Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

May 27, 2009 09:32 ET

Governor General to Present Honours in Nunavut

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 27, 2009) - Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will honour five residents of Nunavut on Sunday, May 31, 2009, at the Frobisher Inn, in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

The Governor will present a Medal of Bravery, a Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal, a Governor General's Academic Medal, a Governor General's Caring Canadian Award, and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Medal 30-year clasp.

- A Medal of Bravery will be presented to Mr. Jeffrey Hopkins. The Decorations for Bravery honour those who risk their lives to save or protect the lives of others. The following is Mr. Hopkins' citation.

Jeffrey Hopkins, M.B., Iqaluit, Nunavut

Medal of Bravery

On October 28, 2007, Jeffrey Hopkins attempted to rescue his wife after their snowmobile broke through the ice on the Coppermine River, in Kugluktuk, Nunavut. After struggling in the water for approximately 10 minutes, Mr. Hopkins got himself out and grabbed his wife's hand to keep her from being pulled under. He managed to hold onto her for a while, but had to leave her to get help at the nearest village, two kilometres away, knowing this was the only way to save her life. Although suffering from hypothermia and severe frostbite, Mr. Hopkins crawled for approximately five hours, shouting out as he approached the village where a resident found him and brought him to a nearby health clinic. Sadly, Mr. Hopkins' wife did not survive the ordeal.

- Mr. Leonard Weiss, Iqaluit Airport Fire Chief, will receive the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal for his 27 years of service. The Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal recognizes 20 years of service or more. This Medal recognizes those who have dedicated themselves to preserving Canada's public safety through exemplary service.

- The Governor General's Academic Medal will be presented to Ms. Lucy Idlout, who graduated in 2008 from the Nunavut Arctic College's hairstylist program. The Governor General's Academic Medal was first awarded by the Earl of Dufferin in 1873. It is one of the most prestigious educational awards in Canada.

- Mrs. Beth McKenty, who has dedicated her life to helping young people cope with hardship through artistic expression, will receive the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award. The award recognizes Canadians for unpaid voluntary activities, most often behind the scenes at the community level. The following is Mrs. McKenty's citation:

Beth McKenty, Iqaluit, Nunavut

Governor General's Caring Canadian Award

Beth McKenty, of Iqaluit, Nunavut, heard her true calling and had the courage to act. Concerned by the high rate of suicide in Nunavut, Ms. McKenty left her home in Calgary and moved to Iqaluit to help young people cope with hardship through artistic expression. The Arctic Youth Initiative, which Ms. McKenty runs from her home, engages youth and has grown to accommodate more than 300 children. She has also brought art programs to area schools. She also provides safety, warmth and food for many cold and hungry youth. Ms. McKenty bolsters a sense of pride, accomplishment and self-worth in many young people every year.

- Finally, Her Excellency will present a 30-year clasp to Chief Superintendent Martin Cheliak, Commanding Officer, ."V" Division in Nunavut. The clasp will be added to the RCMP Long Service Medal he received after 20 years of service. This year marks the 75th anniversary of this medal, which was created by King George V in 1934.

Photos, speeches and videos of Their Excellencies' visit to Canada's North are posted on

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