Eight locals recognized with queen’s medal

MP David Wilks delivers queen's honour to Cranbrook and Kimberley residents

Eight Cranbrook and Kimberley residents were recognized by MP David Wilks with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal on Thursday

Eight Cranbrook and Kimberley residents were recognized by MP David Wilks with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal on Thursday

MP David Wilks presented eight Diamond Jubilee Medals to Cranbrook and Kimberley residents on Thursday.

The ceremony was held during the regular weekly luncheon of the Cranbrook Rotary Club at the Heritage Inn on August 30.

Six Cranbrook residents and two Kimberley residents were honoured, in front of a crowd which included Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett, Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski, Kimberley Mayor Ron McRae, loved ones of the recipients, and Rotary members.

The commemorative medal marks the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.

Sixty thousand Canadians will be chosen to receive the award this year, a tangible way for Canada to honour the queen and, at the same time, honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

From Cranbrook, medals were given to Garry Anderson, Orville Anderson, James Hong, Scott Manjak, Liz Schatschneider, and Heather Smith. Kimberley residents Don Wallace and David Ekskog were also recognized with the Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The recipients were nominated by peers, and those chosen received the most nominations.

“It is my honour to be here today as we recognize those from your communities who will receive this medal,” said Kootenay Columbia MP David Wilks.

Garry Anderson is executive director of the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, a recipient of the Order of Canada, the Canadian Museum Association’s Distinguished Service Award, among many other regional, provincial and national accomplishments. In 1977, he began the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel here in Cranbrook, and still runs it today with a team of staff, volunteers, and board directors.

Retired serviceman Orville Anderson was given a lifetime membership with the Royal Canadian Legion in 1983, and its highest honour, the Palm Leaf, in 1997. He was the Army Cadet’s Commanding Officer from 1960 to 1970 and 1973 to 1977. He participated in the Queens Guard in 1951.

James Hong was born and raised in Cluny, Alberta, where he took over the general store started by his father in 1918 and ran it until 1990. Hong was mayor of Cluny for 25 years, school trustee for 20 years, volunteer fire chief for 25 years, and a lifetime member of the Legion. He is also an honorary chief of the Blackfoot tribe.

Scott Manjak was Mayor of Cranbrook from 2008 to 2011, and councillor from 1999 to 2008. He was chair of the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District from 2003 to 2008. He was instrumental in strengthening the relationship between the City of Cranbrook and the St. Mary’s Band.

Liz Schatschneider was heavily involved with the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce from 1995 to 1999, and has organized the Sam Steele Days parade since 1996. She was a Cranbrook city councillor from 1999 to 2011. Schatschneider is a strong supporter of the Kootenay Ice and an overall community minded person.

Heather Smith is a long standing member of the Kin Club of Cranbrook, but she is most recognized for the many hours of volunteer work she has contributed in the community. She volunteers with the Sam Steele Youth Ambassadors Program, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the seniors Christmas dinner.

Two Kimberley residents were recognized at the Thursday ceremony as well: David Ekskog and Don Wallace.

David Ekskog joined the Kimberley Pipe Band at age 11 and has been a member for 49 years. He took over as Pipe Major in 1978 and has not only kept the band alive but nurtured it to thrive. Now with 30 members, the Pipe Band was invited to attend the International Tattoo in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2010.

Don Wallace joined the Canadian army in 1954 and retired as Lieutenant Colonel. During his tour of duty in Germany, he set up a ski school in Oberjoch, Germany, where he became chief instructor. After leaving the army, he became a dentist and practiced for 30 years in Calgary. He is now a cattle rancher near Kimberley.