Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

April 13, 2012 12:40 ET

Media Advisory: Governor General to Present Caring Canadian Award to 28 Volunteers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 13, 2012) - His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will present the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award to 28 volunteers from across the country and various sectors on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at 10:30 a.m., during a ceremony at Rideau Hall. On this occasion, remarks will be delivered by Mrs. Diana Fowler LeBlanc, spouse of the late Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc, former governor general and creator of the award.

This event is part of His Excellency's program to highlight National Volunteer Week, from April 15 to 21, 2012. It will be the first Caring Canadian Award presentation ceremony presided over by the Governor General since his installation.

"These volunteers are examples of everything that is right and good about our country," said His Excellency. "Selfless, generous and compassionate, their quiet contributions lie at the heart of our communities. They have been the unsung heroes of our nation-the Caring Canadian Award gives us a chance to thank them for their contributions and for the positive impact they have on the lives of their fellow citizens."

About the Caring Canadian Award

Created in 1995, the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad. Often working behind the scenes, these individuals volunteer their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens. The award also brings to light the example set by volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are a part of our Canadian character.

Members of the public are invited to share their stories about deserving Canadians by submitting a nomination to the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.

The ceremony schedule, the list of recipients and their citations, as well as a fact sheet on the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award are attached. Additional information is available at

Media wishing to cover this event are requested to confirm their attendance with the Rideau Hall Press Office, and must arrive at the Princess Anne entrance no later than 10:15 a.m. on the day of the ceremony.

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10:30 a.m.: Ceremony begins
Remarks by the Governor General
Remarks by Mrs. Diana Fowler LeBlanc
Governor General presents the awards
12:00 p.m.: Ceremony ends
12:15 p.m.: Interviews with recipients


Glenn Michael Akeson Burlington, Ont.
Sonja Bejzyk Winnipeg, Man.
Wendolyn Jeannine Callahan Whitehorse, Y.T.
Daphne Veronica Clarke Windsor, Ont.
Paul-Émile Cormier Saint-Antoine, N.B.
B. Evelyn Florendo Vancouver, B.C.
Alice Lorraine Forrester Edmonton, Alta.
Norma Geggie Wakefield, Que.
Robert David Gould Ottawa, Ont.
Herman Harris Harbour Grace, N.L.
Marina Harris Harbour Grace, N.L.
Daniel Richard Johnson Eastern Passage, N.S.
Kalliana King Cowichan Bay, B.C.
Yoshitaka Kinjo Lethbridge, Alta.
Pierre Lafrance Montréal, Que.
Lynn Stéphanie MacLeod Belle River, P.E.I.
Marvin Lorne MacLeod Belle River, P.E.I.
Lise Marchand Saint-Jean-de-Matha, Que.
William Martens Leamington, Ont.
Jutta Margarete Mason Toronto, Ont.
Elaine McGee Saint-Colomban, Que.
Barbara Joan McMurray West Hill, Ont.
Louise Morissette Québec, Que.
Daniel Ouellet Québec, Que.
Larry John Pearson Weyburn, Sask.
Gérard Renaud Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que.
Ryan Claude Walker Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.
Jun Kin Wong Montréal, Que.


Glenn Michael Akeson

Burlington, Ontario

Glenn Akeson is the founder of The Magic of Metals, an organization that raises funds for sick children, notably to benefit the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada. He has been devoted to helping sick kids for over 25 years, leading events within the metallurgical industry in support of the Foundation's mission. The Magic of Metals is now one of the Foundation's largest donors and has helped more than 300 children's wishes come true.

Sonja Bejzyk

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sonja Bejzyk has helped other women in her community through her involvement with the women's committee of the Ukrainian-Canadian council. She has promoted Ukrainian culture across Canada by organizing numerous events that helped to bring cultural communities together. Ms. Bejzyk continues to be very active, serving as a member, vice-president and president of several organizations at the provincial and national levels, including St. Andrew's College, in Winnipeg, and the Ukrainian Self-Reliance League of Canada.

