Essex MPP recognizes outstanding citizens – awards Diamond Jubilee Medals

Filed under: Headline,In Our Community |

by Sylene Argent

Eight Essex County residents were awarded for their contributions to their communities with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal during a special ceremony held at the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201) last Wednesday evening.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak was pleased to meet the medal recipients and explain why each was nominated for the award.

Across the province, he said, over 2000 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals were being distributed to deserving Ontarians in celebration and in commemoration of 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne. The milestone, Natyshak explained, marked Queen Elizabeth II as the second longest reigning British monarch after Queen Victoria.

“This is our chance to look back and to thank her – Her Majesty – for her tireless service to Ontario and to Canada. We honour her kindness, her spirit, her tremendous sense of duty…We are inspired by her resilience and commitment to service,” Natyshak said.

The eight recipients celebrated last Wednesday, “have made extraordinary contributions to making our community and province a better place to live. We are proud of them and their accomplishments and their drive to make a difference,” Natyshak said. “They are a true reflection of Her Majesty’s legacy and this is a fitting way to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.”

Natyshak’s office put out the challenge to the community to have some of the outstanding local individuals nominated for the medal. The names poured into the office, he said.

“It was kind of left up to us to make some hard selections, but tonight’s recipients are certainly deserving of the recognition this evening and I know they will continue on with their legacy of commitment of service to the people of this region.”

The first recipient was Cameron Arnold of Essex. Natyshak said Arnold is the 2012 Make a Difference Optimist Youth Appreciation Award recipient. He also created a video to address the war on drugs and how they can destroy a young person’s life. Natyshak said Arnold had a friend who lost his battle with drug addiction and decided he wanted to deter teens from using drugs.  He worked with a team of teens to make the video, which was showcased at the Youth Centers of Canada Conference in Ottawa.

“His enthusiastic and optimistic outlook on life is inspirational to all of those around him,” Natyshak said.

WWII veteran Edward Caza of Essex was the second recipient. Natyshak explained that Caza enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy at 15 during the Second World War. He later served in the Korean War. He is also a longstanding member of the Essex Legion. Natyshak thanked Caza for his service.

Caza noted that he was proud to receive the award, and proud of the younger recipients for their accomplishments. “It’s been a long journey and I’m very proud to have received this,” he said.

Essex resident Dallas Jubinville was awarded with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for having completed over 700 hours of community service, some of which was earned aiding special needs students at a school in Windsor. She also managed to maintain a 92 percent grade average while doing so as an EDHS student.

Emily Moore of Belle River was also an award recipient. She is currently working towards obtaining the Canada Cord, which is the highest award a Pathfinder can attain. There are 18 modules that need to be completed, which challenges them to take leadership roles in camps and complete community service activities. She has also completed first aid training.

Jennifer Sherer of Oldcastle/Tecumseh was awarded for her dedication to the 4-H Club. She has held executive roles in the 4-H Club as president and press writer. She also assists younger members. Sherer was the 2008 Essex County 4-H Junior Member Award and the 2010 Member of the Year Award.

From Harrow, WWII Veteran Ronald Taylor was honoured. Natyshak explained that Taylor was born in England, served in the Merchant Marine and the Royal Navy. He is a Royal Canadian Legion Lifetime member of Branch 338 and has held many executive positions. He is dedicated to seniors and was instrumental in forming the 50 Plus Club. He is also an active member of the Harrow Knights of Columbus. He greets everyone in the lobby of his apartment building and always has a kind word for anyone he speaks to.

Natyshak had the opportunity to nominate two recipients. He nominated Kevin McShan of Windsor and Andrew Banar of Kingsville. “They are two individuals that I have had the great pleasure of dealing with and working with in my job. They are very special to me and I’m really honored to acknowledge them this evening,” he said.

McShan is a graduate of the Journalism and Print Media program from St. Clair College. He was born with Cerebral Palsy, but Natshak noted that has not deterred him from all that he has accomplished. For the past two-years he has been an employee for CFTV 34 and covers sports. McShan, Natyshak said, “has given me some of the most insightful questions.”

McShan thanked Natyshak for the nomination and noted that he does not take the award lightly. “I appreciate all of the sacrifices that people have made to put me in the position that I am. I’m working hard to continue to build a legacy to be proud of.”

To present Banar his award, Natyshak wore a “Rock On” t-shirt. Banar was born in 1991 with Down Syndrome. In 2009, Banar used his entrepreneurial skills to create a shirt company called “Group Hug Apparel.” Part of the t-shirt sale proceeds support local causes.

“He is a community leader by any standards,” Natyshak said, “who makes a difference and inspires the people around him every day to strive to make a better place for individuals who must overcome different challenges in life. I have been so inspired by you, my friend, and so have, I think, everybody who has ever met you. And you continue to inspire our region to reach higher-to be better, and to love another.”

Banar thanked Natyshak for the award. His mom, Karen Pickle, was excited to announce that Banar is a recent high school graduate and will attend St. Clair College in the fall.

To the recipients, Natyshak said they were gems to the community and are inspirations.