It was "a very special night" in Gibsons Feb. 5 as Mayor Wayne Rowe presented three Gibsons' residents with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
"Celia Fisher, Irene Davy and Clint Davy, we are honoured to have individuals with such passion in our community," Rowe told the trio before a packed gallery at the start of Tuesday's regular council meeting.
The deserving recipients were nominated last December by Gibsons council, "in recognition of their spirit of volunteerism and compassion," Rowe said.
Fisher, he said, "is known to many as one of the community matriarchs of a huge family, not always related by blood."
A former teacher, school board member and Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) director, Fisher has served the community "tirelessly" as a volunteer, Rowe said.
"Celia has often promoted causes that have been politically unpopular, but causes that she believes are right," he said. "She led the charge to build a community centre and ice arena in Gibsons. That centre is now a vibrant hub for all ages."
Fisher also worked to establish the Gibsons Public Library and rallied volunteers and raised funds for playing fields at Brothers Park and for the waterfront park in Gibsons Harbour.
As SCRD director, "regional district boundaries were only lines on a map to Celia," Rowe said. "The real community she represented and continues to work for occupies an area unbounded by anything smaller than her heart."
In accepting the award, Fisher said she did so on one condition.
"I can't accept it on my own behalf, but I do on behalf of all the other volunteers I've worked with over the years who put in all their time and energy," she said.
While Irene and Clint Davy were selected individually to receive the medal, "it is impossible to recognize the one without the other," Rowe said.
Co-founders of the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C., the Davys moved to Gibsons from Richmond in 1988 and set up the Gibsons Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre on their property.
The centre has been funded mainly from the Davys' own resources, augmented by private donations and proceeds from bake sales and silent auctions, Rowe said. "Volunteers assist them with cleaning and provisioning the resident wildlife facilities, and it is Irene and Clint who get up every two hours throughout the night to feed and administer medication to the residents of the 'hospital ward.'
"Clint responds to call-outs for animal rescue through the Sunshine Coast; Irene provides community education and outreach about living in close proximity to wildlife. Clint also speaks to individuals, groups and students about wildlife protection and rescue."
Speaking on behalf of the couple, Clint Davy said the recognition came as "quite a surprise" to them both. "It gives you a funny feeling," he said.
Davy acknowledged and thanked the volunteers who work daily at the facility.
The centre, he said, "is very much a joint effort of Irene and I."
The Diamond Jubilee Medal marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne.
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