Caring Canadian Award Presentation Ceremony

April 13, 2015

Governor General to Present Caring Canadian Award to 49 Volunteers

Ottawa – His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will present the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award to 49 volunteers from various sectors of society, on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at 10:30 a.m., during a ceremony at Rideau Hall.

This event marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Caring Canadian Award and is part of His Excellency’s program to highlight National Volunteer Week, from April 12 to 18, 2015.

Created in 1995, the 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. For more information or to nominate a deserving volunteer, visit

The ceremony schedule, the list of recipients and their citations, and a fact sheet on the award are attached.


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.

Media information

Marie-Pierre Bélanger
Rideau Hall Press Office

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Ceremony Schedule

10:30 a.m.:Ceremony beginsRemarks by the Governor GeneralGovernor General presents the Caring Canadian Award11:30 a.m.:Ceremony ends11:40 a.m.:Interviews with recipients


Recipients’ Citations

Aklilu Afowerk
Ottawa, Ontario

Aklilu Afowerk has been volunteering in the Ottawa community for over 20 years, looking after the well-being of the elderly and infirm. For example, he regularly drives a gentleman with a heart condition to visit his wife in a chronic care facility, and, at his synagogue, he helps a congregant with ALS participate in the service.

Melissa Batchilder
Georgetown, Prince Edward Island

Passionate about education and learning, Melissa Batchilder was instrumental in saving Georgetown Elementary School from closure due to budget cuts. She donated funds, coordinated the building of a brand new library, and created an annual bursary fund for deserving students to further their education.

Mark Beardsworth
Toronto, Ontario

Mark Beardsworth is an active member of The Beach Group, a Toronto-based unit involved in contributing to, sponsoring and supporting local charitable initiatives. Mark is involved in all organizational aspects of the annual fundraiser for the Hospital for Sick Children/SickKids Foundation, from event planning and ticket sales to obtaining donations for the event.

Phyllis Beaulieu
Saint-Lambert, Quebec

Phyllis Beaulieu fundraises for her church, transports elderly individuals to medical appointments, and offers food and lodging in her own home to families in need. Most of her time is dedicated to volunteering at the Montreal General Hospital, where she offers comfort to patients. 

Blair A. Boone
River Ryan, Nova Scotia

For over 35 years, Blair Boone has focused on the sport of boxing as a referee, judge, president and executive member of the Ring 73 Glace Bay Amateur Boxing Club. He has chaired, organized and fundraised for many boxing events throughout the province and across Canada, including those at the championship level. Outside of boxing, he volunteers with the mine rescue team, the Cape Breton Miner Co-Op, and the New Waterford Fish and Game Association.

Rémi Bouchard
Rivière-Éternité, Quebec

As president of the Corporation de développement économique de Rivière-Éternité, Rémi Bouchard oversaw a project to convert the rectory into an inn, thus creating the municipality’s first hotel. In 2011, Mr. Bouchard had a hand in creating a communal wildlife area to promote lake trout fishing in Ruisseau Benouche and Rivière Éternité.

Maurice Brouillard
Saint-Eugène-de-Grantham, Quebec

Maurice Brouillard has been volunteering as a first responder for 12 years. Twice a week, during his 12-hour on-call shifts, he responds to medical emergencies and situations involving psychological distress in the community.

Paulette Brousseau
Petite-Vallée, Quebec

For over 10 years, Paulette Brousseau has been dedicated to young people and to organizing activities for the Petite Vallée cadet unit. In 2004, she organized the Canadian Forces Snowbirds air show. She also arranged for the RCMP Musical Ride to come to the region between 2006 and 2010. Each year, she takes part in initiatives to promote the well-being of her community. Since 1998, Ms. Brousseau has been a volunteer judo instructor at the Club de Judo Ko-Tani.

