Cathay Wagantall, Yorkton-Melville MP, presented volunteer award medals to Mary Kowalyshen of Rama and 34 other individuals and groups from across the riding on October 22.
The ceremony was held before an audience of approximately 150 people at the Heritage Baptist Church in Yorkton, as a tribute to Canada’s 150th birthday.
Kowalyshen was presented a medal with the following citation:
“Mary Kowalyshen—Rama, community leader, a retired teacher, Mary continues to volunteer in local Kindergarten classes – but that’s just the start. Her organizational and administrative abilities are highly valued by the Rama Golden Jets and St. Anthony’s Church. Whether writing for local newspapers, co-ordinating arrangements for an event, overseeing a garden or refurbishment project, Mary’s leadership gifts have enriched her community.”
Kowalyshen said she never really thought about receiving recognition of any kind for her work.
“In a small community, you just do what needs to be done and you don't expect anything for it. However, it does give one a good feeling just to know that your volunteerism is appreciated.”
The medal recipients, both individuals and groups, were nominated by their peers and communities for the work they do as community builders through volunteering, said Wagantall.
“I am so proud of all those in my riding who have contributed to Saskatchewan’s high rate of volunteer work. Earlier this summer, I asked residents from Yorkton-Melville to put forward the names of those in their communities who give their time and talents for the betterment of everyone, and the response was incredible.”
Wagantall said she was very impressed with the quality of the list of nominees for the award.
“As I reviewed each nominee, I realized that each recipient seems to have, on purpose, removed him or herself from any podium of self-promotion, and just gotten on with what needs doing.
“From cooking, sewing or gardening to reading to a child or teaching music or assisting in building community in Africa – all profoundly noteworthy. Without fanfare or hope of recognition, these medal-winners have used and are still using the gifts and abilities God gave them to serve others. They got to work. They contributed. And they kept working and contributing when others stopped.”
Recipients of the special Canada 150 medal were recognized as community leaders, not-for-profit leaders, business leaders and youth leaders, and were from 15 different communities.
Wagantall hopes others will be inspired and follow in the example of the award winners.
“The responsibility to build community belongs to all of us, no matter the size of your community – a seniors group, a church, a town or village or city. Only in this way can we keep Canada the glorious and free nation it is.
“To the recipients, I am so honoured by your presence, and inspired by your lives. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to meet you and pass on not only my personal thanks but also my thanks as your Member of Parliament.”