Comox Valley men receive Diamond Jubilee Medals
Some very special Vancouver Islanders gathered recently at Government House in Victoria, and among them were two Comox Valley residents.
Ralph Shaw and Stocky Edwards were two of 66 Islanders to receive Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals. The recipients included 31 Officers of the Order of Canada and 61 Members of the Order of Canada, the latter being the group that includes Edwards and Shaw. Some two dozen recipients were unable to attend.
The list of those present included Iona Campagnolo, Pat Carney, Vicky Husband, Jack Munro and Howie Meeker. Shaw sat beside renowned UVic and national team basketball coaches Ken and Cathy Shields of Victoria, and Meeker (Parksville) asked Shaw to take him fishing one day.
The commemorative Queen's Jubilee Medal marks the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne. It honours significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.
"Everybody of the Order of Canada receives a Queen's Jubilee medal," said Shaw, who received his Order of Canada in 1984 primarily for his work in environmental education in hunting and fishing. "There will be 60,000 distributed to Canadians by citizen nomination across Canada," he added.
James Francis (Stocky) Edwards was a Canadian fighter pilot during the Second World War. Canada's highest scoring ace in the western desert campaign, Edwards received his Order of canada medal in 2004.
In 2009, Edwards was honoured as one of the 100 most influential Canadians in aviation and had his name included with the others on the 2009 CF-18 Centennial of Flight demonstration Hornet.
"The whole ceremony was just excellent," Shaw said. "After the ceremony we were invited to walk around Government House, and there's all the history of the Queen. Everywhere there were pictures and memorabilia. I hope others have the privilege we had to tour Government House.
"You get a pretty good sense of what the Queen did. Her life is there."
While the room was full of Order of Canada recipients, a big thrill for Shaw was being able to invite three guests. With his wife Elaine and daughters Leanne and Lynnea alongside him, Shaw said, "It was a glorious family event. Our daughters had never seen me recognized anywhere, except after the event."
Another highlight for Shaw was reuniting with old friend Joy Finlay.
"(She) was doing the same work in Alberta as I was doing in B.C. (speaking about environmental education). I was up grabbing a snack (at the ceremony) when all of a sudden she said, 'Ralph, I've been looking for you.' She got her Order of Canada in 1990. We've done lots of work together. Her and her husband live in Victoria now."
Shaw said the speech by Lieut.-Gov. Steven Point was truly appropriate.
"He said that this room is full of a group of people who have made a tremendous contribution to Canada and were being recognized by this Queen's medal. I can't say enough about it. It was just a great night."