Lloyd George Carefoot
Lethbridge, Alberta

For over 47 years, Lloyd Carefoot has promoted the Scout Movement in Lethbridge as a founding member of the 68th Lethbridge Windystone Baden Powell Guild. Additionally, he has been a member of the Lethbridge Independent Order of Foresters since 1969, and a volunteer and director of the Lethbridge Food Bank for over 28 years. He has raised funds for the Canadian Red Cross, the Victorian Order of Nurses, the Canadian Kidney Foundation, CNIB Canada, the Nord‑Bridge Seniors Centre, and the Stirling Railroad Museum Association.

Hannelore Carpenter
Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec

For over 10 years, Hannelore Carpenter has shown dedication, engagement and compassion towards others as a volunteer at the McGill University Health Centre. Her primary focus is on supporting patients waiting for treatment in the Department of Radiation Oncology. She also helps out in the volunteer-run coffee shop.

Marvin Chambers
Fillmore, Saskatchewan

A member of the Fillmore District Lions Club since 1971, Marvin Chambers has been actively involved in working with the blind and visually impaired. He is a proud and dedicated supporter of CNIB Canada, the Canadian Diabetes Association, and other local and national sight-related causes.

George E. Daniels
Dwight, Ontario

George Daniel’s commitment to the environment has been demonstrated by his 40 years of volunteer work. In 1985, he co-founded the Lake of Bays’ Heritage Foundation, which is dedicated to the protection of both natural and cultural heritage. He also helped to establish the Andrew Daniels Fish Stewardship Fund in order to protect local fish populations and their aquatic habitats.

Huguette Dubé
Saint-Honoré-de-Témiscouata, Quebec

Huguette Dubé is actively involved in her community’s development. She has been running the Villa Saint-Honoré, a non-profit seniors’ residence serving Saint-Honoré-de-Témiscouata and the surrounding area, since it first opened its doors in 1988. Since 1977, she has been overseeing the maintenance and public rental of the community hall.

George Windsor Ford
Edmonton, Alberta

George Ford has always been an active volunteer, and remains dedicated to serving his church through outreach work, ushering, and serving communion. He also coordinates community dinners as part of the Robertson-Wesley United Church community, and prepares and distributes food hampers to those in need as part of the Church Magic Pantry.

Sylvain Fortin
Laval, Quebec

For over 15 years, Sylvain Fortin has served as president of the Société québécoise de la Trisomie-21. His compassion for individuals with Down syndrome is remarkable. He devotes his time to creating a warm atmosphere at a home adapted for adults with disabilities, where both day activities and full-time residential care are offered. Mr. Fortin is recognized for his humanity, dedication and generosity.

Richard Gooderham
Perth, Ontario

Richard Gooderham keeps the Table Community Food Centre running smoothly. Several times a week, he makes the long trek in from his home outside of town to help out in the drop-in kitchens and perform other odd jobs around the building. He is also a member of the Social Justice Club, and participates in its FREE HUGS campaigns. 

Richard Gratton
Beaconsfield, Quebec

For the past three years, Richard Gratton has been working to create a park that would honour the contributions and sacrifices made by past and present military personnel, law enforcement agents, firefighters, first responders and paramedics. With the support of the Beaconsfield community and a team of volunteers, he formed the non-profit and non-partisan Heroes Park committee. Under his leadership, and with the support of funding from individuals, businesses and corporations, as well as military, law enforcement and community leaders, the committee has raised $250,000 to bring the project to life.

Shawn Hutchinson
Nepean, Ontario

Passionate about environmental sustainability and our Canadian wilderness, Shawn Hutchinson has been volunteering with the Rideau Trail Association for over 14 years. Through her work, she promotes a greater appreciation for nature and the outstanding health benefits it offers. At the Aphasia Centre of Ottawa, she guides clients through rehabilitation and recovery, and also offers to drive hospital patients to their appointments.

Saul Jacobson
Kanata, Ontario

The voice of several Ottawa radio stations for over 30 years, Saul Jacobson gives back to the community through his love for music and radio. For the past 12 years, he has been a volunteer music director at Broadview Avenue Public School, where he helps kids reach their full potential. He has instilled a love of jazz music in hundreds of students who have participated in the Grade 8 jazz band.

