Jeff Heuchert, Stratford Gazette
In honour of Queen’s Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne, 60,000 Canadians are being presented with a Diamond Jubilee medal for their dedication to community service.
This week, beginning in Stratford Monday evening and continuing Wednesday in Arthur, 14 residents from across the riding were added to that list of distinguished recipients.
The medals, noted Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece – whose office selected the individuals to be honoured from a long list of candidates provided by the local municipalities – are not only a tangible way to commemorate Her Majesty’s years of service to the country, but also to recognize the commitment and dedication of Canadians to their own communities.
“All of you are deserving of this,” he said at the medal ceremony inside the lobby of the new University of Waterloo Stratford Campus. “It’s my honour to bestow these medals.”
Among the list were three individuals whose countless accomplishments are well known in Stratford: former mayor Ted Blowes, long-time volunteer Vivian Jarvis and Stratford Summer Music founder John Miller.
A retired geography teacher, Blowes served 14 years on Stratford city council. He is a founding member of Communities in Bloom and since 1995 has worked as provincial, national and international judge in the organization.
Blowes is also an honourary member of the Korea Veterans Association of Canada.
His civic contributions have been recognized locally and by the province. He also received the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada and Queen’s Gold Jubilee medals.
“I would like to thank Ted Blowes for his outstanding record of public service,” said Pettapiece, “and his dedication to the environment.”
Also a former city councillor, Jarvis is a founding member and past president of the local chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association, a commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and president of the women’s auxiliary at Stratford General Hospital.
“Mrs. Jarvis has a long history of assisting the public through her various roles,” said Pettapiece, who noted she has also served as warden of her church and participated in pastoral prison visitations.
Miller’s passion for the arts, and his commitment to growing the cultural landscape in Stratford, is indisputable.
In addition to serving as artistic producer of Summer Music – an event described by Pettapiece as “one of Ontario’s finest music events” and a “staple of Stratford’s tourist attractions,” he has been involved with the Stratford Festival, the Canadian Music Centre, the Glenn Gould Foundation and has owned his own arts management company.
Speaking after the ceremony, Pettapiece said he wished he had been given more medals to hand out, noting there are countless deserving individuals across the riding who have and continue to give back to their communities.
Other Stratford-area residents to receive a Diamond Jubilee medal Monday included Barb MacLean of West Perth and Randy LeBlanc and Natasha Rae of St. Marys.