Wendolyn Jeannine Callahan

Whitehorse, Yukon

Since 1999, Wendy Callahan has taken part in the Run for Mom campaign, a run that raises funds for breast cancer research. Thanks to her dedication and determination, she has raised over $80 000 in funding towards the purchase of a mammography unit for her community. Throught her positive attitude and involvement, Mrs. Callahan has provided a service of real benefit to women in Yukon.

Daphne Veronica Clarke

Windsor, Ontario

Daphne Clarke has dedicated over 30 years of her life to helping immigrant women. Jamaican by birth, she arrived in Canada in the 1970s. In 1980, she founded Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women, to help newcomers adapt to their new country, develop professionally and gain the self-confidence needed to improve their lives. Today, her organization has become the leading resource for immigrants in Windsor. Ms. Clarke's spirit of solidarity and enterprise has improved the lives of many families.

Paul-Émile Cormier

Saint-Antoine, New Brunswick

Paul-Émile Cormier has long been involved with civic, religious, social and athletic causes in his community. But most of all, he has focused on the adult literacy program in his region. He has shown leadership in this field, designing night courses and creating purpose-made materials. Through his determination to increase the store of knowledge in his community, he has helped to significantly decrease the illiteracy rate.

B. Evelyn Florendo

Vancouver, British Colombia

For 27 years, Evelyn Florendo has demonstrated great compassion for young offenders in British Columbia. Over the years, she has hosted and cooked meals, including Christmas dinners, at which she has brought hundreds of troubled youths together with positive role models. She has also prepared hundreds of gifts for the detainees, with funds raised during campaigns she holds throughout the year. She has convinced other volunteers to rally to the cause, and through her actions, has proven herself to be an exceptional example of compassion.

Alice Lorraine Forrester

Edmonton, Alberta

Alice Forrester is a prime example of one who has triumphed over her own disabilities and directed her energies towards helping others. She has volunteered over 23 000 hours with the Cross Cancer Institute, distributing mail and magazines, and helping out in the Institute's café. She has taken on her responsibilities with deep devotion and continues to care for cancer patients, bringing them joy and comfort.

Norma Geggie

Wakefield, Quebec

Norma Geggie has many accomplishments to her credit. In addition to serving her community as a researcher, writer, editor, local historian and literacy teacher, she started a local crafts cooperative, helped set up two seniors' housing projects and is now working to establish a palliative care centre in the region. Her most famous work was with the Wakefield Grannies, a project that matched 10 grandmothers in Wakefield with 10 grandmothers in Africa, to help raise public awareness of the plight of children left orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.

Robert David Gould

Ottawa, Ontario

For over 40 years, Robert Gould has put his talents to work in his community. He has performed as a magician, puppeteer, actor and ventriloquist, raising thousands of dollars for children's charities. He has brought dozens of characters to life, bringing laughter to children and to the most vulnerable members of the community. He continues to perform and is constantly reinventing his shows to reach new audiences, including people with developmental and or hearing impairments.

Marina Harris and Herman Harris

Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and Labrador

Extraordinarily generous and musically talented, Marina and Herman Harris have been devoted to their community for over 55 years. Mrs. Harris, accompanied by Mr. Harris on the guitar, sings at performances held by numerous charities and for various fundraising campaigns. In so doing, they have raised thousands of dollars and have brought joy and laughter to people all over the province.

Daniel Richard Johnson

Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

Since 1982, Daniel Johnson has been dedicated to helping children who are deaf or visually impaired. He is best known for his project in support of the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA), an organization for children who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired. As a fundraiser, he succeeded in raising $124 000 by typing out numbers, in full written form, from one to one million-a project that took him 12 years. Now working from one million back to one, he has become a model of endurance, patience and the spirit of giving.