Renu Kapoor
Regina, Saskatchewan

Driven by her interest in multiculturalism and diversity, Renu Kapoor has been active in her community for the last 45 years. Her volunteer activities extend to such organizations as the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, the Regina Public Library, the Regina Housing Authority, SaskCulture, the Regina Chapter of Osteoporosis Canada, the Regina and Area Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the India Canada Association. Since 2010, she has served as a volunteer board member with the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation.

Bushra Khan
Ottawa, Ontario

Bushra Khan is dedicated to helping youth excel. She is a devoted member of the development committee behind the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s Community of Character, which has since been adopted into the Board’s Code of Conduct Policy. For the past five years, Ms. Khan has been an energetic co-chair of the Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards, which funds over 80 scholarships and has raised over $60,000 for Youth Ottawa.

Manwar Khan
Edmonton, Alberta

Manwar Khan is dedicated to raising public awareness of bullying across Alberta. He has launched a province-wide anti-bullying campaign that aims at empowering bystanders to intervene in a safe way. He travels across the province to organize and speak at rallies, assemblies and candlelight vigils. He has been recognized for his work to empower both victims of bullying and bystanders.

Alfred King
Oxford, Nova Scotia

Alfred King has been an inspiration to youth for more than 40 years. He has volunteered with the Cadet Movement, served as a 4-H leader, and taught first aid training to youth groups. He has also served in many executive roles with the Royal Canadian Legion, and was a member and chair of the Cumberland County board of the Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers. In his spare time, he coaches the high school basketball team and organizes their tournaments.

Natasha Kornak
Calgary, Alberta

Seventeen-year-old Natasha Kornak is a model of student leadership. She is an active volunteer with Ronald McDonald House, the Gay Straight Alliance, Mustard Seed, Kristen Lee Coutts Memorial, Bully Free Alberta, and Free the Children. Through her efforts, she is giving back to her community and encouraging others to do the same.

Chris Kulak
Vernon, British Columbia

Chris Kulak is a volunteer with the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. His efforts and hard work over the years have advanced the fund’s visibility both locally and provincially, ensuring greater support for burn victims and survivors. He also volunteers with Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and has helped with the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign and with operations at his local food bank.

Patricia Lafford
Sackville, New Brunswick

A registered nurse by profession, Patricia Lafford is dedicated to serving her community and her church. She is one of the founding members of the Sackville Food Bank and has been lending her time there for more than 26 years. She has been a devoted member of the Catholic Women’s League for more than 40 years, where she offers counselling to shut-ins of all ages.

Jo-Ann Elizabeth Leavey
London, Ontario

A dedicated volunteer since the age of 17, Jo-Ann Leavey is the founder of the Hometeam Foundation, a registered charity that provides leadership opportunities for at-risk youth. Ms. Leavey is also a psychologist who shares her research on youth mental health, stigma reduction and person-centred health care delivery in 12 countries. 

Kelly Morgan Lewis
Hanna, Alberta

Kelly Lewis is passionate about protecting the environment. For the past 25 years, he has been involved with Ducks Unlimited, a non-profit organization dedicated to wetland conservation. He has served as its provincial chairman for the last two years. A dedicated teacher, he engages his students through his long-standing participation in a program that promotes safe hunting skills.

Yvon Meloche
Drummondville, Quebec

Yvon Meloche gives generously of his time and energy to his community. A retired paramedic, he launched the Saint Eugène-de-Grantham first responders program in 1996, with which he volunteered until 2010. He initiated a supervisory committee in 2007 that works in conjunction with the Sûreté du Québec to prevent crime, and currently oversees its operations.

Carol Mooney
Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley, Quebec

Carol Mooney has been volunteering since 2002. She worked with a Canadian team to establish a faculty of education in post-war Kosovo and introduce a new teaching style for Kosovar educators to implement in their classrooms. She is also the co-president of Lampe Foundation, which raises funds to help students in the Eastern Townships further their education. Since 2012, she has worked with others to establish the Centre de santé de la Vallée Massawippi, which will bring much-needed doctors and health care to this under-serviced rural community.

