Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry, hosted a ceremony to award the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to 14 deserving citizens who have made exceptional contributions to their community.
Recipients of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal are citizens nominated by the community who have made exceptional and significant contributions to their local community, Ontario and Canada over the course of many years.
The award is a way to recognize their service to their peers, as well as a collective token of appreciation to commemorate Her Majesty’s sixty years of loyal service to her subjects throughout the Commonwealth.
This ceremony celebrated the following recipients: Gerry Benson of the Cornwall area, Richard Herrington of Cornwall, Vera Joyce of the Cornwall area, Gail Kaneb of Cornwall, Hugh A MacDougall of Finch, Don Mitchell of the Cornwall area, Susan Rainey of Finch, Onagh Ross of Cornwall, William J. Shearing of Morrisburg, Rev. Gary Stokes of Lancaster, Lorne Strader of Brinston, Stan and Betty Vandenbosch of Chesterville, and Johnny C. Whitteker of Williamsburg.
Of the 14 recipients, three were from South Dundas.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel William J. Shearing was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for various contributions to his community both in and outside South Dundas.
Shearing served as commander of the SD&G Highlanders from 1977 to 1980. He continues to be a strong supporter of the local armed forces.
Shearing, an active member of his church and community, also served two terms on county council for Morrisburg and the United Counties.
In addition, Shearing is a tireless advocate for acknowledging the historical contributions of the local military. He was successful in having County Road 43 renamed “The Veterans Highway” as well as having several plaques and commemorative plates placed throughout the six counties within Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
He recently made strides in bringing light to the efforts and accomplishments of the role of the local militia during the War of 1812.
Most notably, Shearing was successful in having official historical data corrected concerning events of June 6, 1944, more commonly known as D-Day. The data now identifies the SD&G Highlanders as the regiment that played a pivotal role in the Normandy Raid.
Lorne Strader, another resident of South Dundas, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for a lifetime of service to his community, getting involved in a variety of different projects.
In McDonell’s speech, he pointed out that Strader served his community as a past Reeve for the former Township of Matilda and as a representative of the township at the upper tier level.
At one time, Strader also served as chair of the Dundas Milk Committee and the South Nation Conservation board.
He made contributions, as a board member, to the Holstein Friesian Association, Odd Fellows, the Children’s Aid Society, the Spencerville Mill Restoration, and to Helping Hands.
In addition, Strader was a member of the Matilda Winter Carnival Committee and the Matilda Recreation Board.
Strader has helped out by joining various community groups, delivering festivals, events and programming that have enriched the lives of area residents.
Some of the many volunteer activities Strader took part in include time coaching a children’s softball team in Brinston, acting as the Sunday School superintendent for the Brinston United Church, and driving for Park Villa Seniors Residence.
The third South Dundas recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was Johnny Whitteker.
One of the longest serving municipal politicians in the history of Ontario, Whitteker served on municipal council for 52 years, from 1955 to 2006, and never missed a council meeting.
In his speech, McDonell pointed out that one of Whitteker’s proudest accomplishments was to pave 70 percent of township roads, thus fulfilling a campaign promise.
Whitteker served on County Council for 47 years and served as Warden in 1975.
Whitteker was a member of the South Nation Conservation Authority for 41 years, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit for 26 years, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for 61 years and is a lifetime member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Williamsburg.
Showing his zest for life, Whitteker didn’t stop playing hockey until 1996 when, at the age of 70, he broke his leg while playing as part of the Old-timers Hockey Club.
Whitteker showed his commitment to his community through his many years in politics, but he continues to show his dedication and love for his family by continuing to work alongside his sons on their family farm.
“I am proud to have been given the opportunity to recognize 14 outstanding citizens,” said McDonell.
“Their spirit and dedication are worthy of a Diamond Jubilee Medal and we are lucky to have them among us in our community.”
The ceremony was held July 19th in the St. Lawrence Ballroom of Cornwall’s Ramada Inn.