‘Ultimate volunteer’ honoured with Sovereign’s Medal in Sechelt

Retired nurse Laurean Reid was awarded the prestigious Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers on her home turf.

The Sechelt resident was presented with the medal at a packed ceremony at the Seaside Centre on Jan. 10, with Sechelt Mayor Darnelda Siegers standing in for the Governor General. Reid elected to receive the medal on the Sunshine Coast.

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Other officials, including Gibsons Mayor Bill Beamish, Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) chair Lori Pratt and RCMP Staff Sgt. Poppy Hallam, also attended.

Siegers called Reid “the ultimate volunteer” during her speech.

“You genuinely care for each individual person,” Siegers said, before enumerating examples of that care in action, including outside formal volunteer roles. Reid has a personal connection to the RCMP since her husband served as staff sergeant, and despite retiring years ago, Reid continues to support the staff.

“You regularly check in on their well being and do what you can to show that you care and provide support as needed. One way you do that is by taking our staff sergeant’s special needs son every week for a play date,” Siegers said.

Reid was nominated by ElderCollege, an organization for which she was a longtime board member. The Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living (SCACL) endorsed the nomination because of her dedication to that organization.

SCACL and ElderCollege are just two of the many groups the retired nurse has volunteered for on the Sunshine Coast over 40 years. Other volunteers she has helped with are the Rotary Club, the Salmonid Enhancement Society, Sunshine Coast Hospice Society and the Sechelt Hospital Foundation.

In an emotional speech, Reid told the audience, many of whom were associated with the various volunteer organizations, “I could not have done any of this without you people… I hope to continue to have you in my life.”

She received a standing ovation following her speech.

The medal is awarded through the Governor General’s office and “recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians,” according to the Governor General of Canada website. “Passion, dedication and a commitment to community are the driving forces behind the volunteers who receive the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.”

The medal’s design is based on a concept by Darcy DeMarsico of the Chancellery of Honours and is manufactured by the Royal Canadian Mint at its Ottawa facility.

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