Joanne Moss
Winchester, Ontario

For the last 20 years, Joanne Moss has dedicated herself to helping those facing difficult physical and emotional circumstances. Through her animal support program, she helps autistic children find relief by riding ponies, and provides civilian and military personnel suffering from
post-traumatic stress disorder with service dogs.

Don Neufeld
Edmonton, Alberta

After retiring as assistant auditor general of Alberta, Don Neufeld poured all of his knowledge and expertise into Habitat Edmonton, with which he has been involved since 1992. The organization moved from serving one family a year to serving 56 families in 2012, and 81 families in 2013. In 1998, he volunteered as a full-time accountant and was responsible for Habitat Edmonton’s financial reporting, banking, taxation issues and ad hoc reporting requirements. In 2008, he then devoted his time to managing Habitat Edmonton’s information technology needs, which included networking systems at four separate locations.

Raymond Paquin
Montréal, Quebec

Raymond Paquin created the Fondation de l’Hôpital Marie-Clarac in 1996. In 2011, he spearheaded a fundraising campaign to raise $35 million to build the hospital’s new palliative care pavilion. For 20 years, whether with the foundation or as a member of the hospital’s board of directors, Mr. Paquin has helped to improve the health of his fellow citizens.

Claude Poirier
Montréal, Quebec

Claude Poirier has been actively involved in his parish’s activities and within his community for nearly 50 years. He volunteers for a number of organizations, including La Maison des Grands-Parents de Villeray, a non-profit organization that he helped to establish; the Regroupement des Auberges du Coeur du Québec; and the Club Richelieu. He is dedicated to promoting mental health and early intervention in the Youth Net program.

Christian Robillard
Ottawa, Ontario

Christian Robillard is deeply involved in his community and inspires others to contribute. He is the president of the Off-Campus Student Association for Carleton University, the co-chair of the university’s Student Philanthropy Council, and the student coordinator for the Ottawa Police Youth in Policing Initiative.

Peter Piara Samra
Merritt, British Columbia

For the past 27 years, Peter Samra has been involved in several civic, humanitarian, social and educational causes in the Merritt community, notably with the City of Merritt and Rotary Club programs, the Nicola Valley and District Food Bank, and the Merritt Central School. He has promoted equality and youth involvement as both a member and vice-president of the Merritt Sikh Society and as an Indo-Canadian liaison and volunteer within the community. From working with prominent organizations to tutoring students in math, Mr. Samra’s volunteerism has been appreciated by many.

Lillian Eva Smith
Ottawa, Ontario

For more than 35 years, Lillian Smith has been volunteering for various worthy community initiatives in Canada and in developing countries by helping to raise funds for health care, palliative care, education, single mothers and children in need. She has worked closely with the Kiwanianne Club of Ottawa, Club Mont Sainte-Marie, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the May Court Club of Ottawa, the Hospice at May Court and the Canadian Nurses Foundation. 

Paul Surprenant
Chelsea, Quebec

Paul Surprenant is a generous man who is ready to help others. When he retired in 2001, he turned his attention to volunteerism and joined the Carrefour jeunesse emploi de l’Outaouais, where he helps young people enter the workforce. He oversaw the renovation of two Soupe populaire de Hull inc. service centres, as well as the purchase of adjoining lands to erect a new service centre for the less fortunate in his community. 

J. F. Donald Tedford
Grand Bend, Ontario

Donald Tedford has demonstrated his commitment to volunteering through his active participation in service clubs for over 50 years, including 15 years with the Lions Club and 30 years with Rotary clubs in Shelbourne, Orangeville and Grand Bend. In 1998, he chaired a
45-member steering committee interested in establishing a community health centre in Grand Bend. Additionally, while living in King City, Mr. Tedford was instrumental in the development of a local arena.

Marcel Thibault
Mont-Laurier, Quebec

Marcel Thibault has been volunteering in the areas of sports and recreation for 60 years. He was a coach for a number of athletic clubs, including bantam, midget and junior hockey. He was also in charge of the Association des coureurs en canot de La Lièvre for 26 years. In addition, Mr. Thibault spent many years helping to organize the community’s Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day festivities. 