Kalliana King

Cowichan Bay, British Colombia

From a very young age, Kalliana King has had tremendous compassion for those living with muscular dystrophy, a compassion inspired by her friend, who lives with the disorder. When she was eight years old, Miss King asked her parents for permission to become actively involved in fundraising. She dyed her hair pink to capture public attention, then shaved it off to raise funds for the cause. She has gone door to door, participated in fundraising walks and joined the local firefighters' charitable campaign. Through her efforts, Miss King has raised $14 600, has inspired others in her region, and has raised public awareness of muscular dystrophy.

Yoshitaka Kinjo

Lethbridge, Alberta

Yoshitaka Kinjo is a master of the art of karate, and for 30 years has used this talent to benefit his community. He has hosted karate demonstrations in support of several fundraising campaigns, including those for The Lung Association, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He has tailored courses to groups of individuals living with various illnesses, such as asthma or fibromyalgia, as well as for individuals with depression or mobility impairments. He has demonstrated perseverance and patience, and has helped hundreds of people improve their physical health and mental well-being.

Pierre Lafrance

Montréal, Quebec

Pierre Lafrance has volunteered with the Association des bègues du Canada, a support group for stutterers, for over 25 years. He has made tremendous contributions as a member, treasurer and president of the association. In addition, he has organized events and activities including seminars, conferences, information sessions and development courses. He never gives up and is always willing to rise to the most difficult challenge.

Lynn Stéphanie MacLeod and Marvin Lorne MacLeod

Belle River, Prince Edward Island

Over the years, Lynn and Marvin MacLeod have made tremendous contributions to the Canadian Red Cross branches of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. They have served in leadership roles on several advisory committees focusing on first response in disaster situations, notably the ice storm of 2008. They have also recruited and trained numerous volunteers, and provided support to disaster victims in their region as leaders in the emergency operations centre and with the Red Cross Emergency Response Team. Mr. and Mrs. MacLeod have distinguished themselves as first-rate examples of compassion and organization.

Lise Marchand

Saint-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec

Lise Marchand has devoted herself to various causes over the last 40 years, particularly those involving children and families. She acted as UNICEF's spokesperson for nine years and supported a children's organization in one of Montréal's disadvantaged neighbourhoods. She has also been involved in several community development projects in Latin America, including her current work with the Regroupement des missionaires laïque. A modest woman, Ms. Marchand's actions speak of her great compassion.

William Martens

Leamington, Ontario

William Martens has volunteered since 1963 in various spheres of activity. For over 20 years, he has supported the Mennonite Church as they helped hundreds of refugees come to Canada and integrate into Canadian society. He has also volunteered for the Canadian Food Grains Bank Growing Committee and the Mobile Meat Canner, a project that aims to feed the most vulnerable people in the world. He taught English in Africa for many years and spent 20 years directing a youth chess club. A man of multiple talents, Mr. Martens is always ready to go the extra mile to help those in need.

Jutta Margarete Mason

Toronto, Ontario

For nearly 20 years, Jutta Mason has contributed her time and her ideas to the Friends of Dufferin Grove Park, helping to instill a sense of community within the neighbourhood. Through her efforts, the park has become a gathering place bustling with activity, and a source of pride for local residents. The park is now considered a model way to share and use public space, drawing visitors from all over the world. Ms. Mason has inspired hundreds of people with her community spirit, energy and accomplishments.

Elaine McGee

Saint-Colomban, Quebec

Elaine McGee is a shining example of social conscience and the spirit of solidarity. Twelve years ago, she created Marchant à tes cotés, an organization that works to break the cycle of poverty by allowing young single mothers, among others, to return to their studies. Ms. McGee not only set up a network of volunteers, but worked with them to devise creative methods for helping. For example, two people can provide concrete assistance by 'adopting' a student and her child until she has finished Cégep, allowing both mother and child to pursue better options for the future.

Barbara Joan McMurray

West Hill, Ontario

A long-standing volunteer, Joan McMurray is best known as the founder of the Chosen Soldier Project, which gave thousands of people the opportunity to raise the morale of troops deployed overseas, by sending them letters and care packages. Ms. McMurray matched families from across Canada with more than 5 400 Canadian Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan. Parcels were filled with treats that were missed, such as candies, chocolates, soups and lip balm, items described as 'like gold' to soldiers. Through her dedication and recognition of our troops' efforts, Ms. McMurray has become an inspiration to many.

