Local volunteers honoured with Diamond Jubilee Medals

A true honour: Nancy Greene Raine presents Dick Taylor with a Diamond Jubilee medal and award at a ceremony in Kamloops. Also pictured are Taylor’s granddaughter, Ayden Spear, and MP Cathy McLeod.

Two “unsung heroes” with close ties to Sun Peaks were recently acknowledged by the Crown for their local volunteer commitments.

John Hatchett and Dick Taylor were both named recipients of the Diamond Jubilee Medal on October 11, 2012 at Thompson Rivers University.

The medal, seen as a tangible way to honour Her Majesty for her service to Canada and at the same time recognize significant contribution and achievements by Canadians, marks the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.

“The process of nominating and presenting the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals has been really interesting,” explains Senator Nancy Greene Raine. “As a Senator I was given an allotment of 30 medals to present. . . . I asked the mayors (in the Thompson-Okanagan-Kootenay region) to nominate one person in their communities that had given long service and that had not been recognized before. I was looking for the ‘unsung heroes’ of everyday life.”

Kamloops resident Dick Taylor was nominated for his lifelong education and volunteer work, including his work with Adaptive Sports at Sun Peaks. As a member of the association’s founding committee, he now sits on the executive board as past president. Taylor has played a key role in opening the door for everyone, regardless of mental or physical ability, to participate in snow sports and recreation programs at Sun Peaks Resort.

Taylor said he was surprised by the nomination, which he only found out about when he received a phone call from the MP’s office two weeks before the ceremony. He explained that while being chosen for the medal is “quite an honour,” the “scale of it didn’t really strike (him) until he got (to the ceremony)” and saw all of the other recipients.

“I was thrilled to present Dick Taylor with his medal at the presentation ceremony that Cathy McLeod and I jointly held at TRU,” says Senator Greene Raine. “Dick and his wife Terry have been instrumental in getting Sun Peaks’ Adaptive Sports program organized, in addition to being involved with the Bluebird Fund.”  
John Hatchett was also surprised by his nomination for the medal, noting he found out by letter after returning from a trip visiting family. After reading the letter he said he was “surprised . . . but it’s very nice to be recognized, though I don’t think I’ve done much; everyone around here volunteers.”

Hatchett is currently the president of the Sun Peaks Health Association, and has spent years volunteering with the Sun Peaks ski patrol, the Sun Peaks Speed Skiing Club, and Telus Nancy Greene Corporate Challenge. He humbly credits his work with these bodies to be the inspiration for the award.

Senator Greene Raine explains that the nominees from around her district were truly deserving of their recognition. “The nominees were wonderful . . . and all of them, when they accepted the medal, started by saying ‘I don’t deserve this, I was just one of many people who’ve contributed . . .’ but by the reaction of the people present you could just tell they really did deserve it,” she says. “We’re truly fortunate to have such wonderful community builders as Dick Taylor and John Hatchett at Sun Peaks.”

Hatchett will be presented with his medal at a smaller ceremony in Sun Peaks later in the year with his family.

An estimated 60,000 Canadians who’ve made significant contributions and achievements to a province, territory or region in Canada will be recognized with a medal over the course of the year.