A pair of Langley men were in Victoria earlier this month to be recognized for their “significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to community.”
On behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Guichon presented Nicolas Ouellette and Donald Poole – along with 37 other British Columbia residents – with a sovereign’s medal for volunteers at Government House.
“It is truly humbling to hear the stories of those being honoured today,” she said during the event. “These folks are the heart and soul of all of our communities. In British Columbia and all of Canada, in every village, large or small, it is our committed volunteers who make life so rich and valuable. Whether through donations of time and expertise, building bridges between diverse groups, promoting harmony, sharing talents and raising resources, sitting on boards, manning volunteer agencies, mentoring youth, developing, growing, coaching, refereeing, building, always building, our diverse communities.”
In Ouellette’s case, he was acknowledged for his worth with fellow youth.
“For the past six years, Nicolas Ouellette has led by example in his community,” Guichon said.
He is a Warrant Officer Second Class with the 746 Lightning Hawk Squadron who has fundraised for the cadets and helped coordinate numerous Remembrance Day ceremonies.
As well he was a youth group mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley. And prior to graduation in June, he mentored kids as a Gator ambassador at Walnut Grove Secondary and launched the Duke of Edinburgh’s awards program at his school and at cadets corps.
“I feel very honoured to have received this award, particularly at such a young age,” Ouellette told the Langley Advance.
“At the presentation ceremony, I heard the stories of many other impactful volunteers who have made significant contributions to their communities. Hearing their stories has motivated me to continue to volunteer my time to lead meaningful change in my local community, and to seek out opportunities to affect positive change on a wider scale. I don’t intend to slow down; I feel encouraged to push the envelope and continue to volunteer and make a difference,” said the young man studying for his bachelor of commerce at the Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
Ouellette was home for Christmas break and able to attend the ceremony in Victoria on Jan. 5.
Poole, also on hand for the presentation – was acknowledge – in part – for the work he has done with Langley’s seniors community.
He has been assisting low-income families through tax clinics since 2003, and currently coordinates program volunteers at the Surrey Alliance Church.
He also serves on the Agape committee, which offers a retreat program for seniors, and he is active with the Child Evangelism Fellowship.
“Thank you on behalf of all British Columbians for all you have done to help to make this the best province in the best country, the place that we can be so proud to bequeath to the next generation,” Guichon said.
“Throughout our history there is a common thread that winds through all our communities. It is that spirit of neighbourliness, of caring for one another,” the lieutenant Governor said.
“I believe that perhaps it has grown in our young nation, contrary to the older European societies because of the large land-base we inhabit with a relatively small population and our tendency to share. As a child I looked forward to the fall when all the neighbours got together to harvest grain. The equipment was moved from farm to farm and each day a banquet was prepared in the house of the farm where everyone was gathered on that particular day. As children we helped to serve the pies to hungry farmers and pour refreshing juice and tea. How wonderful the comradery. This is the spirit of community that we honour today.”