Vernon Thuroo
Hanna, Alberta

Vernon Thuroo has volunteered as an instructor with the Hanna Youth Curling Club and as an umpire for Hanna Minor Baseball. He also raises funds for the Hanna Hospital Auxiliary and the Hanna Elks Club. Committed to making higher education accessible to youth, he served as a trustee on the Prairie Land School Board, and as a member of the Hanna Agricultural Society, which gives bursaries to students entering a post-secondary institution.

Bernard Touesnard
Riverview, New Brunswick

Since his retirement in 1977, Bernard Touesnard has volunteered in many organizations, including the Riverview Boys and Girls Club, the Boys and Girls Club of New Brunswick, the Riverview Figure Skating Club, the Knights of Columbus, and the Riverview Lions Club. He also coaches and manages the Riverview Fast Ball League.

James Travers
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

A lawyer by profession, James Travers still finds the time to volunteer. He is active in his church, and contributes to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Rotary International, and the Confederation of the Arts. He has been recognized at the regional and national levels for his work as a board member of the P.E.I. Chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation.

Laurin and Ruby Trudel
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and Lloydminster, Alberta

Since 2008, Laurin and Ruby Trudel have been the driving force behind Food Rescue Yellowknife. Thanks to their vision, action and dedication, 1.6 million pounds of food and other items have been diverted from the landfill for processing and redistribution. They have created a model organization with minimal overhead and maximum benefit to the community of Yellowknife.

Bailey Whitehouse
Prescott, Ontario

Bailey Whitehouse has generously given of her time to the Prescott and Brockville branches of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Brockville Art Centre, the Food For All Food Bank, and to Girl Guides and Air Cadets. In 2008, when her close friend needed a heart transplant, she rallied local businesses to raise over $2,500. Sadly, her friend died before receiving the new heart. Despite the loss, Ms. Whitehouse remains steadfast in her efforts to help others.

Terry Wright
Victoria, British Columbia

In 1994, Terry Wright helped lead the XV Commonwealth Games to success in Victoria, British Columbia. This experience helped him learn the value of giving back to his community through his love of sport and major sporting events. He was a key player in Vancouver’s successful bid for the 2010 Olympic Games and continues to lend his expertise to the Canadian Olympic Committee. His volunteer service also extends to the Greater Victoria Hospital Foundation, the Commonwealth Games Foundation of Canada, and Victoria’s Corps des Commissionaires. He has also coached community youth soccer and baseball teams.

Ruslana Wrzesnewskyj
Toronto, Ontario

For over 20 years, Ruslana Wrzesnewskyj has dedicated her life to improving the lives of disadvantaged and orphaned children living in poor conditions in local orphanages in post-Soviet Ukraine. In 1994, she started a non-profit organization called Help Us Help the Children, which delivers immediately tangible humanitarian aid. She has also established long-term programs and funds to help these children successfully transition from the orphanage to the real world.

Chuck Young
Calgary, Alberta

Chuck Young has volunteered for 25 years with the General Mountaineering Camp of the Alpine Club of Canada. As a volunteer leader and club ambassador, he has introduced hundreds of people to the wonders of nature through the sport of mountaineering. He also encourages future leaders and helps to create a vital network of people who uphold and support the club’s values.

The Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award

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 via the Governor General of Canada’s website, at They will be received by the Chancellery of Honours and reviewed by the advisory committee which will then make recommendations to the governor general. There is no deadline for submissions. Nominations are accepted throughout the year.

Description of the award

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 blue and gold colours, which appear on the viceregal flag, indicate the award’s connection with the governor general.

The Caring Canadian Award, consisting of a letter, a certificate and a lapel pin, is presented by the governor general or by lieutenant governors, territorial commissioners, mayors, members of the Order of Canada or partner organizations. When this is not possible, or if a recipient requests an early presentation for personal reasons, the award will be sent by mail.

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