norm Nordgulen (public service); Andrew O’Donohoe (services to Royal Canadian Mounted Police); Devon Oman (services to arts); Nolan Paradis (services to sports); Terry Pavely (services to sports); Judy Peifer (public service); Leah McDonald-Perrault (public service); Denis Perrault (business and commerce); Dale Perry (services to sport); Intheran Pillay (health care); Jackie Powell (services to sports); Jim Pratt (volunteer service); Stephanie Prpick-Boss (volunteer service); Larita Ramlakhan (health care); Todd Riche (public service); Kevin Ritchie – posthumous (volunteer service); Rodger Ruf (volunteer service); Michael San Miguel (public service); Reg Schellenberg – posthumous (agriculture); Rodney Schoettler (business and commerce); Shannon Stewart (health care); Randy Stokke (services to agriculture); Jason Tangen (volunteer services and service to Canadian Armed Forces); Neil Thorne (services in Canadian Armed Forces); Peggy Tuchscherer (public service); Kenton Unruh (volunteer service); Renatta Varma (health care); John Wagner (service to politics); Alice Wald (for philanthropy); Betty Waldner (volunteer service); John Wall (services to business, commerce and politics); John Watson (Second World War veteran); Jayda Watson (social services); Tom Westbury (volunteer service); Nathan Wiebe (social services); Ann Wiebe (public service); Karla Wiens (business and commerce); Rod Wiens – posthumous (public service).

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