Whitteker, Gail Kaneb, Richard Herrington. Back, from left, are Lorne Strader, Stan Vandenbosch, Gary Stokes, MPP McDonell, Hugh MacDougall, Onagh Ross, Gerry Benson Special photo

Thirteen local residents were presented by local MPP Jim McDonell with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals Thursday evening in Cornwall. Pictured front, form left, are William Shearing, Susan Rainey, Betty Vandenbosch, Vera Joyce, Johnny

Local residents honoured with Jubilee medals

By Greg Kielec More than 100 people filled a ball- room at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall to see 13 local residents receive a special honour. Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dun- das-South Glengarry, hosted a ceremony to award the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Ju- bilee Medal to deserving citizens from local riding who have made exceptional contri- butions to their community. Fourteen medals were awarded, but 13 of them were handed out during the cere- mony. One medal recipient was absent. Among those honoured were well known Cornwall businessman and community supporter Gerry Benson; a legend in local politics in South Dundas -- Johnny Whit- teker; and well-know Chesterville cash crop farmers Stan and Betty Vandenbosch. Also receiving honours were Richard Herrington, Vera Joyce, Gail Kaneb, Hugh MacDougall, Don Mitchell, Susan Rainey, Onagh Ross, William Shearing, Rev. Garry Stokes and Lorne Strader. COMMUNITY RECOGNITION Recipients of the Queen’s Diamond Ju- bilee Medal are citizens nominated by the community who have made exceptional and significant contributions to their local community, Ontario and Canada over the course of many years. The award is a way to recognize their service to their peers, as well as a collective token of appreciation to commemorate Her Majesty’s 60 years of loyal service to her subjects throughout the Commonwealth. “I am proud to have been given the op- portunity to recognize 14 outstanding citi- zens,” McDonell said. “Their spirit and dedication are worthy of a Diamond Jubilee Medal and we are lucky to have them among us in our commu- nity.”

About the recipients: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

panionship where they are sorely needed and helps foster a strong youth involve- ment in the community through helping organize events for children. He was also a tireless advocate for Salem Church, a historic congregation that needed preserv- ing and promoting, which will soon cele- brate its 225th anniversary. Gerry Benson Gerry opened his first business 58 years ago, a small garage that has grown to be part of the Benson Group. But he isn’t just a businessman, he shares the proceeds of his success with our community through his many philanthropic initiatives, as well as giving his time generously to numerous organizations. He is a committed pro- moter of our community and is an avid advocate for our heritage. Hugh MacDougall A resident of Finch, Hugh’s career with the United Counties of SD&G spanned almost 48 years. He started out as a labourer and later he became the patrol supervisor for the Finch area working for three different engineers. After this lengthy career, Hugh did not let retire- ment slow him down, he became a vol- unteer driver through Carefor. He could be seen taking people to hospitals and appointments in Ottawa or wherever they needed to be. He has become a reg- ular at local nursing homes, visiting with shut-ins and he continues to do so today at the age of 84, even after having some medical issues of his own to deal with.

Vera Joyce Vera has been a volunteer for over 60 years. Vera knits, Vera sews, and Vera preserves fruit & vegetables for charity bazaars and other charity events. Vera is involved in the Catholic Women’s League and Vera always has a helping hand for anyone in need. Vera is a mem- ber of the Cornwall Township Historical Society. Vera was a volunteer in Birth Right for over 25 years. Lt. Colonel (retired) William J. Shearing Has served two terms on county council for Morrisburg and United Counties and has always been an active member in church life and the church community. He was commander of the S,D&G High- landers from 1977 to 1980 and is still a strong supporter of the local armed forces. In 2004 he became the honorary Colonel of the regiment where he served for the following 5 years. He has tire- lessly endeavoured to connect the regi- ment with the community that shares it name-sake. To that end- he has had County Rd. 43 renamed “The Veterans Highway” and has had several plaques and commemorative plates placed throughout the six counties of S,D & G. & Cornwall He has also worked towards bringing to light the efforts and accom- plishments of the role of the local militia during the War of 1812. Most notably he has had the historical data regarding the events of D-Day on June 6, 1944 cor- rected to state that one of the most piv- otal and well known events of the Normandy Raid was in-fact accom- plished by the local regiment, the S,D&G highlanders.

Don Mitchell Don’s three decades of dedicated serv- ice to his fellow citizens are the embodi- ment of this award’s spirit. Don volunteers for Meals on Wheels, and he helps drive senior citizens to their ap- pointments. He is an energetic gardener and shares his energy with those who need a hand in their garden’s upkeep. He has also dedicated his time and effort to helping our numerous senior’s retire- ment residences. Gail Kaneb Active leader and philanthropist, Gail Kaneb co-chaired “Our Hospital Our Fu- ture” fundraising campaign which ex- ceeded its $12 million goal. She received honourary diplomas for her community work, and also her contribution to St.Lawrence River Institute from St. Lawrence College. She has been an active community leader and volunteer for many years, she was the founder or on the founding board of several education and environmental initiatives. In addition to what she does locally, she chairs the board of Tostan, an international award-winning non-profit human rights organization based in Senegal, Africa, with 1,400 em- ployees. Gary Stokes For many years, Gary Stokes tended to his flock in Lancaster as a minister. His calling, however, was not limited to just serving his community as a shepherd. He volunteers tirelessly with those who can be most vulnerable: seniors and children. He brings his compassion, and his com-

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