Louise Morissette
Québec, Quebec

A long-time and dedicated volunteer, Louise Morissette is best known for her service as a founding member and president of the Fondation Petits bonheurs d'école, formerly known as the Fondation Georgette-Lavallée. This organization encourages learning among disadvantaged children in Québec by establishing an atmosphere conducive to study. Through her dedication, persistence and determination, the foundation has been able to develop its services across all area school boards, helping thousands of young people increase their chances of academic success.

Daniel Ouellet

Québec, Quebec

For several years now, Daniel Ouellet has brought his workmates together in an ambitious project to benefit those living in poverty. First, he identifies families in the community and compiles lists of goods that will best meet their individual needs. Then he and his companions assemble and store the items to be gift-wrapped in time for Christmas. When the big day comes, Mr. Ouellet and his team demonstrate the true meaning of Christmas by delivering gifts to all the families on the list. Mr. Ouellet's compassionate and generous idea has provided hope for many families, especially children.

Larry John Pearson

Weyburn, Saskatchewan

Despite having never served in the Canadian Forces, Larry Pearson is committed to ensuring its members are recognized. Active in his community's branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, he has organized parades that have included local veterans together with members of the local police and emergency services. He has also planned soirées and events to honour veterans returning from Afghanistan and has provided support for their families.

Gérard Renaud

Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec

A Second World War veteran, Gérard Renaud has dedicated his life to serving others. He helped numerous veterans and their families. He also founded the local veterans' association and was the key organizer behind the establishment of the 1813 Battle of the Châteauguay National Historic Site, in Allan's Corner. Mr. Renaud remains very active in the community and continues to visit with veterans who are ill or in need.

Ryan Claude Walker

Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories

Over the past eight years, Ryan Claude Walker has demonstrated a true sense of community by participating in Operation Santa Claus, a program organized by the RCMP, in Tuktoyaktuk. Each Christmas, he has dressed up as Santa Claus and distributed thousands of gifts, heedless of the cold, to bring smiles to the faces of children and adults in his community. He volunteers for a number of other activities throughout the rest of the year and encourages other young people to do likewise. Mr. Walker makes his community proud.

Jun Kin Wong

Montréal, Quebec

Jun Kin Wong has helped to share Chinese culture with other Canadians through his work with several Chinese cultural organizations, notably as co-founder and former president of the Montreal Chinese Community and Cultural Center. Mr. Wong has been involved in organizing numerous activities and events, including the Montreal International Dragon Boat Race Festival. His efforts have benefited Montréal's Chinese community and a bridge between Canadian and Chinese cultures.


When the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc became Governor General of Canada, he was determined to thank the thousands of caring people who give so much to their fellow citizens-the unsung heroes who volunteer their time, their efforts and a great deal of their lives to helping others, and who ask for nothing in return. In 1995, the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award was created.

The award recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smarter and more caring nation. The award also highlights the fine example set by these volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are so much a part of our Canadian character.

Eligibility criteria

The award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad.

Nomination process

Nominations can be made directly through the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. They will be assessed by the Chancellery of Honours, which will make recommendations to the governor general.

If you know a friend, neighbour or member of your community who deserves this unique award, please share their stories by completing a nomination form at

Description of the award

The Caring Canadian Award consists of a certificate and a lapel pin presented to recipients by the governor general or by lieutenant governors, territorial commissioners, mayors or partner organizations.

The award's emblem represents Canadians who selflessly give of their time and energy to others. The maple leaf symbolizes the people of Canada and their spirit; the heart depicts the open-heartedness of volunteers; and the outstretched hand portrays boundless generosity. The helping hand and heart support the maple leaf. The blue and gold colours, which appear on the viceregal flag, indicate the award's connection with the governor general.

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